The Boozy Baker Cookbook [Recipe: Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake]

Recipes, Sweet Treats

Photo: The Boozy Baker

With the designer cupcake craze finally winding down and Cronuts getting a dirty reputation, the world is ripe for its next dessert phenomenon. Luckily author Lucy Baker is at the ready with 75 recipes for spirited sweets in her cookbook, The Boozy Baker.

While the bakers of the world decide what the next big phenomenon in desserts will be, feed those sweet cravings with some delectable desserts that you can whip up at home. Oh and did I mention they all contain booze?

That’s right, your new favorite cookbook contains 100 recipes for spirited sweets and cocktails. I had the pleasure of throwing some questions at the author, a girl that has professed such a love of champagne that she says she would put it on her cereal.

I think we are in good hands here.


Photo: The Boozy Baker

IGT: How did you learn how to bake?
LB: I have always loved to bake. I have fond memories of preparing boxed cake mixes and slathering them with store-bought chocolate frosting when I was a little girl. I started baking more and more after college, when I moved to New York City. It was a way to relax and unwind after a hectic day.

IGT: What inspires you to develop new creations?
LB: That changes so often! I just went to New Orleans for the first time and had dinner at John Besch’s restaurant August. One of the desserts we had was a black walnut cake garnished with fresh dill. Sounds strange, but it was incredible.

IGT: What is your favorite recipe from the book?
LB: I go back to the Oak Bars [blondie brownies made with chardonnay] again and again. They are so quick and adaptable. You can throw anything in the batter and it will be delicious.

IGT: What are 3 ingredients that are always in your kitchen?
LB: Butter, good vanilla extract, and fleur de sel, for sprinkling over cookies, brownies, and bars.

IGT: What is on your culinary travel wish list?
LB: Greece for the feta, Belgium for the beer and chocolate, and back to Italy to gorge myself on absolutely everything.

IGT: What are your top 3 restaurants of the moment?
LB: I just moved from Brooklyn to the lower Hudson Valley and I am loving the food scene here. The Parlor in Dobbs Ferry has terrific, inspired fancy pizza. I had what was literally the best French toast of my life at Juniper in Hastings. In the city, Estela on Houston Street is just killing it right now.

IGT: What is your go-to cocktail?
LB: Either a negroni or a dirty vodka martini. I also admit to enjoying a good cosmo (the shame!).

IGT: What is on your kitchen gadget wish list?
LB: I need to suck it up and splurge on a Thermapen.

IGT: What do you think are the easiest and hardest spirits to bake with?
LB: The easiest are liqueurs like amaretto, Kahlua, and Bailey’s, which have a lot of flavor and go great with chocolate. Bourbon is also pretty easy and I love to pair it with nuts. The hardest are things like vodka, which doesn’t have a ton of flavor on it’s own.

IGT: While your new book, Edible DIY is on my short list, what else can we expect from you in the future?
LB: I just co-wrote The Fat Witch Bake Sale Cookbook with Patricia Helding. It will be out next fall from Rodale and has tons of great recipes.

southern comfort red velvet cake

Photo: The Boozy Baker

In the spirit of boozy baking, I tried my hand at one of the recipes, the Champagne Layer Cake.  Since I can’t follow directions, I made cupcakes. Overall the recipes were very easy to follow without a lot of outlandish ingredients.

A tip for all you non-bakers out there, myself included – exact measurements. Adding another splash of champagne is great for a cocktail but may just change your end result with baked goods.

My other favorite recipe from the book is the Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake. Though you might be thinking: “SoCo. I haven’t had that since college,”  SoCo’s often-mocked sweetness lends itself to baking, yielding a subtle hint of whiskey without overpowering the other flavors. If you’re still working on finishing off the economy sized bottle of the too-sweet spirit that’s been around since the sorority days, we have your solution.

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake
Recipe type: Sweet Treats, Cooking for a Crowd
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16

  • For the cake:
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Southern Comfort
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
  • 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

  • For the frosting:
  • 14 tablespoons (13/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Southern Comfort
  • Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, or spray them with nonstick spray. Dust them with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. To make the cake, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Southern Comfort, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the milk, and the Southern Comfort. Beat on low speed until creamy. Gradually add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.
  6. Place one cake layer on a plate and spread it with about one-third of the frosting. Top with the remaining cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with chopped pecans, if using.

  7. Shake It Up: For a bolder flavor, substitute Tennessee whiskey, such as Jack Daniels, for the Southern Comfort.

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