Greg isn’t that big on sweets, but he has a few favorites. He loves macaroons, a small slice of ricotta cheesecake, a bit of tiramisu and of course biscotti. His mom also makes a rum cake that’s a family favorite.
This year I made a rum cake the day before his birthday. I used some guidelines in Michael Ruhlman’s brilliant Ratio to create the cake and stuck with the glaze Greg’s mom uses. On the day itself, I normally grill up some steaks and fancy up potatoes. Last year, I made a chilled soup and there was a freak snowstorm. That’s what we call any snowstorm down here. This year I took him to his favorite restaurant to celebrate.
While the cake was delicious, I’m determined to make it a bit more rummy and we’re not talking the card game I always beat Greg at. Instead of using a bundt pan, I will cook it in a springform pan and cut the cake in half, glazing the top of both halves and then sealing it with more glaze or the topping Greg’s mom uses. (I’ve included it and have made it this way, as Greg’s mom does, with a different cake base in the past.) Other suggestions are welcome too. I’ll keep you posted. By Greg’s next birthday it has to be not just delicious, but perfect.
Rum Cake No. 1
- 4 eggs plus 1 yolk at room temperature
- 8 ounces sugar (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 8 ounces flour (about 1 3/4 cup), sifted
- 4 ounces butter, melted
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp apricot nectar
- 1/4 cup ground amaretti cookies (optional)
Grease a bundt pan or springform pan and set aside. In a stand mixer on medium high, beat eggs, yolk, sugar, salt and almond extract until the mixture triples in volume, a few minutes. Remove from the mixer and fold in flour. Fold in butter and remaining ingredients. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Use a toothpick to poke holes around the top of the cake or if using a springform cut cake in half and poke holes in the top of each half.
For apricot glaze
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup apricot nectar
- 1//4 cup rum
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- pint heavy cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
Cook sugar and nectar on low heat until sugar dissolves. Mix cornstarch and water and add to mix. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in rum. Brush glaze over bundt cake. If using a springform pan, Spread half the apricot glaze over the top of each cake. In the meantime, beat cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Brush over the top of the bottom cake. Place the top half on and ice the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with shaved chocolate and almond slivers.