What’s for dessert: Whiskey butterscotch cake

Two years ago I used an AmEx gift card I had to won to purchase a stack of magazines. Some were for design and layout ideas at work, while many others were purely for my own entertainment. One that fell in the latter category was an issue of Donna Hay magazine, which I had never seen before but featured beautiful food photography. (Apparently Donna’s like an Aussie Martha Stewart.)

When I saw the photo above, I stopped and said: “I want that pan.” It wasn’t listed among the styling credits, so I prayed it was not among the featured pieces that had been picked up at a vintage store somewhere Down Under. (It wasn’t.)

Last year around the holidays I tested it out with a recipe from the same issue, for Whiskey Butterscotch Cake. (That’s a spiced coffee cake in the photo.) The biggest challenge was the conversions — how much is 110 grams of butter? — and in an ill-advised move I decided to also add whiskey to the butterscotch sauce you pour over the top, which led to a frothy concoction that took forever to reach any sort of butterscotch consistency. However, it eventually made it there, and the next day my normally dessert-phobic coworkers polished it off in less than an hour. (I was so pleased that I took the photo above to commemorate the occasion.)

Last week, Adele sidled up and said, “So … are you going to whip up any of that whiskey butterscotch cake?” Indeed I was — but not until closer to the weekend, since I needed it to be in prime condition for its role as Dessert #1 at Saturday’s holiday dinner. I was so giddy I made two different sauces — the classic butterscotch, and then a Jack Daniels-infused version that I cooked down to more of a caramel consistency and color. (Midway through the process, our neighbor Matt materialized, bearing rum-cake balls, and he chatted with me and my other roommates while I whisked like a madman to prevent burning.)

The end result was delicious. The next day, when I took our neighbors the leftovers, Kimberly told me that her husband had come back from our house, talking rapturously about the sauce he had seen and smelled. (Of course, I had included a ramekin of the butterscotch for them, too.)

The only down side to the cake: I had been so busy prepping and serving dinner, and then moving on to getting Dessert #2 ready, that I didn’t eat any of the cake myself. Luckily, I’ve still got the recipe. And the pan.

And, at least for now, the whiskey.

WHAT SAM WORE: 12-29-10
The shirt: Cotton button-down from J. Crew outlet, Anthem.
The pants: Slim straight jeans from Lucky, Chandler Fashion Center.
The shoes: Leather sneakers by Puma, from Nordstrom, Chandler Fashion Center.

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