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Recipes // Desserts // Rum Cake

Rum Cake

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By Dédé Wilson

Serves 10 to 12

Warning: Adult Content. This recipe contains “A” for alcohol, “B” for butter and booze and “C” for cream. This is a rich, buttery cake, laden with rum both before and after baking. If you don’t like rum, don’t make this cake! This is meant to be a bit - how should we put it – aromatic. Many rum cake recipes on the Internet use a boxed mix. Our scratch version is richer than rich and quite potent. Enjoy.

Adapted from A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by Dédé Wilson. Published by Harvard Common Press.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

Rum Syrup:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2/3 cup dark rum

Directions:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Thoroughly coat the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray (the kind that contains fat and flour, such as Baker’s Joy); set aside.
  2. For the Cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more, scraping down the bowl’s sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition and allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Follow with beating in egg yolk. Be patient with this step. Beat in rum. If mixture looks a little curdled, that’s okay. Add the flour mixture gradually and beat briefly until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top with a small offset spatula.
  4. Bake the cake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake shows a few moist crumbs when removed. Let cool on a rack until barely warm to the touch. Meanwhile make rum syrup.
  5. Make the Rum Syrup: Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to boil for a minute or two until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens a bit. Take off heat and whisk in rum.
  6. Pierce cake all over while still in pan (it should still be a tiny bit warm) and slowly begin to brush warm syrup over cake. Allow each application to absorb before adding more. Keep adding rum syrup until you use about half of the rum mixture. Unmold the cake onto a serving platter (we like to use one with a rim to hold any extra liquid), pierce the top, sides and center all over and continue to brush with rum syrup until it is all used. Do this slowly so that the syrup is absorbed; if you see it pooling at the base of the cake you are going too quickly. The cake is ready to serve or store under a cake dome at room temperature for up to 3 days. We like it on days 2 and 3 even more!
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