When we first encountered deep-fried, bourbon-soaked Twinkies, we were a little smitten. Until, that is, we realized we could do so much better.
Better as in ditching the highly processed snack cakes and substituting a truly amazing slab of homemade pound cake, all rich and dense and ready to sponge up some booze. Which is what we did next; we drizzled each slice with a generous glug of bourbon. And no need to use the good stuff here. Anything you'd consider using as a mixer will be fine.
An ample dose of butter to pan-fry our slices until nicely crisped and warmed doesn't hurt their flavor, either. Now all you have to do is serve — warm, please! — with fresh berries and whipped cream or ice cream. Take that, Twinkies.
Butter-browned bourbon-basted pound cake
Start to finish: 2 hours (30 minutes active)
4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan frying
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup bourbon
Berries, to serve
Whipped cream, to serve
Heat the oven to 350 F. Mist an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, then line the bottom and up the 2 long sides with kitchen parchment.
In a small bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks and water.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat together the sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and the salt until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While mixing, add the egg mixture, a couple tablespoons at a time, until well emulsified after each addition. The adding of the eggs should take about 5 minutes.
Working in 2 batches, fold in the flour gently but thoroughly until no trace of the flour remains. Transfer to the prepared pan and spread to smooth the top. Gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake on the oven's center rack for 55 to 65 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool for another 20 minutes.
When the cake is mostly cool, slice the ends off, then slice the loaf into 12 generous 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice liberally with bourbon.
In a large skillet, melt a bit of butter over medium-high, swirling to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan. Working in batches, fry the pound cake 3 to 4 slices at a time, for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until toasty brown, adding additional butter between batches. Carefully transfer the toasted slices to a platter while you fry the remaining slices. Serve warm, with berries and whipped cream, if desired.
Leftovers can be cooled and kept in an airtight container for 3 days, gently rewarming in a skillet.
Nutrition information per serving: 350 calories; 190 calories from fat (54 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (13 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 155 mg cholesterol; 65 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 5 g protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Baking Company in Concord, N.H.