This cake is inspired by the whisky Old Fashioned. Taking cues from fruits often used as garnish, like cherries or orange, this cake incorporates the cocktail ingredients with a little bit of a kick: the finished cake is soaked with dried-cherry-infused whisky. The sweetness comes from maple syrup, which doesn’t overpower the fruit and pecans mixed into every bite. It’s like a holiday fruit cake, minus the extreme sweetness and neon candied fruits.
1 cup pure maple syrup (grade B)
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 ½ cup dried cherries, soaked overnight in ¼ cup of whisky
1 teaspoon orange zest
The day before making the cake, soak dried cherries in your favorite whisky. Before adding to the cake batter, strain and reserve the cherry-infused whisky.
Preheat your oven to 355-degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter a baking dish or decorative cake pan/mold, or use a cooking spray to fully coat the pan.
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast your pecans –when they start to become fragrant, remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool before chopping into small pieces.
To prepare the batter, combine all the maple syrup, sour cream, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract, and orange juice in a mixing bowl.
Lightly mix or sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together and add the dry ingredients in one-third increments to the wet batter, stirring until fully incorporated.
Gently fold in the toasted chopped pecans, drained whisky-soaked cherries, and orange zest into the batter. Pour the batter into your baking dish and lightly tap the bottom against the counter to make sure no air bubbles are trapped.
Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes, rotating after 15 or 20 minutes. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to check cake for doneness. If it’s a deep cake pan, it may take longer to bake. When the toothpick or skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wait until the cake is mostly cool before unmolding, as it’s more fragile when it’s hot.
When the cake is fully cooled, use a pastry brush to paint on the cherry-infused whisky. Do several coats to ensure the liquid soaks into the cake. If you don’t wish to have the strong flavor of whisky in the cake, you can skip this step. Before serving the cake, dust with powdered sugar for garnish.