Challah Tipsy Cake

Posted November 22, 2016 by Stephanie
challah tipsy cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

This Tipsy Cake is based off of a very famous tipsy cake served at one of my favorite London eateries: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Mike and I first had lunch at Dinner five(!?!) years ago. We were both slightly obsessed with him, having had some of our first dates in watching his BBC series, In Search of Perfection.

Heston is a crazy chef. His dishes are involved, fun, and ultimately, delicious. Way back in the day, before I started blogging and was just a baby home cook, I decided that I wanted to make peking duck. Soon after, Mike and I watched the In Search of Perfection episode on just that. I was inspired! Heston does some crazy shit where he takes the skin off the duck, sews it onto a wire rack and ladles hot oil over it. I did a botched job and somehow managed to melt a ladle, because duh, plastic ladles and hot oil don’t mix. After that I couldn’t look at a duck for months…

Anyway, the Tipsy Cake (yes, it needs to be capitalized) at Dinner is amazing. It’s an ethereal fluffy cloud of brioche, dipped in sugar, then proofed so it has a cracked caramelized crust. It’s partially baked, then moved to a deck oven and soaked in vanilla brandy cream, which caramelizes as the brioche continues to bake. When it arrives in the most adorable mini cocotte, it’s served with spit roasted pineapple. It’s kind of unassuming looking, but one bite of the hot, fluffy brioche with the crackly crust and creamy caramelized cream and you’ll be wanting another, stat.

This is actually my second try at making Heston’s Tipsy Cake. The first time I did it for a dinner party, untested. Usually I don’t do that sort of thing – I like cooking things that are tried and true because inevitably something goes wrong. And yup, Heston’s recipe, which involves an extremely buttery brioche dough that is frozen overnight then proofed for four hours did not work, surprise, surprise! At that point it was too late and I rolled with it and our guests were very polite about it, but inside I was cringing the whole night.

Anyway, I couldn’t let the Tipsy Cake best me. I felt like the magic lay in the cooking cream and not so much the brioche so when I had some leftover challah dough, I decided to go ahead and make a challah version for our Thanksgiving dessert. You can definitely use your favorite brioche recipe, if you have one.

If this seems like a decadent dessert, it is. I didn’t do the classic spit roasted pineapple to with – I don’t have a rotisserie spit hanging out in my kitchen, but I do recommend serving some sort of fruit with. And, if you’re going to be even more decadent, serve it with some ice cream, because hot fluffy rum soaked bread and ice cream are what dreams are made of.

Hope all my American friends are all Thanksgiving ready!
love and tipsy cake,
xoxo steph

PS – I recently went back and read some of my old post and they make me so nostalgic. I was getting a little disenchanted with this whole blogging thing – I’ve noticed a drop in comments, so I kinda feel like no one is reading anymore. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter to me if anyone’s reading because I get to look back and laugh at little things that I never would have remembered if I didn’t blog about them. So thank you me (and Mike!), for somewhat forcing me to keep doing what I do, even when I don’t want to.

PPS – Other Heston recipes, just in case you wanna go deep :)

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake -

Challah Tipsy Cake Recipe
serves 8-12

Tipsy Cake:

  • 1/2 recipe challah dough, after the overnight proof
  • 1/2 cup melted, but cool butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Tipsy Cake Creme:

  • 500 grams heavy whipping cream
  • 75 grams demerara sugar
  • 75 grams light brown sugar
  • 40 grams Sauternes
  • 65 grams brandy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

liberally adapted from Heston Blumenthal’s Tipsy Cake

You can definitely make this smaller, as per how Heston does it at Dinner. Divide the dough into 12 gram portions, then shape and place 5 into each mini cast iron cocotte. When you bake, you’ll need to adjust the time accordingly: bake for 15 minutes, the pour on the cream, about 20-25 grams the first time, then 15 grams each time subsequently.

After the dough has been proofed overnight, take it out of the fridge and tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. You can eyeball this, which is what I did, or if you want to be precise, weight the dough and dived into 20, cutting and weighting each ball of dough as needed.

Once the dough is divided, tuck each portion of dough into a tight ball. Choose a baking vessel that is large enough to hold all of the balls of dough. They will rise a bit, but if they’re snug in the baking dish, that’s fine. I used a 12 inch round baking dish.

One by one, dip the balls of dough into the butter, then roll in the sugar before placing in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. The surface of the dough will show cracking from where the dough proofs through the butter and sugar. This is ideal!

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic wrap from the dish and  bake for 30 minutes. While the bread is baking, blend together the whipping cream, sugars, alcohols, and vanilla.

When the bread balls have baked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and, using a knife or offset spatula, make incisions in between where the balls of dough meat. Pour in half of the cream and bake for another 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cream. Remove from the oven, let rest for 5-10 minute and enjoy hot!


  1. I am definitely still reading! I know exactly how you feel, but it’s good to remember that you’re doing this for yourself, too. For me personally, I feel like since I started this blog I’ve been pushing myself to try new things (because blogging about the same old same old is going to get boring eventually!). I say keep up the good work! :)

    As for this recipe, I was quite curious about the “tipsy” part (I’ve never had a tipsy cake before!) but now that I read the recipe it looks dannnnng delicious. Love the idea!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      yes, i totally agree – it’s really about yourself and trying new things :) thanks for taking the time to comment vivian!

      tipsy everything needs to be a thing ;)

  2. India says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented but I still read almost every blog post! I know in this day and age it’s all about the numbers but I find that the best blogs are the ones where real personality show through (like yours!) rather than the ones that just cater to their audience. Keep doing what you’re doing – I think it’s amazing!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much india :) who cares about numbers anyway, right? ;)

  3. Ritika says:

    I think people find it hard to comment because we have to enter an email and name and internet safety is a bit of a priority of mine. And sometimes it’s so easy to read a post, marvel at your cremations and then move on with our lives. These are excuses but excuses that I’ve had for never commenting til now. But! I just had to comment… so…

    Please never stop cooking and baking and sharing! I started reading your blog over a year ago and I’ve been through each and every post in the archives. Some of your recipes like the honey sriracha chicken and the chocolate cream cheese cupcakes are now “signature dishes” of mine. And when people ask for the recipe I immediately and fondly direct them to your page.

    You not only write and share amazing recipes, you write them well. I feel as if I’m there learning and cooking with you every time I read your blog.

    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thanks for taking the time to comment ritika :) i know commenting is annoying, i totally get why people don’t do it lol

      thanks so much for actually making some of the recipes! that’s what makes me happiest :D

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m here :). Keep blogging, I love your Vancouver content!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi lisa :) thank you! i should try to do more vancouver things!

  5. WHOA. i was already convinced when i heard it was buttered and sugared brioche, and then pouring on cream and baking that in too?? it sounds kind of like molly wizenberg’s cornbread recipe where she pours heavy cream on top of cornbread batter and it sinks into it like a custard. still need to try that one, but i think it’s gotten displaced by this tipsy cake on winter projects i have to do ?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      oof that cornbread recipe sounds amazing. i love custardy bread things!!

  6. Stephanie Moreno says:

    I never post on anything haha but I LOVE your blog and have been reading for ages now! I think I was a senior in college when I started and now I’m 26! We are here!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      fellow stephanie! hai!!! thanks for reading all these years :)

  7. Emma says:

    We are here! I know I anxiously check your blog every day in hopes that you have posted a new recipe or travel diary. Keep up the beautiful work :)

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much emma! it makes me happy that you like the travel stuff too! :)

  8. Marisa says:

    Just wanted to say that even though I don’t usually comment, I’m reading! :)

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thanks so much for taking the time to comment marisa :)

  9. Juri Juster Jensen says:

    I am reading it all. Check at least 3 times a week. Keep a good blog alive, please.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi juri! don’t worry, i’ll keep it alive! thanks for checking in so often :)

  10. erin says:

    If comments give you reassurance, I will comment! Never stop, your blog is fabulous. Recipes great. I look forward to this blog every day!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you thank you thank you erin! i kinda posted that cause i don’t need the reassurance, but it is nice to know so many peeps are reading :)

  11. Sophie says:

    I’ve been reading your blog from London for years, and haven’t commented once! I absolutely love your writing style and the food you cook.. the porchetta recipe is my go-to for a twist on the classic English Sunday Roast.

    Keep doing what you’re doing – it’s fantastic.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      ooh i love the porchetta :) so happy that’s one of your go-tos! thanks for taking the time to comment!

  12. E says:

    I’m reading but I can’t eat potatoes and you make potatoes and/or really indulgent dishes 90% of the time so I haven’t tried anything from here in a long while. p.s. What happened to your snapchat?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      it’s true, i love potatoes LOL. thanks for reading even if i do make entirely too many potatoes :)

      and oof, snapchat – i just stopped. i think i was started to get too into it instead of just enjoying the moment, if you know what i mean?

  13. kelly says:

    LOVE your blog! Just wanted to comment so you know we are here with you:)

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much kelly! :)

  14. Cynthia says:

    That crackly sugar crust on the proofed buns! I’m so smitten with this cake. Especially because it’s a cross between my two favorite carbs, bread and cake! Too too good — just another reason why you should never stop blogging!! <3

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      ahh, i’ll never stop lol. it might end up being really sporadic, but i don’t think i’ll go away :)
      cake cake cake cake cake :D

  15. Lyn Elkind says:

    Stephanie, I look forward to Fridays and Sundays to read you blog and look at the stunning photography and recipes. I don’t post often, but please know you have fans out there. Please keep up the wonderful work. BTW, I love your cookbook!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much lyn :) i’m so happy you love the cookbook! *blush*

  16. sillygirl says:

    I always look forward to a new post on your site – and love the Friday Favorites. Lots of us are silent but we are here!!! Keep posting!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much for taking the time to comment :)
      i love doing the friday posts!

  17. Beverley says:

    Sorry you are feeling low about blogging at the moment !
    I don’t usually comment but just want to let you know you are doing a brilliant job !
    I always look forward to read your post, especially Friday find, anyway good luck and hope you again find the passion soon!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thanks beverley :) i’m sure it’ll come around again. thanks for letting me know you’re here!

  18. I’m still here visiting all the time and love your content!. A few things: 1. You have never replied to my comments, so in a way, I feel the same way that you do where I don’t know if you read them. 2. When you do reply to people’s comments, they might not know it. You could add a “notify me when someone replies to my comment” so people get notified when there is a reply. That is part of jetpack, but there are probably some other ways to do it. :)

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hey justin, i know exactly what you mean! it’s a bad habit of mine, but i do read every comment because i manually approve each one. i want to reply to them all but sometimes life just gets in the way.

      thanks so much for saying you love the content :)

  19. CY says:

    Hi! I became a regular reader of your blog since a few months ago, and i’ve been checking in regularly and reading every post since. I really like your cooking style which resonates with me! (In fact, after I read the first few posts, i bought your book immediately!) Please keep cooking, writing and posting!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi cy :)
      thanks for commenting! and for buying my book!

  20. T says:

    Don’t worry, even though you can’t see them, people are here. II never comment, but I read your blog religiously! You have delicious recipes and beautiful photography!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much T! :)

  21. Nicole Adlman says:

    This is beautiful. We’re reading, even if we don’t always comment.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thanks nicole :)
      so happy you like the tipsy cake!

  22. Janice says:

    I love reading your blog! It’s like a little peek into the lives of you and Mike and I’m happy that you share it with us. Besides the beautiful pictures that are in your posts, you make cooking more fun and less intimidating so thank you very much for that.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      :) that makes me fuzzy, knowing that i make cooking fun. thanks for commenting janice!

  23. Melissa says:

    Your blog is my FAVE! I check it all the time. Several of your amazing recipes are on my repeat list and I literally recommend your blog all the time. ???

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      awww, thank you so much melissa :) *fuzzies*

  24. Nathan says:

    Definitely still reading…every day!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      heehee thanks nathan. i should try to post everyday then!?! >_<

  25. Kristi says:

    I’m always reading every post! I guess some of us just get carried away by your amazing pictures we don’t take the time to let you know we’re here drooling over all your amazing posts and appreciating all the recipes you come up with(this recipe included)!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      aww thank you for the kind words kristi! and thanks for commenting!

  26. Sarah says:

    Devoted reader here since Jan 2015. I love the blog but don’t comment often so wanted to make a show of support for a fellow Edmonton home girl. Your blog keeps me going through the mid-week lulls and turns it into the mid-week lols!

    Hope you keep blogging and I promise I’ll keep reading!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      heehee edmonton!! :D haven’t been there in forever. mike and i keep saying we should visit. i miss the snow.
      thanks so much for hanging around and for this comment sarah!

  27. Kelley in Vancouver says:

    Heston is amazing – Thank you Heston for talking about food like I have a brain! I will try this Tipsy cake Steph, and will feel smart and inspired while doing so. Rock on girl.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      heston is amazing! i’ve had both hits and misses from him, but yes, he definitely makes you feel SOMETHING when you make his recipes.

      thanks for commenting kelly!

  28. Michelle says:

    Hai! Found your blog a few months ago and fell in love with it instantly! It’s one of my favorites and I look forward to it every day. Your posts are inspiring, beautiful, intriguing, and I am often amused by your unique sense of humour. Not much of a commenter but I do really appreciate your posts and hope you keep posting.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi michelle :) thank you so much for reading! heehee, also thanks for thinking i’m funny LOL

  29. Definitely reading your blog almost every post and probably only not commenting to avoid sounding like a fangirl, but you brought it up so here we go, a few of my most recent supressed comments:

    – Almost every post I feel like you’re two steps ahead of me and it’s so inspiring! Your blog and the Modernist Cuisine are the two resources I can trust the recipes 100% to be my style of food with an interesting spin. Any time I need to make something for a gathering or just want to try something new, I can always count on your blog to have a new take on grilled cheese, deviled eggs or anything totoro!! But what’s really great is to have someone I trust when I want to perfect something basic like the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
    – Your blog inspired me to start learning how to technically shoot in my kitchen, and start my own blog! I know you have a ton of blogger friends in LA, but if you ever need a foodie friend in San Diego, shoot me an email!
    – And how is it that you are able to style your hair so perfectly in almost every shot, even when you’re camping?!? I love it.


    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi heidi!!!! i’m blushing so hard over here :) i’m need to check out your site!!
      re: hair, i just bun it up most of the time. somehow it works out?! lol
      thanks so much for reading and commenting! xo

  30. Barry says:

    I’m new to this blog…but this Tipsy Challah is going to the top of my to-do list!
    This is definitely a “Have Company and WOW them” kind of dish. :-)

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      yes! it’s one of those recipes. just be sure to try it out first so you don’t have to go through what i went through lol

  31. Victoria says:

    OMG! Don’t stop blogging! I don’t comment, but I am in love with your site! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      heehee i think i gave the wrong idea with this post. i’m not going to stop! thanks for commenting victoria :)

  32. Val says:

    Is there a conversion from metric to US for this recipe? Also some of the terms are unfamiliar – what is demerara sugar? Thank you.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi val,

      demerara sugar is light brown sugar. unfortunately i don’t have the conversions as i used a kitchen scale. i’ve tried heston’s recipes before with conversions and they didn’t quite turn out for me.

  33. Michelle Goodall says:

    I have been reading your blog for some time and it allows me to daydream sweets and enjoy a well crafted writer. Please continue the journey.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thank you so much michelle :) i daydream about food all the time too…

  34. Anita Orsino says:

    This looks like a wonderful recipe and your commentary is wonderful.

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      thanks anita! :)

  35. Alana says:

    This is perfection, BB!! And totally makes my mouth water, just thinking about how good that Tipsy Cake at Dinner was/is/will always be. Also, hugs to you and all the comments cause I’m always reading.

  36. Wendy says:

    I’ve been reading your blog since you did momofuku for two!! I love your photography, your recipes, and your quirkiness! Seriously, girl crush!! Your blog seems to encompass so much of myself and if I could ever create a blog, I wish it would be like yours! I too, like most readers, have not commented until now! Keep doing what you are doing, you connect to us in a disconnected world!!

  37. Sara says:

    November and December are the craziest months for me (I work for a very small retail company), with no time to read the blogs I love. This week I’ve spent catching up, and yours is one I would really miss, if it ceased to exist. Please keep writing. :)

  38. Gabriella Clenton says:

    I’ve been searching for a recipe since I tried the tipsy cake at ‘Dinner by Heston’ in Melbourne Aus.
    This is perfect!! Will be following your blog and trying lots more of your recipes! Thank you so much X

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi gabriella,
      thanks so much for the lovely comment! i hope you get to give this a try, maybe even in the mini size they have at dinner by heston, not this giant version >_<

  39. Dorothy Mark-Quartey says:

    So glad I’ve come across this, I tried this in Ibiza at 7 Pines and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Cannot wait to make this, I really hope it turns out just as good. Also going to try Heston’s restaurant too. Thanks for the blog post x

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