Friday, April 20, 2012

44. Rum Cake

Let me preface this post by saying it is not intended to be offensive.  So, just chalk it up to my off beat personality :-)

My church has driven me to drink, to over indulge in the devil’s brew!  Before you form an opinion and want to douse me in holy water, let me explain my weekend.  Saturday, the day before the Holy day, I was at home cleaning up my kitchen area in preparation for making some Easter bread.  It was a little before 5 PM and I get a call regarding Sunday’s service.  I immediately start going through the house trying to find the tablecloth and hand towel needed for service the very NEXT day.  The lady who usual has the towel and tablecloth was on vacation.

I leave my house and head to the church, thinking that maybe the towel and tablecloth are there.  Nope, they are not there.  I could not show up to church on Sunday empty handed.  So, I must go and seek a replacement for Sunday.  I head to Target.  I find a hand towel, but no tablecloth.  I know from previous experience, a white tablecloth can be hard to find.  I decide to head back to the one place I was able to find one before.

The mall… on the Saturday night… prior to Easter Sunday… was a mad house of people trying to find their last minute Easter outfits.  After parking so far from the door that I could have walked from home, cutting around loiterers standing in the way on the sidewalk, and making it through the racks of pastel printed puffy dresses, I get to the table cloth isle.  There are no white tablecloths to be found.  Not only did I have to come to a store in the mall, I now had to go out of that store, and brave the actual mall.

The mall was an overcrowded nightmare.  Not Christmas over crowded, but bad nonetheless.  I should mention that my attitude might not have been the best as all I could focus on was how much time this was taking me.  I get to another home goods type store and begin searching for a tablecloth.  Then with the lovely lightening, I could not tell what was white and what was silver, grey, or off white.  I begin taking tablecloths to other sections to compare them with things that I knew were white.

After all that, nothing was quite right.  As I am rounding the corner, thinking what store I could try next, I finally see a plain white tablecloth.  After contemplating which side I needed for no less than 20minutes, I got in line and waited there another 30 minutes.  Did I mention it was the Saturday before Easter Sunday?

I have to blaze back through the mall.  Getting to my car, I realize that is now night and I have not had dinner.  I went to the store near my house and grabbed a slice of pizza and went home.  It was now nearly 9PM and nearly 4 hours of trying to prepare for a last minute addition to Sunday’s service. 

My plans to make Easter bread were shot.  I could not get started on a bread recipe at 10 at night and still have it ready to share with some special folks on Sunday.  I still had the urge to bake something.  So, instead of making Easter bread, I stepped into the bad side and made RUM CAKE!  If it had not been for the stress of the evening, I would not have felt the need to pull out the Rum and use a bottle and a half in the cake.  Actually, my plan earlier in the day was to make bread and cake, but due to the circumstances “cut the bread” and
bring on the rum!”  So, now that I have explained myself, and you have (hopefully) put your holy water away, let’s talk about this yummy boozy cake.

This recipe came out wonderfully.  The cake was very moist and flavorful.  It tasted heavily of rum (the best part).  I liked the addition of the roasted pecans as an added crunch factor.  I baked six mini-bundt cakes and four pint sized jars.  The bundt cakes were cute, but the jars were by far my favorite.  I have never actually baked a cake in a jar until now.  Because the cake only gets a hot syrup, not a frosting, it is a perfect candidate to be baked into a jar.

The best part of baking the rum cake into the jar, is that it can be sealed in a way in which it will keep fresh for a good while and you can mail it to loved ones.  To accomplish this I took one jar out of the oven.  Whipped the rim if necessary.  I then took a knife and poked the cake several times.  I next poured a good amount of syrup (out of a measuring cup) over the cake.  It will bubble up, which is awesome to watch.  Then I placed the lid over the bubbling hot jar, and turned the ring.  As the jar/cake cools, the lid’s bubbled center will sink in sealing the jar.  I thought this was so awesome.

And just to round out the story--Sunday morning, literally less than one hour before I have to leave to be at church, I get a call from the lady who usually has the tablecloth and hand towel… Wait for it… They had been in my house all along, hanging on the closet door.  Really?!?!  I could not believe that I had wasted an entire Saturday evening, when they were literally in my own house mere inches from places I looked the day before.   At that point, I took another bit of cake and a swig directly from the rum bottle… And then headed to church.  Just kidding, but the cake I ate Sunday evening was extremely good (and well deserved)!

This also marks another item off my top 100 list!

Rum Cake
Adapted from Always Order Dessert

 for the cake
1/2 cups (or more to taste) pecans, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons + 1/2 cup vegetable oil, separated
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 package Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding
3/4 cup whole milk (I used a scant 1/2 cup heavy cream and heaping 1/4 cup water)
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup dark rum
1 TBS vanilla extract

for the rum syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark rum


1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Prepare pan and/or jars with flour/shortening spray, and drop chopped pecans into the bottom of the pan/jar.  (For the jars, I reserved some of the pecans to sprinkle in the middle). Set aside.

2. With a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter.

3. Add the 3 TBS oil, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, combining until evenly distributed. (The mixture will look like fine crumbs.) Add in the pudding mix.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk (or cream mixture), rum, vanilla extract, and remaining vegetable oil.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixer and mix well until combined. The batter will be smooth (possibly with a few lump; don’t worry they will bake out), thin, and pour easily.

6. If making minis or jars, pour batter in large measuring cup with a spout for eats distribution into pans/jars. Pour batter into pans or jars (for jars, I poured in half then sprinkled in more nuts, then pour in the rest).  Do not fill the pan and jars beyond 1/2 to 2/3 full, as the cake will rise.  Bake for 20-25 (mini bundt) to 35-40 (jars) minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cake comes up clean.

7. While cakes are in the oven, prepare the syrup for the jars, or while the cake is cooling for the minis.  In a large saucepan with high sides, combine the butter, water, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup reduce slightly, but keep an eye on it so it does not boil over. Remove from the heat(!!!) before stirring in the rum (it will bubble).

8. If you made jars, look at the explanation above regarding how to apply the syrup and seal them.  If you made bundt cakes, let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before inverting them onto a rack to cool completely (approximately another 10 to 20 minutes).

9.  Clean out the bundt pan, then place the cakes back into the pan.  With a sharp knife, poke a few holes in each cake.  Pour the syrup all over the cakes.  Let it sit for at least 8 hours, but overnight would be best.  Invert and enjoy.


  1. I saw this and it made me think of your rum cake :)

  2. Never had a gin and tonic in real life, but cake + alcohol = yummy!