Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rum cake



One of the things that I've enjoyed the most about my blogging experience are the friends I've made along the way. Although I haven't met many other bloggers in person, I feel like I already know them, or that they (and you all) know me. Liz and I "met" in our shared online cooking forum but hadn't interacted much until I left her a comment about the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies she posted this spring. Liz found the recipe from Thomas Keller's cookbook, Bouchon Bakery, and I mentioned how much I loved that particular cookie. I suggested that we bake something else from the cookbook together and thought nothing of it.

Well, Liz read my comment and followed up with me a short while later. We bookmarked our favorite recipes from the cookbook and hard a difficult time deciding what to bake together. We finally settled on Chef Keller's rum cake. Rum cake has been on my baking bucket list so this was a wonderful opportunity to finally cross it off.

I am embarrassed to say that I had to make this rum cake twice. The first time was an utter fail because the cake was severely underbaked.The tops were nice and browned, and the cake was pulling away from the edges of my tube pan. But, I did not conduct the essential toothpick test to see if the middle was done. When I went to flip my cake over onto the cake platter, it was a hot mess - literally.

I learned my lesson and stuck a chopstick in the middle of my second attempt at the cake to ensure that the inside was done. I didn't want the cake to get overly brown, so I turned off the oven and left the cake inside for about 10-15 additional minutes.

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from this rum cake since the most memorable version I've had is a Tortuga rum cake from the Caribbean. Chef Keller's recipe, while good, was nothing like the Tortuga cake. The almond meal was a bit gritty for my personal tastes, and the cake just felt a bit heavy. I guess that's what happens when you use 9 large eggs and 5 sticks of butter.

All in all, this cake was good and full of the dark rum flavor, but the texture was off for me. It was too dense and grainy for my personal tastes. I'd like to make another rum cake that's more reminiscent of the Tortuga ones that I enjoy so much.

Thanks, Liz, for baking this rum cake with me. Please check out Liz's post and see how her rum cake turned out.

Rum cake
  • 16.5 ounces unsalted butter (about 4 sticks and 2 TBSP), plus additional for the pan
  • 2 and 3/4 cups plus 1 TBSP granulated sugar, plus more for the pan
  • 4 cups and 3 TBSP almond flour or almond meal (you can find this at Trader Joe's)
  • 1 cup and 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups and 3 TBSP eggs (about 9 large eggs)
  • 1/3 cup and 3 TBSP Myers's dark rum, separated
  • 3 TBSP simple syrup (melt 3 TBSP granulated sugar plus 3 TBSP water until sugar completely dissolves; cool until ready to use)
Rum icing
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP Myers's dark rum
  • 1 TBSP water

Directions
To make the cake:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush your Bundt or tube pan with butter. Refrigerate or freeze the pan in order to harden the butter. Once the butter has hardened, sprinkle sugar around the inside of the pan and turn the pan around in circles so the sugar evenly coats the surface. Tap out and remove any excess sugar.

In the bowl of a food processor or a high powered blender, pulse the almond flour/meal in order to break up any large clumps. Add the all-purpose flour and pulse again to evenly combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Turn the mixer down to low and add about a third of the eggs (about 3 eggs) and mix until just combined (about 30 seconds). Add half of the remaining eggs and mix for another 30 seconds. Add the last of the eggs and mix for another 10 seconds. Your mixture may look curdled - do NOT overbeat the eggs.

Continuing with the mixer on low speed, add the flour/almond meal mixture one-third at a time. Be sure to stop the mixer in order to scrape down the bowl as needed.

Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and beat in the 1/3 cup of dark rum until combined. Add this rum batter back into the main batter and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into your prepared pan into an even layer. You may need to rap the pan on the counter a few times in order to evenly distribute the batter.

Bake the cake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Turn off the oven and set the pan on a rack and cool for at least 10 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, mix the simple syrup with the remaining 3 TBSP of dark rum. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and brush the cake with the rum/simple syrup mixture. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

To make the rum icing: In a small to medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, water and rum until you achieve a pourable (but not too runny) consistency. Pour the icing over the cooled cake.

Yield: One standard tube or Bundt cake; about 12 servings (more or less depending upon how large you like your slices)

Source: Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, pages 106-107

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