Boozy Desserts Are Trending So I Jazzed Up My Sunshine Cake

Boozy Desserts Are Trending So I Jazzed Up My Sunshine Cake

Sometimes pre-dinner cocktails are tame – that’s when it’s fun to add a splash of liqueur to your desserts! Here’s a boozy cake to enjoy, no designated driver required.

I love to hear of new food and drink trends. One of my recent favorites is the concept of specialty cocktails that have exotic ingredients – like muddled basil, citrus infused simple syrup and hot chili garnishes. I especially like the fact that these cocktails decrease the amount of alcohol in each drink, enabling the party-goer to safely indulge. A win win!

And then comes along the new food trend of boozy cakes. Just when we limit the liquor in pre-dinner cocktails, we add liquor to desserts! That pendulum does swing back and forth!

Not to be left out, I decided to experiment with this trend at a recent dinner party. One of my most popular desserts from my book Sunday Best Dishes is my recipe for Sunshine Cake. It’s a lovely, fluffy cake made from a combination of almond flour and finely ground corn meal, flavored with lemon zest and fresh thyme. After the cake is baked, you poke holes in the top. Then you pour lemon infused simple syrup over the cake. The syrup seeps into the cake for a burst of sweetness.

For my boozy version of this cake, I decided to add the citrus flavor of triple sec to the mix. Triple sec is a colorless cordial made from the dried peels of both sweet and tart oranges. My Sunshine cake recipe tops the sweetened cake with a sugary glaze – as you can see in the photo above. I eliminated this, replacing it with berries that I macerated (soaked) in a bit of granulated sugar and a smidge of triple sec. I upped the booziness by adding triple sec to whipped cream and adding this to the dish. But the true boozy aspect of Sunshine cake comes with the triple sec I added to the simple syrup that infuses the baked cake.

The results? Well, the cake topped with berries and whipped cream had the feel of an after-dinner cordial, but I didn’t have to grab the car keys from my guests at the end of the evening!

Tweak My Sunshine Cake Recipe for Boozy Results…

My original recipe for sunshine cake is printed below. If you want to make a boozy version, eliminate the glaze. Add two table spoons of triple sec to the simple syrup after it is cooked and cooled. Whip up some whipped cream, adding 1 tablespoon of triple sec. And finally, soak berries in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons triple sec.

There’s a bit of booze in every bite! Oh, and you can easily add booze to any cake or cornbread recipe that tastes outta this world. In a cornbread recipe that called for a cup of milk, I swapped ¼ amaretto and the rest orange juice. The result was an even tasting buttery, slightly spicy flavor that rocked my cup of coffee, when I cut myself a slice.

Feel free to share your creative culinary whims with me anytime. The only risk you run is me…actually making it!

Sunshine Cake



2 cups almond flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

Zest of 1 medium lemon, about 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon table salt

4 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup Crème fraîche or sour cream

½ cup butter, melted, 1 stick

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray.

Whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest, thyme and salt in a small bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the eggs and sugar. Stir in the Crème fraîche. Slowly add the butter. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.



½ cup granulated sugar

Juice of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tablespoons

Whisk the sugar, lemon juice and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a rack,  set over parchment paper. Use a toothpick to poke holes into the cake. Pour the syrup over top. Cool to room temperature. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a platter.



½ cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup Crème fraîche

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 1 tablespoon

Whisk together the sugar, crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the glaze over the cake. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme or edible flowers!


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