Something about the holidays says rum cake to me, so much so that I’ve been compelled to try out various recipes. Yes, I’ve tried Paula Dean’s version, and yes, it’s loaded with butter. Yes, it’s darn good, and yes, I’m still alive and kicking. Along the way, I’ve played around with various modifications. For instance, sprinkling a cup or so of chopped pecans in the bottom of your bundt cake pan is a nice addition. And instead of just rum, I’ve used combinations of brandy, grappa, and homemade nocino, or walnut liqueur, and they have all turned out nicely. And it never hurts to add a splash more liquor when it comes time to soak the cake. Here’s my favorite at the moment and it comes from Saveur (November ‘12). Happy baking!
1. Heat oven to 325º. Butter and flour a 10” Bundt pan; set aside. Whisk together the following ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 ¾ sugar, ¼ dry milk powder, 3 tbsp. cornstarch, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. kosher salt. Separately whisk together ½ cup rum, ½ milk, ½ canola oil, 1 tbsp. vanilla, and 4 eggs. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool 20 min., then unmold and let cool.
2. Bring 8 tbsp. butter, 1 cup sugar, and ¼ water to a boil over high heat; cook for 5 min. stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add ½ cup rum (take my advice and add a drop or two more!) Place cooled cake top side down on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and poke holes all over bottom. Slowly pour syrup over cake, letting it soak in as you pour. Cool completely before serving. Great on day one and stores well!