Coffee and Spirits: The Firelit Cake

Firelit cake (13)For me, there’s not much better than a good cup of coffee.  So when I was given a bottle of Firelit Coffee Liqueur recently, I was quick to open it and inhale its superior scent: sweet, strong and surely made with high-quality coffee and brandy.  Produced and bottled at a revered local artisan distiller, the liqueur was undoubtedly delicious on its own.  But it also allured me with its promise of warming up a new dessert creation.  In a brown sugar batter with brewed coffee, almond flour and bits of fruit, Firelit proved to make a victorious cake.

Firelit Coffee Liqueur Cake (makes one 8″ round cake; serves 10)

– 1 ¼ cup coffee liqueur, dividedFirelit cake (6)
– 1 cup raisins
– ¾ cup dark brown sugar
– 2/3 cup vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
– 1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 cup almond meal
– finely grated zest of one orange

In a small to medium saucepan, cover the raisins with ¾ cup of the liqueur.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to keep at a low simmer for 6-8 minutes, until most of the liqueur is reduced and soaked into the raisins. Turn off and let sit to cool down.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour cake pan.

Beat oil, eggs and sugar until smooth and a light caramel color. Add coffee and mix until even.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt and almond meal* over the egg mixture.  Mix until Firelit cake (5)incorporated.  Add remaining ½ cup liqueur, beating for 3-4 minutes on medium/high.  Fold in the zest and raisins until just evenly distributed.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

After 50-55 minutes, test by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into its cracks; there should be no wet batter when removed, only moist crumbs.  Cake will be beautifully browned and domed with wavy crevices on its surface.  Remove from oven and let sit in pan for at least an hour; once cool, store tightly covered at room temperature (do not refrigerate).  If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Firelit cake (15)I recommend serving each slice with a dollop of hard sauce (which is basically just spiked buttercream icing).  It can be easily whipped up by beating together:

– 1 cup very soft butter
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 2-3 tablespoons coffee liqueur or more to taste
– dash of salt (if butter is unsalted)

Studded with spiked, plumped raisins, orange zest and flecks of almond, this dark and fragrant cake is full of boozey brown sugar and warm coffee flavor.  Enjoyed by non-coffee drinkers and even the alcohol-averse, each bite is full of distinct yet delicate coffee liqueur flavor. Whether it wakes you up or calms you down, Firelit cake is sure to liven up your winter.  Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or even a glass of its very own namesake.

Firelit cake (8) Maybe next time… If you don’t like raisins, try replacing them with chopped dried pears or another neutral-flavored dried fruit.  Chocolate chips (or cocoa nibs, as my friend Katy suggests in the comments below) would be a delicious addition alongside the drenched raisins, but if you replace the steeped fruit with them, you’ll lose the extra Firelit flavor.  Instead of hard sauce, whipped cream would also make a great topping for this cake, which can also be made in a loaf pan and served sliced like a sweet bread if you so prefer.

Firelit cake (16) Firelit cake (9)Firelit cake (4)*The purpose of sifting the almond meal is to remove any big lumps — not to omit all the bits of almond peel goodness. After sifting, if a good amount of loose almond meal is left behind, feel free to add it to the batter. Its texture and flavor are wondrous in this cake.

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11 Responses to Coffee and Spirits: The Firelit Cake

  1. Father Bill says:

    Damn – You’re killing me! I’m drooling here……………

  2. katy says:

    Oh, I’m with Cameron; I definitely wouldn’t turn something this beautiful and coffee-flavored down. And I think I’ve heard of this distillery; a few people Kostas works with were telling us we should go and do a tasting there. After this post, I’m thinking we’re going to have to go sooner, rather than later!

    And I wonder how cocoa nibs would work in this? Maybe not as a replacement for the raisins, but studded in the top or even on top of the whipped cream? (forgive me, I’ve been on a cocoa nibs kick ever since the chocolate making class; I like their slightly bitter taste.)

    • When you go to the distillery, I’d love to hear a full report. I haven’t made it there yet, either — but I feel so thankful that we have places like that nearby.

      Yes: nibs are a great idea! I love their crunch and how richly chocolatey they are without being sweet or waxy — and their bitterness would indeed be perfect with the slight bite of the booze and orange in this cake.

      Definitely chocolate and raisins together would be delicious (I just had to add my warning in case anyone was tempted to replace the raisins with chocolate instead of supplementing the cake with it.)

      Love all your great ideas once again! I edited my “maybe next time” thanks to you.

  3. Oh my, that looks sinfully delicious! You always seem to find new ways to add great flavor into your creations.

  4. krugthethinker says:

    Oh, how gorgeous! As a coffee lover, I am definitely drooling!

    • Thanks, Cameron! It’s funny; I am not usually a big booze person but this liqueur (and the cake in its honor) is really more like a warm-you-up, sweet cup of good coffee. I wish we could share some right now (that is, either coffee or cake or both!).

  5. Lilly Sue says:

    WOW, your pictures always look so inviting! I haven’t heard of Firelit….looks like a good thing to cook with 🙂

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