Tipsy Cake Is A Vintage Dessert Soaked In Booze

If you don't actually like to bake or haven't found time to make it to the store, there's still hope if you're craving a sweet treat. With a bit of planning, Tipsy Cakes can come to the rescue. Using only a few ingredients, you'll be on your way to enjoying a slice of sweetness that can brighten even the slowest of afternoons.

With a recipe that calls for stale pound cake, whipped sweet cream, and alcohol, the instructions to make this tasty treat start out forgiving. After all, even lazy bakers can have moments to enjoy simple comforts.

Also called Tipsy Parson, as devout alcohol-abstaining preachers couldn't resist a bite of this dessert, American hostesses would set these trifle cakes onto tables with confidence as early as the 1700s. The best recipes stand the test of time, however, and though Tipsy Cake can now be found served in various flavors and presentations, the easy-to-assemble dessert continues to hold modern appeal.

If you feel any remorse about serving guests old cake, know that bakeries also use this method and add jam or chocolate before renaming the dessert Russian Cake.

A recipe with history

A trifle represents something of minimal consequence, and the term has evolved into a category of English desserts that are made with egg custard, sponge cake, and whipped cream. British recipes like Tipsy Cake, pudding, Tipsy Squire, and Tipsy Hedgehog all involve a sponge cake that isn't exactly fresh but has been generously soaked in brandy or sherry. The soggy cake is topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream, and the old becomes new again when plated and served alongside warm cups of tea and coffee.

Tipsy and trifle recipes traveled across the waters to America in the 1700s, particularly finding favor among British missing their homelands while building new plantations in the South. After the recipe was printed in cookbooks, the reputation of Tipsy Cake was cemented.

Tipsy Cake remains easy to put together — and largely unchanged — but the cake does need to be refrigerated for several hours before serving, so you'll want to plan indulgent afternoons accordingly.

Assembling Tipsy Cake

To make Tipsy Cake that can tempt your teetotaling friends, cut a stale loaf of either pound or sponge cake lengthwise into layers. You'll bake these pieces until they become even drier, usually around 30 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the cake slices turn crumbly, paint each layer with your choice of booze: Brandy, sherry, or Sauternes can be quickly swiped over the pieces with a pastry brush.

Next, create the cream that will separate each cake slice. A mixture of heavy cream and ricotta can provide both a satisfying richness and also a smooth texture that will complement the alcohol-drenched cake. Sandwich the whipped cream with the cake layers before placing the entire creation in the refrigerator to set for at least two hours. When you're ready to serve the treat, add more cream and a generous serving of berries for that extra touch of hospitality that any Southern chef might approve of.