Absinthe Cake
One 9-inch (23cm) rectangular cake
From The Sweet Life in Paris (Broadway Books)
For the cake:
1 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1 1/4 cup (175g) cake flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65g) pistachio or almond meal (or 1/2 cup (70g) stoneground yellow cornmeal)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (105g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
1/4 cup (60ml) Absinthe
1 orange preferably unsprayed
For the Absinthe glaze:
1/4 cup (25g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Absinthe
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C). Butter a 9-inch loaf pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a mortar and pestle or spice mill, grind the anise seeds until relatively fine. Whisk together the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and anise seeds. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, until they’re completely incorporated.
4. Mix together the milk and Absinthe with a few swipes of grated orange zest.
5. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the beaten butter, then the milk and Absinthe mixture.
6. By hand, stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until just smooth (do not overmix). Smooth the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool 30 minutes.
8. To glaze the cake with Absinthe, use a toothpick and poke 50 holes in the cake. In a small bowl, gently stir together the 1/4 cup (25 g) sugar, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of Absinthe until just mixed. (You can add a bit of orange zest here if you’d like too.) Be sure not to let the sugar dissolve too much!
9. Remove the cake from the loaf pan, peel off the parchment paper, and set the cake on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
10. Spoon some of the Absinthe glaze over the top and sides of the cake, allowing it to soak the top and spill down the sides a bit. Continue until all the glaze is used up.