Dolester Miles Bourbon-Glazed Pound Cake

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Oscar Wilde

I must admit that I didn’t realize that was an Oscar Wilde quote until I went to look it up. I was thinking of the first part – Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – and had no idea the second part existed. Oscar was a bit snarky.

I was going to use the quote – as I knew it – and then state how I didn’t necessarily agree with it. I think being inspired by someone is the sincerest form of flattery. That someone can inspire you to do more or be more creative is truly a great thing. So much more than merely copying them.

Back in my professional cooking days, I knew the value of making something the same way and the right way every time. When a place is known for something, that something has to be consistent. And if two or six or ten people are making it, they all need to make it the same.

But cooking at home is so much different than cooking for the public. At home, I love the randomness of what we can do. I love taking a recipe from a James Beard Award Winner and thinking I wonder what I could do with that?!?

And that’s pretty much what I did with Dolester Miles’ Bourbon Glazed Pound Cake.

Dol Miles is truly an inspiration. And playing with a recipe of a James Beard Award Winner is fun and exciting. It’s not about making it better because, let’s face it – she’s a James Beard Award Winner. I’m definitely not. Whenever I play with someone else’s recipe, it’s about playing with that genius and seeing what else can be done with it – it’s not about improving their recipe, it’s about making something different based upon the same idea.

So… while at the produce market, this morning, I picked up some peaches. Ripe peaches. And my first thought was that bourbon and peaches go together really well. I wonder what would happen if I topped the cake with peach slices and demerara sugar before baking it?

The rest, as they say, is history.

I followed the recipe on the Bake From Scratch website except I topped the cake with bourbon-soaked peach slices and then sprinkled it all with demerara sugar before putting it in the oven. The recipe states 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 minutes for baking. Mine took 1 1/2 hours.

For over 30 years Dolester “Dol” Miles has served as Executive Pastry Chef at Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fonfon, creating a legacy of delicious desserts and leaving a lasting mark on the Birmingham dining scene.


I have never been to Birmingham, but I now have a serious reason to visit.