brown sugar bourbon glaze
16 May 2011 8 Comments
Thanks to everyone who showed up this weekend to the San Diego Food Bloggers Bake Sale! We have a ton of wonderful San Diego food bloggers and the bountiful display of goodies for sale Saturday was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Our Bourbon Caramel Cupcakes and Chocolate Cherry Bombs were a huge hit (sold out! Thanks, San Diego!) and I fielded a few questions during the sale on how to top a cupcake.
Now, we all know that not much tops a cupcake, but when it comes to icing one, I usually just don’t have the patience (or, um, skill) to make or apply complicated frostings. However, a good glaze or ganache is typically easy to make and apply and versatile enough in texture and flavor options to meet most baking needs. Dark chocolate ganache in particular is quite forgiving; it firms to a thick, glossily perfect surface, which is really helpful when you somehow mangle the top of your cake, something I manage to do with regularity. Even if your ganache look less than perfect (I did get carried away on a few Cherry Bombs and double-dipped them to the point of lumpiness), I’ll let you in on a little secret - even lumpy ganache tastes fantastic.
Saturday’s bourbon caramel cupcakes used one of my favorite glazes – Brown Sugar & Bourbon. Unlike a powdered sugar-based glaze, this easy-to-make glaze does not get white or crunchy as it dries. Instead, it’s intended to soak into a cake, infusing it with a buttery, bourbon-y richness. This glaze works well on sturdy, tender cakes with a lot of surface area, or on cakes or cupcakes as a light first layer underneath frosting or a harder glaze.
Because the glaze is barely cooked after the alcohol is added, it packs a heck of a boozy wallop, making it a great fit for fun food gifts, a retro 1950’s theme party, or showing off at a potluck. Use discretion when it comes to school cupcake day, office parties, or church socials.
Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze
1.5 stick (170g) unsalted butter
.25 cups water
1.25 cups (250g) brown sugar (the darker the better)
.75 cups bourbon
Warm butter over medium heat in heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Add brown sugar and water and cook, stirring constantly, at a low boil for approx. 5 minutes, until glaze is reduced by about 1/3.
Turn off the heat (repeat: If you would like to keep your eyebrows – TURN OFF THE HEAT) and add the bourbon. Turn the heat back on and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds, then remove from heat (the longer you cook, the more alcohol will cook off, so you need to stop cooking after only 30 seconds or so to maintain the unique taste of the glaze).
To use, pull your cake of choice out of the oven and immediately prick all over with toothpick, skewer, or fork, then pour the warm glaze over, about a third at a time. Pause between applications to let the cake absorb the glaze. This recipe makes just over 2 cups of glaze, enough for a standard cake recipe (i.e., one large bundt cake). I usually use it with mini bundts – lots of surface area to soak up the glaze. If you want to add just a hint of bourbon-y goodness to layer cakes or cupcakes, dunk warm cupcakes in the just-cooked glaze (or drizzle glaze over warm layer cake), then let cool before frosting. 1 cup of glaze (1/2 recipe) is more than enough for 24 cupcakes or two 9″ layers.
When selecting a cake, the glaze pairs well with flavors such as vanilla, orange, rosemary, mint, caramel, walnuts, or pecans. I particularly like it with my Four Roses Cake (aka the Make Your Mark Cake, aka The Billy Idol), but don’t pair the two together unless you are ready to be stared at lustfully and possibly straight-up propositioned by everyone in the room. Happy Baking!
(recipe contains approx. 71 calories, 4g fat, 7g carbs per tablespoon)