To Bake or Drink, or Both


Editor’s Note: Continuing with her summer project, here’s LC’s latest discovery while digging through her family’s recipes.

In going through these family recipes, we have found several that have made us dig deep into our collective subconscious for their origin.  The Harvey Wallbanger cake, however, is clearly attributed to a family friend.  Now, I am all for mixing booze with baking. One of the ES recipes that has made it into my family’s regular rotation are the mint julep cupcakes from C. Christy Concrete. We’re not big on sweets, but we are big on booze so the combination is magically delicious for us (even though yes, I know, the alcohol itself bakes off).  I was confused, as usual, by this recipe and how the booze was going to fit in.

The MVI* in a Harvey Wallbanger drink and cake is Galliano. Galliano is an amaretto-like liqueur. It’s pretty good but unless you find you have an affinity for Harvey Wallbangers, which I do not, you are going to have some Galliano hanging around your wet bar for a while. The bottle is quite pretty though and lets people know you’re serious about your cocktails, if that’s the message you want to send.


I was unclear whether I was supposed to add the Harvey Wallbanger to the cake or drink it while making it. My grandmother was little help on the matter saying, “Knowing (unnamed family friend) it could be a complete accident that the alcohol made it into the cake at all. But it is not a complete surprise.”  I suggested that if one is going to buy Galliano, maybe the recipe is suggesting one might as well make a Harvey Wallbanger as a cocktail pairing.  In the end we put one in the cake and it ended up well, swell even.

A word about cake mix – it gets a brief, favorable mention in the comments section on the ES guide to cheating, but it does come dangerously close to the line. Because this recipe calls for the cake mix as an ingredient with other additions, I say it still counts as a homemade type of recipe.  My mother and my grandmother both agreed that there is absolutely no reason NOT to use a mix to bake a cake. They think that to elevate the status of a cake baked from scratch only serves to perpetuate outdated notions of perfect home-making, as does washing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, or dusting. Frosting is a different story (and based on the number of frosting recipes my grandmother has, it may be another blog). I am sending out cake mix to ESers to see what you think.

Cheating or not, the cake made it to a big family event and was disposed of pretty handily by my family, which is “not that into sweets.”  The pudding and the cocktail make it moist like a pound cake and the cocktail – well, when does a cocktail make anything worse? Don’t answer that – just bake and enjoy. I made the addition to clarify in the recipe below.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

Cake Ingredients
1 pkg.    Yellow Cake mix
3     ¾ oz. pkgs Instant vanilla pudding
4     Eggs
½ cup    Oil
½ cup    Galliano
¾ tsp.    Orange extract
1    Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbanger Ingredients
6 oz.    OJ
1 oz.    Vodka
½ oz.    Galliano

Glaze Ingredients
1 cup    Soft powdered sugar
1 tsp.    Vodka
½ tsp.    Galliano

1.    Mix
2.    Pour into greased, floured bundt pan
3.    Bake for 45 minutes @ 350°
4.    Glaze

*Most Valuable Ingredient

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  • belmontmedina July 16, 2009  

    This is my grandfather’s signature cake- he makes it every year for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. However, I have to say- try and hunt down orange cake mix- it makes it even better.

  • John Barrie July 16, 2009  

    I think you can rest assured that there are enough extra ingredients in your cake to save you from Sandra Lee status. Cheating is bad, but taking what cheats the market hoists on us and in turn making them original again, that’s just ingenuity.

  • LC July 16, 2009  

    Orange cake mix – that will be duly noted in the official LC family recipe book. and i may have to put in the stuff about ingenuity, too….Thanks!

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