For the whiskey I used some of the Kings County Distillery bourbon I just got. And before you throw your virtual shoes at me for using good whiskey in a recipe, here’s how I approach it:
· I was taught to always use good ingredients – the best available – for baking.
· Most recipes don’t call for much whiskey, so who wants to go buy a bottle of something they don’t want a bottle of if all they need is a ¼ cup?
· And – most importantly – it’s nice to sip on the whiskey while cooking, so I want something I feel like sipping.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
5 eggs yolks – save the whites for later
¾ cup sugar
Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick (5-7 minutes).
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
(a little less than) 1 cup honey
4 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon brewed coffee (I used extremely strong coffee, but you can also add ½ teaspoon of instant coffee to basic brewed coffee)
1 ½ teaspoon tightly packed lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (this is a little tough to find, but specialty kitchen stores – like Brooklyn Kitchen – have it)
2 Tablespoons bourbon
Combine the liquids and flavorings and gradually add to egg mixture.
Gently fold in dry ingredients, in 3 batches, just until incorporated.
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
Beat whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Fold ¼ into batter.
Add remaining whites, gently folding until just incorporated.
Bake for 7 minutes, rotate, bake 7 more minutes, rotate again, bake 5-10 more until set and browned and cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Toy, pastry goddess over at Amy’s Bread, gave this good advice: “One tip on the honey cake - don't overcook it - it gets dry and tasteless faster than most cakes. A few moist crumbs left on a test toothpick, rather than a clean pick, means it's time to take it out.”