I recently had an extensive conversation about alcohol baking in different recipes. It seems that most people believe that alcohol completely “cooks out” of baked goods. This is wrong. There can be anywhere from 5 to 85 percent of alcohol left in your baked goods, depending on a few different factors: the amount and type of alcohol used, and the cooking time and process.
Here’s a little science for you. We’ll say that I’m making a 3 tier, pink champagne wedding cake. The tiers are 6 inches, 8 inches, and 10 inches in diameter. The 6 inch cake will actually retain more alcohol than the 10 inch. Why? Because the 10 inch tier has a much larger surface area for the alcohol to evaporate than the 6 inch.
In terms of cake, there’s never a way to completely cook the alcohol out. After 2 1/2 hours in an oven, baked goods still hold about 10 percent of the alcohol. 10 percent may not seem like a big deal, however, it’s still too much for a child. Maybe someone is on a medication that would react badly to alcohol. It could even be against someone’s religious beliefs to consume alcohol. When baking and cooking for others you should always do research and know what’s right and wrong. Never assume. Be responsible when baking or cooking with alcohol. I’m not saying to never cook or bake with alcohol, you just need to know who will be consuming it and your client should certainly be informed.
There are many other ways to get some of the flavor profiles you want without the use of alcohol. Fruit juices, flavored extracts, and emulsions are a great way to do this. Play around with your flavors and you may come up with something brand new that you like even better!