This week’s Tuesday with Dorie baking choice was picked by Wendy of Pink Stripes. Or maybe the recipe picked her, since she simply flipped through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours book and page 226 fell open to reveal this beauty.
And oh what a pick it has been! There is no words in how good this cake is. Well, maybe there is because I'm going to tell you about it.
This cake is just the kind of cake I like - Simple, modest, quick and easy. But the best part? No waiting around for butter to soften!
Oh, wait; I have not mentioned how much I hate waiting for the butter to soften before?
Well I do.
Because I been spoiled. See, my previous rental house had a microwave with a setting called “soften”. This, Internet, is THE BEST setting in any kitchen appliance – TRUST ME. Press the button and voila – butter – soften! Cream cheese – soften! Ice Cream – Soften!
And that microwave and I had the perfect relationship for 4 years. Then I moved and had to go back to pre-historic times.
But this recipe is perfect in its simplicity and pretty straight forward. Measure everything, and start dumping it in a bowl and mix until everything is all nice and incorporated into a soft, creamy cake batter. I did not even break out the KA for this, but instead flexed my arms and used the good old whisk.
Told you – pre-historic times.
This cake has everything to make it a success. Vanilla bean seeds infused into the sugar. Heavy Cream, lots of eggs and dark rum in the cake and then because Dorie must understand the power that is liquor in baking – this cake is soaked in a rum based syrup which, in my opinion, elevated it from a simple heavy pound cake to a moist, soft-crumb cake worthy of all the praises is getting. Dorie also gives you variations of non-alcoholic syrup choices – but the final product does not taste very boozy at all.
The biggest tip I may give you is to wait for it. I made it on Sunday and waited until Monday to taste it and I greatly recommend it. The rum syrup has the time to soak thru the cake and the outer layer becomes a bit crusty with this hint of crystallized sugar giving it a crunch – perfection in every bite.
Excuse me, while I go and cut myself another piece.
And in the meantime here is the recipe, so you can go flex those arms and be rewarded for all that hard prehistoric workout.
Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Adapted from Baking… From My Home to Yours
For the Cakes
2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 ⅓ cups of sugar
2 plump, moist vanilla beans split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
⅔ cup of heavy cream
2 ½ tablespoons dark rum
1 stick plus 7 tablespoons (15 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Syrup
⅓ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8½ -x-4½ x 2½ - inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. (Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them.) 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 vanilla 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 are 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 to 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 quickly, 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-blade sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.
As always you can visit the TWD Baking group to read up on the other bakers takes of this exquisiteness.