Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes

Vanilla Pound Cake w/ Rum Syrup

Vanilla Poundcakes w/ Rum Syrup

In addition to the three kinds of cookies I made last night, I made two kinds of cake. This is another great recipe from Baking from my Home to Yours. It yields elegant cakes that are pretty difficult to mess up.

None of the recipes I made in the past two days require you to cream butter and sugar. I find the omission of this step makes baking seem much less intense.

Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours

For the cakes:
2 2/3 cups all purpose 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, (OR 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract)
6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tbsp dark rum
1 stick + 7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the syrup:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8.5x4.5x2.5 inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Put the sugar and the pulp from the vanilla beans, if using them, in a large bowl and, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of vanilla. (If you are using extract, add it later, after you've added the eggs.) Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract, if you're using it, then whisk in the cream, followed by the rum. Continuing with the whisk or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. (As soon as the cakes go into the oven, make the syrup.) After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color. If they are browning too much, cover them lightly with foil tents.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and, using a thin skewer, cake tester, or thin-bladed knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cake all over with the syrup, working slowly so the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.


Valerie Roberson said...

These look delicious! Great timing too--I was looking for an office goody to take :)

Brilynn said...

These are great with a little citrus zest too!

Dana said...

I've always wanted to make these -- they look great!

Anonymous said...

these came out so beautifully - your browned edges are perfectly peaked! Love the pictures, and I'll have to try these out soon. Skipping the creaming does make it seem much less intense.