For those who are interested, here are some drinky cakes you can make for the holidays (or Tuesdays, whatever). They keep beautifully by virtue of being soaked in miraculous preserving alcohol. They also freeze well & ship well. …And generally make people like you and want to give you free stuff. <—- I made up this last bit, but it *could* be true!
I decided to make rum cakes this year because it reminded me of my gramma at the holidays. And summers at gramma & grampa’s house. Particularly the summer when I mistakenly decided I would never like coffee again after vomiting a whole box of Nips I’d been surreptitiously consuming behind gramma’s back. I blamed the coffee candies, and coffee in general, for years. Until my adult self realized that my 13 year old self had also eaten half a rum cake that day and that my resentment may have been misplaced. Luckily, I now love coffee AND rum cake. Though I do not like rum. And Nips shall ne’er pass my lips again, sadly. /backstory
A standard 10″ bundt pan is a good investment if you bake regularly, but if you don’t have one, no fear. Just pay attention to your cooking times, using different pans. PREHEAT your oven to 325 degrees.
Here is the classic rum cake we all remember our grammas and our moms making. I invite men, women, children and beasts with opposable thumbs to don their aprons and get baking! EASY peasy “cheater” cake, no foolin’!
Golden Rum Cake
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. vanillla instant pudding
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. dark rum
Grease & flour your bundt pan, sprinkle the chopped nuts in and set aside. Beat all the remaining ingredients in a largish bowl with a hand mixer until the pudding is partially activated and it’s nice and thick, then pour into the pan, over the nuts. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
1/2 c. butter
1/4 cup water
Heat over medium until melted and liquid, then:
1 c. white sugar, simmer up for a few minutes, stirring constantly, remove from heat, add:
1/2 c. dark rum – stir in, reheat for about 30 seconds, and it’s glaze.
Make the glaze in the last ten-ish minutes of cake baking. When cake comes out, turn immediately out onto large plate, and poke a bunch of holes in it (all over) with a skewer, then slowly *pour/dribble the glaze over and around it until all the glaze is absorbed*. *If you are mildly obsessive, as I am, this will be entirely too inefficient as a glaze delivery method. Please stand by for my method, below.
Okay, here’s what I do that is different:
**Please Note: I developed a scratch recipe for the cake, and for those who want it, I’ll send it to you in a PM, just let me know. To keep things simple, we’ll stick with the box mix for this post.
Assume the same settings for the required pan, oven temp, etc. Then:
Butterscotch Pecan Rum Cake
1/2 – 1 c. finely chopped pecans
1 box organic white cake mix (this is very easy for me to find – if it’s not easy for you to find, stick with Betty, or a scratch sponge recipe)
1 pkg. butterscotch instant pudding
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. pureed pumpkin (canned is fine!)
1/4 c. grapeseed or olive oil
1/2 c. dark rum (+ 1/4 c. extra, put aside)
Glaze recipe is the same, no changes.
HOWEVER: I do not pour it. That really doesn’t work if you are mildly obsessive, as I mentioned. Brush the cake generously with the glaze after poking it with hella-holes. Also, when I first remove the cake from the oven I pour that extra 1/4 c. of rum over it while it’s still in the pan and hot, and I let it sit for 10 minutes. THEN I turn it out onto the plate, poke the ever-lovin’ heck out of it, and brush the glaze on it obsessively, returning every hour or so to re-glaze, until the glaze is gone. This way, I can go about my day and just take three minutes to re-glaze it every hour or so and there’s a hell of a lot more glaze effectively soaked into the cake.
One other thing I do is keep a piece of non-stick foil handy to place over the cake in the last ten minutes of bake time, if I feel it is browning too aggressively.
Lemon Drop Variation
Zest of one lemon
1 box organic white cake mix
1 pkg. lemon instant pudding
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. grapeseed or olive oil
1/2 c. Grand Marnier (or Cointreau) + 1/4 c. extra, set aside
Make up the cake with all ingredients, keeping aside one heaping teaspoon of the lemon zest, for the glaze.
When the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle the extra Grand Marnier over the hot cake while still in the pan. Turn it out onto a plate after ten minutes. The glaze is the same as above, substituting vodka for rum and using that remaining teaspoon of lemon zest.
Okay. So – THEN – I have a soft gingerbread recipe that I have bastardized in so many ways over the years that it probably doesn’t know who its mommy is anymore. I saw no reason to avoid continuing this tradition. So, here is:
Ginger Whiskey Cake
1/2 – 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
1/4 c. brown sugar
^Sprinkle the nuts and brown sugar in the bottom of your greased bundt pan.
Dissolve 2 tsp. of baking soda in 1 c. boiled water, add 1 c. molasses (unsulfured) and set aside to cool. Then,
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. butterscotch instant pudding
1/4 c. pureed pumpkin
1/4 c. whiskey (+ 1/4 c. extra, put aside)
2 3/4 all purp. flour, or up to 3 c. cake flour.
Add in bkg. soda/water/molasses mixture and beat until smooth and creamy and the pudding mix is mildly activated.
Pour over nuts/sugar into bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes. When the cake comes out, drizzle extra whiskey over it while still hot and in pan. Ten minutes later turn it out, nuts up, and blah blah blah, you know the drill.
Glaze is the same, subbing whiskey for rum.
These cakes are tasty as soon as they’re cool, but truly, you will want to make them a day or more in advance (they keep well!) to let the alcohol bite dissipate a bit.
[Photos of cakes to follow soon!]
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, *hic*