Welcome back to the monthly cake series! This month’s cake is a porter bundt cake with whiskey caramel sauce. If you think that’s a long name, it’s only to prepare you for the big, bold flavors you’ll get from this cake. Go check out the recipe and then come back here for some tips on making this cake a success.

The main thing is, don’t panic when you see the number of steps. While there are a lot of parts to this cake, each one is done separately so you don’t have to worry about being in four places at once. Just take one step at a time and you’ll be fine.

When you’re ready to get started, the first step is pretty straightforward- you’re heating and stirring together the molasses and porter. You don’t have to worry about heating it to a certain temperature or anything; just bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. My biggest advice here is to obey the specification for a large saucepan. You don’t need a stock pot or anything, but the mixture is going to expand when you add the baking soda (it’s actually pretty cool), so don’t use a pan that’s just big enough for the molasses and porter.

Next, you’re reducing the maple syrup and porter into a glaze. Don’t worry- this is actually pretty simple. You just combine the two ingredients and let them cook for about 20 minutes. The biggest thing here is to stir occasionally so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan and to set a timer so you don’t wander off and forget about it. Seriously; that’s it.

Buttering the pan is a little annoying because of the grooves in bundt pans, but don’t leave this part out- if you do your cake won’t release properly and you’ll end up with a (good tasting but ugly) mess on your hands.

Once you’ve got your cake mixed, in the pan, baked, and brushed with the glaze, there’s only one cooking step left- the caramel sauce. Again, this isn’t hard but you do need to stay close to the pan. There will be a slow build as the sugar cooks- nothing will happen, then the water will start to boil, the mixture will turn clear, and then it will start to brown. Once the sugar is light brown things move a little faster and you can overcook the caramel quickly, so be ready to turn off the heat when you reach this point. Also, don’t stand too close to the pot when you pour the cool whiskey and cream into the hot caramel. It can splatter if you’re not careful and caramel can stick to the skin. Not fun.

Once the cake is assembled you’re ready to cut and enjoy. This cake is not for the faint of heart with its many intense flavors. Try it with Chianti or Bordeaux if you need to tone the whiskey and porter flavors down, or with a sparkling wine to bring a little fruitiness to the mix.

Are you making the cake? Let me know how it turns out!

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