There are so many symbols associated with christmas: xmas trees, snow, santa claus, cheerily wrapped gifts, candles and plenty of food. In my mind, rum cakes are irrevocably associated with this holiday. Growing up, I remember my parents’ friends coming over every christmas eve with homemade wine and a dark, flavorful cake that we looked forward to so eagerly! I decided this year to try my hand at this cake and although it didn’t taste exactly the same as the ones from my childhood, it was still super tasty.
My recipe is loosely adapted from here.
To Soak – upto 2 weeks in advance. I only soaked it for 3 days, but it tasted good anyway
- Dark rum – 3/4 cup (I used Captain Morgan spiced rum)
- Chopped dry fruits – 1/2 cup (I used raisins, cherries and cashews. You could also add dry cranberries, apricots, etc.)
You can add more rum if it all gets soaked up. A little extra booze can’t hurt 😉
For caramel syrup
- Granulated sugar – 1/4 cup
- Water – 1 tbsp
- Hot water – 1/4 cup
For the cake
- Whole wheat flour – 1 cup + 1 tbsp
- Baking powder – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Spices, crushed – Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, dry ginger – 1/4 tsp each (you could also use off-the-shelf allspice)
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- Olive oil – 1/2 cup
- Granulated sugar – 1 cup
- Eggs – 2
- Lemon zest – 1/2 tsp
- Milk – 1/4 cup
- Tutti frutti – 1/4 cup
- In a thick bottomed pan, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp water and set on med-hi heat
- Stir constantly till the sugar melts and begins to caramelize. Continue till the caramel turns a dark brown color. Be careful not to burn the sugar.
- Take the pan off the heat and add 1/4 cup of hot water and stir well. The mixture bubbles and spatters at this point, so it helps to wear oven mitts for this step.
Note: My cake is light colored because i didn’t cook the caramel long enough. I plan to try that the next time. Also, using brown sugar might add more flavor here.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and spices and set aside
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs until pale.
- Mix the lemon zest with the sugar to release maximum flavor and allow it to spread throughout the cake
- Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy
- Add the olive oil and vanilla
- Alternately add the flour mixture and milk in 3 parts (starting and ending with the flour)
- Strain the soaked dry fruits and reserve the fluid (this will later be used to brush the cake)
- Dust the strained dry fruit and tutti frutti with the remaining 1tbsp of flour to ensure they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake during baking
- Add the caramel syrup, dry fruits and tutti frutti to the cake batter and stir gently with a spatula
- Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Approx 40 minutes.
- While the cake is still warm, using a pastry brush, brush the top of the cake with the rum strained from the soaked dry fruit. The cake will absorb the rum. Let the cake cool down a bit and invert the cake on to a plate. Let the cake cool completely and store in an airtight container. You can continue brushing the cake with rum over the next few days to keep it moist.