Aunt Mia’s Patriotic Punch Drunk Cake

What better way to celebrate Aunt Mia’s 40 somethingth birthday and America’s 238th birthday than with a boozy cake? I have a feeling she wouldn’t appreciate me sharing her approximate age much less her picture, but I don’t feel too bad about it because: A. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, and B. She doesn’t look a day over 12 years’ old.  Both  Mom AND Dad refuse to go to the grocery store with her anymore because the cashiers always refer to her as their daughter. I for one, feel their pain. It’s tough when you have a sibling who looks eternally 12. Once, when I took my little brother to get a haircut (He was 15, I was 21) the hairstylist asked me how I would like to pay for my SON’s haircut. I stood in open mouth shock, and I almost had a panic attack on the spot.

Alright, alright, was I wearing sweatpants and Crocs that day? Maybe I was. Was I popping an aspirin because my head hurt a little from the night before? Maybe I was. Was I reading good housekeeping? Maybe I was! Even so, I was insulted. I had laughed before when my Mom told her Aunt Mia grocery store tales. Now, I truly felt her pain. Anyway, despite our younger siblings’ Benjamin Button magic, we do not begrudge them birthday cake…

Red, White, and Booze

Red, White, and Booze

Mom  got a Booze Cakes book a year or two ago as a Christmas present from one of her favorite nieces (usefil tip: the key to giving a gift like a cookbook is to make sure you’re around to benefit from the cooking), and she was excited to use it. The recipe is as follows:

Punch Drunk Marble Cake
1 16oz can fruit cocktail in light syrup
¾ c light rum, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
½ c orange juice
¼ c lime juice
½ c milk
4 c all-purpose flour
2 tbl baking powder
¾ tsp salt
Several drops of different shades of food coloring (to suit the occasion)

Spiked Whipped Cream
3 c (1pint) heavy cream
5 tbl sugar
2 tbl Curacao (or other liqueur)

½ c sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans.  Set aside a punch bowl larger than the cake pans.
  2. Soak fruit cocktail in ½ cup rum.  Cover and refrigerate.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Mix in orange and lime juices, milk and ¼ cup rum.  Minx in flour, baking powder , and salt.  Pour batter into pans.  Add a few drops of food coloring to each pan; swirl coloring through batter to create a marbleized look.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. For the whipped cream:  In a mixing bowl, beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in Curacao.

Place one layer of cake in the punch bowl.  Layer cram and rum-soaked fruit on top.  Repeat with the next two layers.  Top with sprinkles.  Serve in individual punch cups with big spoons

Punch Drunk sparkler

Punch Drunk done right.

What Mom did to make it her own Patriotic Punch Drunk Birthday Cake:

“Since it was summer and the fourth I purchased the fruit cocktail with cherries, peaches, and pears, I added fresh blueberries (about ¼ cup) and   the Bacardi.

I substituted sweetened lime juice and added a little (1 TBL.) fresh lime juice to it.

I used Simply orange/tangerine juice.  Since it was the fourth of July I went with red, and blue food coloring and left one pan without.  I added about 16-18 drops and swirled with a chopstick.

I baked 25 minutes.

I whipped the cream and sugar.  I folded in 1and ½ tablespoons blue Curacao.  To the other 1/3 topping I added 1 tablespoon Coconut rum.

I placed the red layer in the bottom of the bowl and used a toothpick to poke a few holes in it.  I added 1/3 of the fruit and poured 1/3 of the syrup. Then spread a third of the whipped topping (with Curacao).

I added the white layer and repeated the holes/fruit/topping.

I added the blue layer and fruit with the whipped topping (coconut rum)

Punch Drunk cake


I used crystallized sugar and red sugar to sprinkle on top.  The firework swirl of fresh blueberries exploded from a cherry center.  Additional fresh cherry halves accented the sides of the cake.  I placed it in the refrigerator until the celebration.  The rummy syrup absorbed into the layers.  When it came time to server I sliced it vs. scooping it.  Extremely festive and enjoyed by all!  The next time I do this I’ll use all fresh fruit with simple syrup.  I think it would totally work!”


Aunt Mia and Mom

Mom with the ageless wonder, herself.

I don’t know about everyone else, but for me booze + cake, when done right = my happy place. Hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July, and Happy Birthday Aunt Mia!


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