Whisky and Tea Cake

Serves 10

Sukkot for me is all about practicality. How do I carry a meal from my kitchen through a couple of doors to our temporary highly decorated but often dripping shack? The answer is to make less! I’m usually all for more is more, and I feel that all occasions from birthdays to successfully navigating Tuesdays should be celebrated to their fullest. But the truth is that I live in a country where the predominant weather forecast is rain. So often happens on sukkot as quickly as we can consume the soup it’s being diluted by rainwater. My plan over the years has been to limit the number of dishes I take out to the sukkah, thus limiting the amount I need to bring back into the house when the downpour that will hit, does hit. But that said I don’t want to sacrifice texture or flavor. The solution? Dishes that are meals within themselves, that hits as many flavor notes and textures as possible in one mouth full. My menu usually starts with a hearty soup, followed inevitably by a savory pie and a simple salad to accompany it. And the desert is inevitably a celebratory cake.

  • 200g (1 cup) golden raisins (sultanas)
  • 120ml (½ cup) hot brewed English breakfast tea
  • 2 tablespoons whisky
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 310g (2 ½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 225g (1 cup) butter/betterine/margarine softened
  • 350g (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g (1 cup) slivered almonds (or pine nuts)
  1. Heat oven to 180℃ (350℉). Prepare your cake tin (pan) by taking a large piece of baking paper and crumple it into a ball, un-crumple the paper, and press into the base and up the sides of a 20cm (8 inches)round (loss bottomed/or springform tin) and set aside.
  2. Place the golden raisins (sultanas) into a medium bowl, add the hot tea along with the whisky and vanilla, and allow to sit and plump up while you get on with the rest of the recipe.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  4. Place the butter/betterine/margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, and beat on medium for 3-4 minutes until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy, scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time and allow to incorporate fully into the sugar mixture before adding the next egg.
  5. Add the raisins (sultanas) and the brewing liquid to the sugar mixture, beat until just incorporated, do not worry if the mixture splits a bit. Using a spatula fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tin (pan) and sprinkle the almonds (or pine nuts) over the top of the cake.
  6. Bake for 75-90 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cake looks like it is browning too quickly, cover it lightly with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, cool completely.