Drunken Dominican Cake, Bizcocho Borracho

Hello, it's incredible how quickly February 14th has arrived! Wasn't it just yesterday that we were celebrating New Year's? This month is flying by! Today's recipe is a much-loved classic sponge cake, Bizcocho Borracho. For those seeking a Valentine's Day dessert, this is a perfect choice with its vibrant red color. It might even be considered an alternative to red velvet cake, though I'm not entirely sure about that :)

This spongy cake is made without butter and is moistened with a syrup made of sugar, water, red food coloring, and rum. While it's not as commonly found in bakeries as it used to be, it remains a classic favorite for Dominicans. My husband has childhood memories of this cake being sold by a street vendor carrying a wooden box on his head. On the other hand, I fondly remember the "helado borracho," or drunken ice cream, which used to be my favorite. Can you imagine my disappointment when I found out that this ice cream had been discontinued? This tragic and unfair reality fueled my eagerness to learn how to make this cake, and now I have my own version of the recipe.

I had intended to bake this cake last Christmas and share the recipe with you, but time slipped away from me. I'm thrilled that I've finally published it as promised and fulfilled the requests of many readers who have been asking for this recipe. Hopefully, you'll be able to prepare this recipe at home soon.

Why isn't this cake sold as much as before? The reason is that the delicious, intense pink raspberry extract is no longer available in local stores and supermarkets. What's being sold now is an imitation concentrate used to flavor food products in general, but it doesn't taste like the original. We call it "frambuesa," and it is the most important ingredient in this cake because it adds the dark red color that characterizes this drunken cake.

Why so much coloring? First, I would like to clarify why it has to be a dark red wine color. The original recipe was made with red wine, but to make it more economical or suitable for children, frambuesa was used as a substitute for the wine. From there came the infatuation with the intense red wine color. For this recipe, you will see that a lot of coloring is used, something that I don't usually like, but for this cake, I do. I should also clarify that it is not necessary to use coloring; you can use less or none at all. There are several versions of this recipe, and today I will share my version and how I substitute the frambuesa.

Bizcocho Borracho

(Mari's Cakes version inspired and translated from the book (Mujer 2000)

For the cake:
5 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted (145g)
½ teaspoon of baking powder (omit if using wine)
¼ teaspoon salt

For syrup:
1¼ cups sugar (250g)
2 cups water (437ml)
½ cup of red wine or rum (118ml)
2 ½ teaspoons of red food gel coloring (optional)
3 drops of blue food gel coloring (optional)
1 tsp. raspberry extract (optional)

To Sprinkle on Top (optional):
¼ cup powdered sugar (32g)
¼ teaspoons cinnamon powder

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of cinnamon to ¼ cup of powdered sugar, creating a cocoa-colored sugar. I enjoy the contrast of the white sugar against the red, so in this recipe, I use less cinnamon to achieve a soft beige color instead. I do use both sugars. There is a photo almost at the end of the post that shows the cake with both sugars, and I believe using both makes it look interesting.

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Grease and flour an 8 x 10-inch rectangular cake pan, or one tall 9-inch round tall pan. 

2. Separate the yolks from the whites and beat with a half cup of sugar until pale yellow and foamy (on speed # 8 / high for 2.5 minutes). 

3. In a large bowl beat the egg whites with the remaining half cup sugar until soft peaks form (on speed # 10 /high for 1 minute). Incorporate the beaten egg yolks and flour into the egg whites by folding- stirring gently to keep air bubbles in. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 - 30 minutes or until it is golden and when inserted the toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.

4. Prepare the syrup: combine water and sugar, bring to moderate fire, and boil for 10 minutes. After it has cooled, add the rum or wine, coloring, extract and mix. Bathe the sponge cake with syrup until it is completely soaked, and bring to refrigerator. Sprinkle cake top with the mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving. This cake can last up one week in the fridge. Serve cold. ENJOY!

If you pour the syrup onto the sponge in the same pan where it was baked, instead of cutting it into slices and placing them on a tray as indicated in the notes below, you can follow the process of pricking holes in the surface of the cake with a knife or skewer. This will help the cake absorb the syrup much better. 

a) You can also moisten cake as follows I find this way easier):  cut into slices, put them lying flat on a tray, soak with the syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and place them on a plate or in individual doilies. Although I used a bundt cake pan, I do not recommend it if you are just learning to make cakes. This cake is very soft due to being soaked in syrup and it can break while unmolding.

b) Decorate as you please with Meringue – use half of this recipe: Meringue Frosting.

c) This cake will rise very high in the oven and might shrink a little due to air incorporated in the beaten eggs and a small amount of leavening agent used, if this happens it is OK.

If you have people in your life to love, you are rich. - J. Osteen

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