Jim Burress’ Bourbon Cake | Cooking | PBA30


Jim Burress WABE 90.1 host Jim Burress shares his favorite recipe, bourbon cake.

Jim Burress’ Bourbon Cake

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Everyone has that special dish that means something more than just what is on the plate. For “Closer Look” host Jim Burress, a special boozy dessert brings back memories of home and, he sheepishly notes, it’s the only thing he can really cook.

Growing up Southern Baptist in Kentucky, alcohol wasn’t a big part of our lives (Jesus frowns on drunkards, as the preacher told us). But it was Kentucky, so bourbon got a pass. Kind of.

At any rate, this was a popular treat. My grandmother made it with rum, but I like it better with bourbon. The cake has a really nice, moist flavor. And it can give you a “kick,” depending on how long you reduce the bourbon glaze.

Jim Burress’ Bourbon Cake


  • One box of super-moist Duncan Hines yellow cake mix (You have to use Duncan Hines because he’s from Kentucky. And it’s bourbon cake. So.)
  • Four large eggs
  • 1 box of vanilla-flavored pudding mix
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

 Bourbon Glaze

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup bourbon (Jim’s note: Don’t use Maker’s Mark.  It’s too subtle.  The best option for bourbon is usually the cheapest.  Jim Beam is my favorite!)

Preheat oven to temperature on cake mixture box. 

Combine all of the cake ingredients in a mixer and blend well. 

Once batter is blended, pour into a floured and greased Bundt pan or cupcake sheet.  Bake for length of time specified on cake mix box.

After the cake is finished baking, take it out and let it cool while you make the glaze. 

Bourbon glaze:

To make the best part of the cake, bring the bourbon to a boil in a saucepan. Keep at a boil while stirring in butter and sugar until both are fully absorbed. The longer you boil it, the less potent it becomes.  That’s good if you want a subtle flavor. 

While still hot, drizzle slowly and evenly onto the bottom of the Bundt pan or on top of cupcakes.

 Allow several hours for the bourbon mixture to seep into the cake before removing the pan.

For more recipes and new cooking shows like “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” check out http://pba.org/cooking.