Rum Cake

Monday, February 15, 2010

During the summers of my childhood, we would spend eight weeks living with my dad in Virginia. I have so many memories of summer days gone by--in my grandparents' pool, playing with my cousins at their house, running around in the sweltering heat, and trips to Virginia Beach.

Other things I remember have to do with special treats--sneaking cookies out of the jar in Mema's kitchen, going to the "Sugar Shack" for icee drinks, begging to go to Country Cookin' for dinner, and eating frozen Twinkies given to us by Grandaddy.

But one particular treat had been long forgotten, until recently. I got a bundt cake pan for Christmas, and suddenly, it hit me that I really wanted rum cake. The same rum cake that used to magically appear at my dad's house every once in a while, and was quickly devoured.

I called my dad and asked him if he had the recipe. I remember, in years past, seeing it hanging on his refrigerator. He said that he didn't have it anymore, but that it was Grandad who used to make it all the time. So I called up my sweet, southern grandparents and my Mema gave me her specific instructions over the phone.

Rum cake was to be had!

And as it turned out, it was to be had very easily. To my surprise, this is actually a doctored cake mix. Score! It came together extremely quickly and made a perfect birthday treat for the celebration of Michael's birthday this past weekend.

I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at how much it tastes like rum. The strongest rum taste definitely comes from the "glaze" portion of the recipe. From when I was a child, I don't remember the cake having quite that strong of a flavor to it. I figure that 1) I was too young to know what rum tasted like, so I was just oblivious to the flavor, or 2) my grandparents may have made the cakes without the glaze when they made them for us.

The glaze, which gets completely absorbed into the cake, helps make the cake extremely moist and delicious. However, for a more subtle flavor, I might try the cake without the glaze next time, just to see if it more closely resembles what I remember from all those years ago. I do encourage you to try it with the glaze, though--I think you'll find that this is unlike any cake you've ever had before! :) We gobbled up a good portion of the cake after dinner at my in-laws'.

Alright, enough talk.

Rum Cake
(Source: My Grandparents)

For Cake:
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 box vanilla instant pudding
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rum
- 1/2 cup oil
- 3 large eggs (or 4 smaller ones)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For Glaze:
- 1 stick butter or margarine
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. (For greasing and flouring, I usually use nonstick spray and then lightly coat with flour. For this, I broke out the shortening because I didn't want to take any chances. Use butter or shortening to liberally grease all of the nooks and crannies in the pan, then flour well.)

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, rum, oil, and eggs. Beat together for two minutes.

3. If using the chopped pecans, pour them into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Spread them evenly along the bottom of the pan.

4. Pour cake batter into pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 55-60 minutes.

5. During the last few minutes of baking, start your glaze. Melt the butter/margarine in a small saucepan over high heat. Once melted, add sugar, rum, and water. Stirring the mixture often, dissolve the sugar and bring everything to a boil. Boil for approximately 5-6 minutes.

6. Once cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the pan. While the cake is still warm/hot, poke holes into the cake (I used a skewer). Remove hot glaze from the stove and pour it evenly over the cake in the pan. You'll see the glaze collect in the sides of the pan.

7. Let glazed cake cool for 30 minutes. At this time, the glaze should be completely absorbed into the cake. Turn cake out onto serving dish. Keep covered until serving.


L. M.,  February 18, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

I'm West Indian and when my family makes rum cake, it tastes like a whole bottle of rum was poured in! Needless to say, I've never liked it, but your recipe seems like it'll be a good fit for me! Thanks! I'll be trying this over the weekend :)

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