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May 1, 2016: On my recent trip to the National Cornbread Festival, I picked up a souvenir from the area: some genuine Kentucky moonshine. I wasn't sure what to use it for, as I'm a very light drinker. Then, at the festival, a sign appeared from one of the vendors displaying "Tennessee Moonshine Cakes." At that moment, I knew I had to make one of these. Upon returning home, I discovered "moonshine cake" actually was not something commonly made, and not many recipes for one could be found online. There was even a "Moonshine cake" recipe that was actually an angel food cake. So, considering this, I ended up cobbling a recipe together and giving it a try. The result? Well, see for yourself…
A thin cake pan, such as light aluminum or non-stick, needs to be greased and floured to prevent the cake from sticking. However, if you are fortunate enough to own a cast iron or thick, heavy cast aluminum cake pan, do not grease and flour the pan. Yes, that's correct: do not grease the pan! Instead, place the dry cake pan into the oven. Preheat oven (and the pan) to 425° Fahrenheit. That may seem like a high temperature for a cake, but this is correct and intentional.
As the oven is heating, strain the peaches in a strainer, and reserve the extra liquid for use in the glaze. Add dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix them with a whisk. Whisking the dry ingredients incorporates air into the batter to make it lighter, and this is an important step.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix it all together. Add peaches, and mix again. Finally, add pecan pieces and mix it all together once again. Moonshine is strong stuff, and its scent will still be unmistakable when the batter is ready.
When the oven temperature reaches 425 degrees, carefully remove the cake pan from the oven. Do not turn down the oven temperature or turn the oven off. Add 2 tablespoons of Crisco or shortening, and brush the inside of the pan so the entire baking surface is covered. When finished coating the pan, add the extra hot oil to the cake batter, and stir it all together. Pour the batter into the hot cake pan.
Place the pan into the oven, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350° Fahrenheit. This will let the temperature decrease as the cake bakes. Bake about 60 to 70 minutes. I baked this for 60 minutes at 350 degrees, and found it was not done after 60 minutes. So, it went back into the oven for another ten minutes. The probe came out clean after a total of 70 minutes (one hour and ten minutes), and the cake was done.
After removing the cake from the oven, let the pan cool on the stovetop or a trivet for twenty minutes. The cake will settle and slightly reduce in size as it rests in the hot iron pan, which is why the twenty minute rest period is necessary. After twenty minutes, the heavy iron cake pan will still be very warm or hot. This is the time to remove the cake! Use heavy gloves to avoid burning yourself on the iron pan. Use a thin blade or knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan (including the inside, in the center). Flip the cake onto a platter and remove the cake pan.
Let cake cool completely, then prepare the glaze.
I like the consistency of this glaze, and it certainly was easy to put together: Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar, stir until melted. Add syrup and moonshine (or milk), stir together. Mix in powdered sugar, stir until the liquid is thoroughly mixed and there are no lumps. When ready, immediately drizzle over the cake. The glaze thickens very quickly, so be sure to pour it fast.
I didn't want to call this "Tennessee moonshine cake," because that's the name of the cake produced by the company. Also, peaches and pecans are more famous for Georgia than Tennessee. So, we have a more generic name of "Southern Moonshine Cake." If your friends are reluctant to try it…or you're bringing this to the office…call it a "Southern Shine Coffee Cake."
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