WHISKY BEER CAKE

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WHISKY BEER CAKE

By Russell Smith

I used 'Malt Whisky Trail' (the latest Limited Edition from I & G) for this recipe, however virtually any Innis & Gunn will work.  They will yield slightly different flavours but Original, Rum Finish, Irish Whiskey Finish or even Smokin' Gunn would all be great.  The only beers I would avoid in this recipe would be Lager and Toasted Oak IPA as they are just a bit too light.

Ingredients

200g dates (stoned)
1 bottle Innis and Gunn Malt Whisky Trail
1 large tablespoon of black treacle
65g butter
65g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g self-raising flour


-Place the dates, beer, and treacle in a saucepan in a pan and bring to the boil.  Once simmering, remove and set aside to soften for 10 minutes.
-Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
-With the mixer still running, add the eggs, one at a time.  Make sure each egg is well mixed and emulsified before adding the next. 
-Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the date and beer mix until fairly smooth.  Don’t worry about a few lumps.
-With the mixer still running, add this date puree to the eggs and sugar/butter.  The puree can be warm, but make sure it has cooled slightly before adding to avoid the mixture splitting. 
-Once this has been mixed thoroughly, mix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
-Spoon the mixture into a shallow tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Ideally the mix should be about 2-3cm deep in the tray. 
-Bake for 30-35 minutes at 175 centigrade.  The sponge should be well risen and coloured, and should yield a clean knife when the centre is pierced. 

Salted Caramel

250g caster sugar
250ml double cream
Large pinch of salt

This is very simple recipe, but requires the steps to be understood and followed carefully.

-Place the sugar in very clean, heavy based saucepan, and mix with 50ml water. 
-Cover the pan tightly with a double layer of foil.
-Place on a medium heat.  The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will come to the boil.  It should then be left covered on a medium heat for about 7-8 minutes.  After this time check the colour of the sugar.  You are looking for a light bronze/copper colour.  If it is still clear, cover and return to the heat, checking every 2-3 minutes.  Be very careful of the steam when removing the foil.  The further you cook the sugar, the stronger and darker the caramel will be.  The foil helps to avoid the sugar crystallising which is when the sugar seizes and turns white.
-When the desired colour has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream.  The mixture will splutter, so be careful.  Return the pan to the heat and whisk until smooth and glossy.  If the caramel looks a little thin it can be boiled for a few minutes to thicken. 
-Whisk in the salt to taste.

We serve slices of the sponge warm, with the salted caramel, a dark chocolate cremeux, roasted hazelnuts and a malted barley ice cream.

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