Saturday, December 23, 2017
King Arthur Flour: Caribbean Rum Cake
I have wanted to make this cake for quite a long time, but I could never quite get over the fact that it normally calls for a boxed cake mix, in addition to the instant pudding mix. That's a lot of processed food in one dish. Luckily I found this recipe that at least cuts out the boxed cake mix. There are other ways of substituting for the pudding mix, but apparently none of them quite replicate the tender texture of this version. A necessary evil. Like red food coloring in a red velvet cake. After soaking in rum syrup, this cake is so fantastically moist, it can probably be stretched for a week, but I honestly don't think it will last that long.
Note: I used Captain Morgan's spiced rum, and it was delicious. I couldn't find butter-rum flavoring on short notice, so I just added some butter extract instead.
Caribbean Rum Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup milk, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup rum, plain or spiced
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon butter-rum flavor (optional)
¼ cup pecan flour, for dusting baking pan (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup rum, plain or spiced
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, salt, butter, and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl, and mix at medium speed until everything is thoroughly combined and the mixture is sandy looking. Beat in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl thoroughly, and beat briefly to recombine any sticky residue. Stir in the rum, vanilla, and butter-rum flavor.
Spritz a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. For an extra layer of nutty flavor, sprinkle the inside of the pan with pecan flour and turn the pan to coat evenly; shake out any excess. Carefully mound the chopped pecans in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the batter over the pecans and spread level with a spatula.
Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes. When done, a cake tester, long toothpick, or strand of uncooked spaghetti will come out clean when inserted into the center. Remove the cake from the oven. Leave the cake in the pan to cool slightly while you make the syrup.
In a medium-sized saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, except vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook (without stirring) for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about ¼ cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.
Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and soak in the syrup. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake and invert onto your serving plate. If the cake won’t release, don't force it. Place it in the oven, turn the oven to 350°F, and warm for about 10 minutes, to soften the sticky syrup. (If your oven is one that preheats by making its upper element red-hot, place the cake on a lower rack and tent it with aluminum foil to protect it.) Remove the cake from the oven, and tip it onto the serving plate. Serve with hot coffee or tea. The cake is very moist, fragrant and potent. Wrap securely (or place under a cake cover) and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.