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Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Almost" Tortuga Rum Cake

Last year, my brother, Chris, and his family went on a family vacation cruise to the Caribbean.  They brought me back two very interesting things, two things I've heard legend of for many, many year: Tortuga rum cake and Tortuga rum.  The former is FAMOUS, world-wide as a secret, age-old family recipe from the Tortuga Rum Company in the Cayman Islands.  Their rum cake was delicious!  (shhhhh...I ate the mini size in one sitting, it was a generous dessert portion...)  And, their rum cake is make with a special "premium five-year old, oak barrel aged Tortuga Gold Rum," which is NOT available to the public.  Nor is that damn recipe!  :(  Here is a shot of their product, I'm sure you've seen these boxes in fancy culinary stores.

My version on my new cake stand!

I knew I wanted to make rum cake some day with my Tortuga Rum, but needed to do some research and wait for the right time.  I can only bake so much booze-infused goodies...I found this recipe and used 1/2 Tortuga Rum and 1/2 Myers Dark Rum AND added vanilla bean paste into every step.  I only owned Bacardi, and well, I wanted something special for this cake.  Needed to try it first, just to make sure, before I made one for Chris and Katie, my SIL.  I must say, this cake was so moist and rich and yummy and boozy!  All the key essentials to a successful BIWB experience.  

So, here's the step-by-step: 

First, spray the tube pan with PAM and sprinkle the nuts on the bottom.   

This cake uses the "fat and flour" method.  Basically, you add the fat to the dry ingredients and whirl it around in your KitchenAid until it looks like "fine gravel," like this: 

This is by far the best close up shot I've had so far.
You can really see the texture. 
I put the this mixture in a smaller bowl for the frig while I pulled together the pudding and wet ingredients.  I had to reuse my mixer bowl for this recipe...I could really use that extra mixer bowl for Xmas this year!  This cake recipe uses a box of pudding.  I have used pudding in the past with cake mixes, but never from "scratch." 

I think next time I will use coconut cream pudding.  Tortuga has coconut and banana versions of their cakes, so why shouldn't I?  :)  And, to be honest, I goofed and should have just thrown the dry pudding and all the wet ingredients into the bowl in one step, but I wasn't reading carefully.  Here are a few shots of the finished batter and in the pan: your batter should be smooth and silky.  Great flavor, too, if you want to sneak a taste. 

Pop that baby in the oven and and start getting the luscious "soaking sauce" ingredients ready.

This is what the cake looked like out of the oven, so golden brown and very springy to the touch: all good signs.
So, back to that soaking sauce that's been wait for your attention.  Bring this baby to a boil and quickly, I MEAN QUICKLY, turn it down to a simmer until you feel all the sugar dissolve and the color becomes golden.  If you don't watch this your sauce with runneth over and make for a very dangerous situation with hot sugar all over.  This is basically what you're looking for on the slow simmer:
Please notice the Hearts on my spatula...Ah...

 Take it off the heat and add the rum.  Best to do this away from the stove since you put 1/2 a cup of booze in there.  Luscious and smooth...I poured it into a measuring cup for ease of pouring into your still-hot, but cooling, cake.  It's kinda like making risotto: more liquid in the first pour, let it soak in, and then add smaller amounts.  It's very important to not rush this step, slow and steady.  Need to let it take it's time soaking in, cuz there is a lot of cake. 

Cool complete and I mean COMPLETELY.  I chose to leave it in the pan for 24 hours.  Yep, 24 hours.  I had to wait for my fancy new cake stand to arrive.  I found it at Bake It Pretty, the way-cool baking supply website I recently stumbled upon.  I knew it was arriving on Monday afternoon, so I had to wait anyway.  And, I had read that this cake very, very delicate and transferring would be problematic.  I needed the stand to "stage" the blog shots.  Really getting into these staged shots...

Viola!  The finished rum cake, even have a nice picture of the first slice. Came out like a dream!

Subsequent days later this cake just got more moist and rich.  The texture tightened up as well.  A sweet booziness was dead-on, probably the first statement from folks in the office.  I even had one work buddy who NEVER eats sweets, let alone eats between meals, taste a piece.  I was honored that Charles sampled my cake.  :)

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  1. Your cake looks delicious. I love the comparison to making risotto! That makes it really easy to understand the process.

  2. Another yummy post! I will have to try this recipe sometime. I think my parents would enjoy it! :)

  3. Yummy for the Tummy! . . .


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