The holidays are nearly here. It’s time to sweeten the festive season with more flavour. Alcohol is the icing on the cake!

See how a dash of rum or a hint of brandy can spice up your cakes and desserts in delightful ways. Alcohol adds intense flavour to desserts just as it does in your main courses. Remember the rich taste of a fruity Christmas cake moistened with drops of rum? The trick is to know just how much to add, which alcohol complements which recipes and how you can use them to enhance the texture. Here are a few tips from the professionals at Sweet e’s Pastries and Sweets, Vancouver’s favourite bakery for the best cakes and pastries where freshness and flavour garnish every offering.

Build Flavour

Rule #1: Use alcohol like an extract. Never soak your desserts with booze. You don’t want your guests merrily tripping over your coffee table or your cakes smelling too strong. Use it like you would use vanilla and other extracts. Just a few teaspoonfuls suffice. This is because alcohol bonds with fat and water so the flavour and aroma are elevated. But too much of it can overpower the aroma of other ingredients in the bakes, ruining the effect. A few drops of high-quality alcohol are enough to intensify the taste and enhance the texture.

For a smoky flavour, try bourbon that is aged in oak barrels. Brandy, red wine, port and liquor add a rich, sweet flavour and fragrance that’s hard to resist. These are also perfect for glazing chocolate cakes, gingerbread and coating over syrup. Infuse cake mix, cookie dough and fruity pies with good quality bourbon or brandy, or add a few drops into whipped cream or frosting to make an irresistible difference!

Enhance Texture

The texture is a huge factor in bringing out the flavour of cakes and pastries. Flaky, crust pastry is what sweet dreams are made of. Vodka can make a structural difference. Unlike water, vodka does not build sticky gluten in the dough but makes it flakier.

Add a splash of vodka to the dough for pies, tarts, and shortbread for a flaky, crispy, delicious finish. Brandy and sherry make cakes more compact without making them dense. They remain light and fluffy. However, excessive acidity in alcohol reduces structural strength. Cider makes cakes harder, for instance. Make sure to balance out the flavours with a gentle hand and watchful eye.

More Moisture

Wine infuses a sweet taste and moistness in cakes that are drenched after baking. Add bourbon to sticky toffee pudding and coconut rum to coconut cake for a dramatic richness and flavour. Some of the alcohol may evaporate while baking in the oven but the concentration that remains behind is enough to make your festive season spirited!

Sweet e’s Pastries and Sweets

For the best cakes and pastries that Vancouver has to offer, visit our chic little cake and pastry boutique tucked away in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood. Here you will find an old-school, artisan ship blending with quality ingredients. Enjoy fresh, delicious textures, classic presentation, elegant lines and organic shapes that leave you with sweet dreams long after the flavours leave your mouth.