I know that at the end of the last post I said I would make the New Jersey ice box cake next, but I guess I lied. The Kentucky Derby came along and I just couldn't pass up the chance to make a cake called the Kentucky Derby Cake that was soaked in a bourbon sugar syrup. Who could pass that up? Of course, then I realized that I needed an occasion at which the cake would be eaten and since bringing a bourbon-soaked cake to a middle school seemed wrong, I threw an accidental party. It was accidental because more people said they'd attend than I expected. It was a party because we played Apples to Apples. And there was cake.
This cake was based on a traditional derby pie, which I guess is chock full of nuts, chocolate and fatty goodness. Brown took that recipe and translated into a "rich buttermilk cake glazed with chocolate and candied nuts that should keep us safely beyond the reach of the long arm of the law." The cake was pretty easy to make, though there were a few different steps to it that made it seem complicated. It has nuts in it as well as on it. The recipe starts by toasting the nuts to be baked into the cake (the cake has nuts and chocolate chips in it). Then you make the cake, which is a buttermilk-y, egg-filled bundt of goodness.
While it's baking (at Brown's ever-favorite 335 degrees), you make the candied nuts, which involves making sugar syrup. I should probably have made the sugar syrup earlier, but in true me-fashion, I don't read recipes in advance!! To make the nuts, you mix the walnuts (or pecans, your choice), sugar syrup, salt, turbinado sugar, and bourbon together and bake them for a while. While those are baking, you might as well go ahead and make the syrup you're going to drench the cake in. That calls for butter, sugar, water and more bourbon!
Brown didn't specify whether the syrup was supposed to be poured on the cake while it was hot or after it was cooled, so I did it when the cake had been out of the oven for a while, but was still a bit warm. Here is the biggest piece of advice I can offer you about this cake: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE THE CAKE AFTER SOAKING IT IN SYRUP. Yeah, I did that and I almost lost the entire thing. I managed to save it and luckily, there was a chocolate glaze to cover the cracks with. The chocolate glaze was the only thing involved in this cake that didn't have bourbon in it, by the way.
So, after all the steps and all the recipes and all the bourbon, the cake was beautiful. Eventually, the house was also clean and the people arrived (with food!), and the derby party, sans horses and races, started and was a marvelous success! The cake was quite tasty, incredibly rich and definitely vault-worthy.
Next Stop: Massachusetts Boston Cream Pie (with a stop in chocolate peanut butter paradise)!