Recipe by David Lebovitz from 'The Sweet Life In Paris'
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! And what a perfect occasion to bring something unique to your holiday party. Because I want you to be the cool cat at the fiesta, I'm sharing David Lebovitz's absinthe cake.
Absinthe is a highly alcoholic anise-flavored spirit (not a liqueur) that originated in Switzerland, and was a popular drink in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century among artists and writers, including Van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Many artists revered the drink, and used it as the subject of art and written works. Because it has been portrayed as an addictive, psychoactive drug due to the chemical Thujone found in the herbaceous perennial plant wormwood, by 1915, absinthe was banned in most of Europe, save for a few countries, and all of the United States. It was said that when one imbibed absinthe, that one would be visited by the 'Green Fairy'. So, who doesn't need a little Green Fairy to help ring in the holidays? Especially with all the green goblin in-laws coming to town. The good thing is, you don't have to smuggle a bottle of the bootlegged spirit out of Switzerland, you can now get absinthe right here in the United States, and the makers of Hangar One have begun producing a fine distillation. So, what you will get here is a lovely anise-flavored cake! Oh, and I don't think it's a good choice for kids :)
( I would add toasted almonds or pistachios)
FOR THE CAKE
3/4 tsp anise seeds
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pistachio or almond flour or 1/2 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 tsp salt
8 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup absinthe
Grated zest from 1 orange, preferably unsprayed
FOR THE ABSINTHE GLAZE
3 TB sugar
1/4 cup absinthe
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a 9" loaf pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Crush the anise seeds using a mortar and pestle, or in a freezer bag with a hammer, until relatively fine. Whisk together the white flour, nut flour or cornmeal, baking powder, salt and anise seeds. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, until completely incorporated.
- Combine the milk and absinthe with a bit of zest.
- Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the milk and absinthe.
- By hand, stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until just smooth (do not overmix). Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool 30 minutes.
- To glaze the cake with absinthe, use a toothpick and poke 50 holes into the cake. In a small bowl, gently stir the sugar and absinthe until just mixed, making sure the sugar doesn't dissolve. (You can add a bit of the orange zest here too if you like.
- Remove the cake from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and set the cake on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
- Baste the cake with the absinthe glaze over the top and sides. Continue until all the glaze is used up!
* you can buy David Lebovitz's book on Amazon. There is a link on the right side of this page. There is also a link for an awesome book on absinthe. I have a copy, and it's really swell!