Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Rum Cake ... 'tis the season to get MERRY!

I am pretty much in love with the Pioneer Woman Cooks website. First and foremost, the woman is funny. And most importantly, she makes some of the tastiest and most accessible recipes on the Internet. PW's philosophy on cooking is somewhat similar to mine - if it needs ingredients you cannot pronounce, chances are your loved ones won't eat it.

Ever since a friend gave me a taste of rum cake she had brought back from Jamaica a few years back, I've had this odd craving for rum cake. But it's not something that I've made - mostly because I don't have rum in the house, I used to live alone and even now that I live with Ryan - why make an entire cake? Luckily, Ryan and I had a dinner invite a couple weeks back and I got to polish off this gem of a cake. And man - it's everything a cake should be - decadent, moist and most importantly? Easy. This one will show up at future gatherings.

The Pioneer Woman’s Mother-in-Law’s Christmas Rum Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small package INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rum (dark or light is fine)
1 cup chopped pecans
Brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease and flour Bundt cake pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. If desired, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar over the nuts.  Mix all cake ingredients together.  Pour batter over nuts. Smooth out ’til the top is even.  Bake 1 hour, or a little less if the pan is black. Do not overbake!

While cake has ten minutes to go, make the glaze.
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup rum

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off flame and pour in rum. Stir to combine and reheat for 30 seconds.

Remove cake from oven. Immediately drizzle 1/3 of the glaze on the bottom (top) of the cake. Allow to sit for five minutes.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Prick surface a hundred times with a fork (gently, please.) Slowly drizzle remaining rum glaze all over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Cool to room temperature before serving to ensure glaze has soaked in.

Note: You will want to transfer this to another platter before taking out in public. The rum glaze is SUPER STRONG and taking the cake away from the glaze ends up being a good thing, otherwise the edges of the cake taste like a distillery. Also - if you have pets who like to jump up on the counter, make sure you take away the offending cake platter away so they do not sample the rum glaze. I'm just sayin' ...

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