I couldn’t help but be intrigued and entertained when I came across a cake recipe with an unusual ingredient: cinnamon-flavored Fireball Whisky. It uses instant vanilla pudding mix, too — so retro, but that’s the point. Cookbook author Addie Gundry says that baking with alcohol was also en vogue in the 1950s and ’60s. She tweaked the idea of a rum cake by adding whiskey instead, and cinnamon-flavored for an additional twist. I got a strong whiff of booze from the finished cake in my early tests but thought the cinnamon flavor could use more oomph, so I added ground cinnamon.

When I baked it in a glass Pyrex loaf pan, it domed beautifully. When I baked it in a metal pan, the center sank a little — but it tasted just as good.

Like all the dessert recipes I’m featuring on Voraciously, this cake comes together in one bowl. Meaning the time you’d burn cleaning up can be spent leisurely enjoying a slice with a nice cup of coffee. Or a shot of Fireball.

No judging here.

Make ahead: The cake will keep for a few days at room temperature, in a tightly closed container or wrapped well in plastic.


8tablespoons(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


14cupvegetable oil

2large eggs

1teaspoonvanilla extract

14cupcinnamon-flavored whiskey, such as Fireball

1 12cupsflour

14cup(from half of a 3.4-ounce package) instant vanilla pudding mix, such as Jell-O brand

1teaspoonbaking powder

14teaspoonbaking soda

14teaspoonkosher salt

1teaspoonground cinnamon

14cupchopped walnuts (optional)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking oil spray.

Step 2

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on low speed for a minute or two, then increase the speed to medium; beat for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Step 3

Add the oil, eggs, vanilla extract and whiskey; beat on low speed. The mixture may look curdled, but that’s okay. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Step 4

Add the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; beat on low speed to form a smooth batter. Transfer to the pan, spreading the batter evenly. Scatter the walnuts on top, if using.

Step 5

Bake (middle rack) for 65 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. (You can loosely tent the top with aluminum foil if it begins to look too dark.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool completely.

Step 6

Run a round-edged knife around the cake, before tipping it out of the pan. Cut into slices and serve.

Adapted from “Retro Recipes From the 50s and 60s: 103 Vintage Appetizers, Dinners, and Drinks Everyone Will Love,” by Addie Gundry (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018).

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo of your cake and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.


Calories: 300; Total Fat: 16 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 60 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 34 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 15 g; Protein: 3 g.