Drunken Dominican Cake, Bizcocho Borracho

Hi, it is incredible how fast February 14th has arrived! Wasn't it yesterday that we celebrated New Year? This month is going by so fast! Today's recipe is a typical, and very loved sponge cake, Bizcocho Borracho! For those looking for a Valentine's Day dessert this is a perfect red colored cake. Maybe it's even an alternative to red velvet cake, hummmm... I am not to sure about that :)

This spongy cake is made without butter and is moistened with syrup made of sugar, water, red food coloring and rum. It is not found in bakeries as frequent as before, but it still remains a classic favorite for Dominicans. My husband’s childhood memories of this cake are of a street vendor with a wooden box on his head selling this cake. I only remember the “helado borracho” drunken ice cream, it was my favorite. Can you imagine my disappointment when I found out this ice cream was discontinued?  Due to this tragic, unfair reality, hence my eagerness to learn how to do this cake and now I have my own version of this recipe.

I specifically wanted to bake this cake this past Christmas and share the recipe with you, but time slipped by. I am happy that I finally published it as I promised and fulfilled the request of many readers who have asked for this recipe. Hopefully you can prepare this recipe soon at home. 

Why this cake is not sold as much as before? The reason why it is not sold as much as before is because the delicious, intense pink, raspberry extract is no longer found in local stores and supermarkets. What’s being sold now is an imitation concentrate 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, in order to replace the wine, by using rum and to make it more economical or suitable for children, frambuesa was used as a substitute. From there came the infatuation of 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 put coloring, you can put less or none. There are several versions of this recipe, 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 called for 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon to ¼ cup of powdered sugar making a cocoa color sugar. I like the contrast of the white sugar on the red, so in this recipe I use less cinnamon to get 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 think 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 9-inch round tall pan. 

2. Separate the yolks from whites, 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 to the egg whites by folding- stirring gently to keep air bubbles in. Poured 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 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 will pour syrup to the sponge in the same pan were baked instead of cutting into slices and place them on a tray as indicated in the notes below, you can follow the processes of pricking holes in the surface of the cake with a knife or skewer. This helps the cake absorb the syrup much better. You can see how a pricked cake looks like in Tres Leches Cake post.

a) You can also moisten cake as follows (I find this way easier):  cut into slices, put them laying 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 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 then shrink a little due to air incorporated in the beaten eggs and little stabilizer, if this happens it is OK.

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

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