Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rosie Makes A Rum Cake And A Citrusy Pound Cake.

Rosie received some wonderful scones, among other things, in a foodie Christmas basket from a Brother-In-Law Hawthorne. I'd never had scones before and I really liked these sweet, cake-like concoctions - so much so, that I wanted to re-create them. I turned to Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours. And I got side-tracked by a recipe she had for Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes. I am easily distracted. So I'm tabling the scones for later and making some really delicious vanilla cakes two ways - one is with the rum, the other is with lemon and orange. I figured the adults would enjoy the rum cakes and the Little Hawthornes would enjoy the citrus cakes. The texture of this cake is perfect - very similar to a Sara Lee pound cake in that respect. It has a very fine crumb - soft, even, and tightly knit. But this cake delivers a flavor that you could never get with Sara Lee or Sandra Lee for that matter.
The recipe below is Dorie's. Since I'm making two types of vanilla cakes, I'll be making a few adjustments.
Ingredients for Vanilla Cakes: 2 2/3 cup flour 2 1/2 tsp baking powder pinch of salt 2 1/3 cups sugar 2 plump, moist vanilla beans, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved 6 large eggs, at room temp 2/3 cup heavy cream 2 1/2 TB dark rum 1 stick plus 7 TB unsalted butter, melted For the Syrup: 1/3 cup water 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup dark rum Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans and dust with flour, shaking out excess. Rosie surprisingly doesn't own two loaf pans - only one - but she does have a bunch of aluminum 6 x 3 1/2-inch pans. So she's making the citrusy cake in the large loaf pan and two rum cakes in the smaller aluminum pans. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Put the sugar and pulp from the vanilla beans in a large bowl and, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of the vanilla. Add the eggs, whisking them into the sugar and beating until thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the cream. Here's where Rosie made a slight deviation. At this point, Dorie calls for the rum to be added. So Rosie halved the batter. I measured and had 4 cups of batter so I set aside 2 cups in another bowl for the citrus cake. I measured the sifted flour mixture - 2 1/2 cups and set aside 1 1/4 cups for the citrus cake. 15 tablespoons of butter is just shy of 1 cup, so halve that too. Back to the rum cake: Pour the rum into the batter. I used 1 TB of rum. (A little over half.) Gently stir in dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions. The batter will be thick and smooth. Finish by pouring in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour into pans, smoothing the tops. Bake 55 - 60 minutes until tester comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Stir water and sugar together in saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour in the rum. I used a half recipe of the rum syrup. Then I took the remaining 2 cups of batter, added in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of flour mixture, and the melted butter - just shy of 1/2 cup. I then added 1 TB fresh orange juice and 1 TB fresh lemon juice and the zest of 1 orange and and 1 lemon. When cakes are done, let cool on racks for 5 minutes before turning them right side up. Using a thin skewer, poke holes all over the rum cakes. Brush the rum syrup over the cakes, working slowly so the cakes sop it up. Let cool to room temperature.
Let's bake a cake, shall we?
Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. And that's not a dirty fingernail. It's vanilla seeds.
Add vanilla to sugar ...
... and rub with fingers to thoroughly mix.
Add eggs to sugar and vanilla, beating after each addition.
You know how I love my egg shots.
Add in cream. This is where I halved my batter.
Add in the rum.
I sifted my flour, baking powder, and salt and measured out half - 1 1/3 cups ...
... which I added to my batter.
I whipped in 1/2 the melted butter - just short 1/2 cup.
Spread the batter into two small loaf pans (3 1/2 x 6-inch) or one large pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch) and start on the other cake.
The remaining 1/2 of the batter goes back into the bowl. Zest a lemon and an orange then squeeze out 1 TB lemon juice and 1 TB orange juice.
Juice in. Fresh only, please.
Remaining 1 1/3 cups flour in.
Remaining butter in.
Zest in.
Pour into 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Spread evenly.
Into a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Until a tester comes out clean. While the cakes are baking, I prepared the rum syrup.
I'm halving the recipe. 1/6 cup water 1/8 cup sugar 1/8 cup dark rum Just eyeball it.
Stir the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Then bring the solution to a boil.
Remove from heat and pour in the rum.
Cool about 5 minutes in pan before turning out onto wire racks.
Poke holes with a skewer and slowly brush rum syrup over top.
Little rum cake on the left. Citrus cake on the right.
I loved the texture - tiny, compact crumb and the slices are both firm and supple.
As I said earlier, the rum cakes were supposed to be for Mr. Hawthorne and me, and the citrus cake was for the Little Hawthornes. Didn't work out that way. I think Middle Hawthorne ate an entire rum cake that night. He might have had help, but I didn't see it. The second rum cake was gone by morning. I think I had one bite. The citrus cake was excellent as well.
If you ever need a superior pound cake recipe, this is it.


Marilyn said...

Did you put the vanilla pod in a closed container of sugar afterwards and label it "Vanilla Sugar", Rosie? I have a jar of that in my pantry. Of course, it would help if I actually remembered I have it in there.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

One of these days, Mar, Imonna bite the bullet and buy the "good vanilla" and the "good vodka" and make vanilla sugar and vanilla extract.