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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Almost Tortuga Rum Cake

There is a famous story in my family about a little girl on vacation at Disney eating rum cake after dinner and getting a little bit funny afterwards.  Hilarious according to my family.  Said little girl had always been pretty small and skinny, so I suppose if a normal 7 year old has absolutely 0 tolerance for rum cake, then this 7 year old had even less.  Said little girl will never, ever live this down.  Sighhh.  Well, for some reason it just dawned on this all grown up little girl to make her own rum cake. Now that I'm tasting it as an adult, I can kind of see how a young bean sprout would get a little silly after eating some.

This recipe is called Almost Tortuga Rum Cake, inspired by those oh so common rum cakes in a can you find at every store in the Caribbean.  I've never had one of those so I can't verify if it is almost Tortuga-y or not, but I can say it was absolutely delicious.  The rum flavor is pretty strong, so if you're not a fan this may not be the cake for you.  However, you can always use less of the glaze the recipe calls for to avoid the strong rum flavor.  The only downside to this is that it uses a vanilla instant pudding in the mix.  Maybe one day I'll get around to trying a completely from scratch version.

Almost Tortuga Rum Cake, adapted from
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup butter, room temp and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 (3 1/2) ounce package of vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup rum*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Rum Soaking Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup rum *
(*the recipe called for whaler vanilla Hawaiian style rum but I used Pyrat Rum)

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray a 12 cup bundt an with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil.  On low speed combine ingredients until the mix consistency resembles peas (or smaller) and all the pieces are the same size.  
Then, add pudding, milk, eggs, rum, the rest of the oil and vanilla and combine on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl halfway through.  Batter should be very smooth.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until fully golden, cake tester comes out clean and cake springs back when touched.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack, still in the pan, while you prepare the rum glaze.

To make the glaze:
Combine butter, water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil carefully as mixture can boil over easily.  
Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolve and syrup thickens a bit.  Remove from the heat and add the rum.  Stir to combine.
While the cake is still cooling, pour some of the hot glaze on the cake, allowing it time to soak in (make take a few minutes).  Continue to add syrup until most or all of the syrup is added*.  Allow cake to cool completely in pan before turning out onto serving platter.  

*Use the glaze to suit your tastes.  I wound up using about 3/4 of the glaze that I prepared.  It really made a lot and I didn't feel it really needed all of it.  I used about 1/2 of the glaze when the cake was still in the pan, and use more on top after it has been turned out onto a serving platter.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bailey's Brownies with Irish Whiskey Ganache

It is not very often I bake boozy treats.  But this past St. Patrick's Day (I know, it's July, I'm a little late in posting this!) I planned ahead and got the ingredients for these Bailey's Brownies with Irish Whiskey Ganache and I am glad I did.  These were super rich and chocolatey and were thoroughly enjoyed by all.  The brownies have a splash of Bailey's with Caramel mixed into the batter, and the whole thing is topped off with a layer of rich Jameson Irish Whiskey chocolate ganache.  The alcohol taste is not very strong at all, in fact, it kind of just bakes away and leaves a deep, rich flavor. 

Bailey's Brownies with Irish Whiskey Ganache adapted from How Sweet It Is
Ingredients for the Brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Bailey's with Caramel Liqueur

Preheat to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper (this parchment paper!) and grease the sides.
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, combine butter and chocolate to melt.  When melted, transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat on medium.  Add in sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add in eggs, beating after each addition.  Add flour and stir just until combined.  Stir in Bailey's.
Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.  Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients for the Jameson Irish Whiskey Ganache: adapted from Brown Eyed Baked
8 oz bittersweet chocolate 
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 teaspoons Jameson Irish Whiskey

Finely chop the chocolate and transfer to a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan until it just begins to simmer and pour over the chocolate.  Allow to sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth.  Add butter and whiskey and stir until combined.  Let ganache cool until it reaches the desired consistency (you want it to be soft enough to be spread with an offset spatula, but not super runny).  Spread evenly over cooled brownies with an offset spatula.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Club Baked: Malted Waffles... a flop

If you were to go out to eat for breakfast, what are you are most likely to order?  For my husband Daniel, 99% of the time it'd be belgian waffles.  We've even made them at home quite a bit with lots of different recipes.  So I guess you could say he's a bit of a waffle connoisseur.  

These waffles... just didn't turn out so great.  But I know it is most likely a result of my own doing... I cheated!  Instead of being un-lazy and making the drive to the grocery store that is a little bit further away where they carry buttermilk, I was lazy and subbed milk + buttermilk powder.  I know the substitution usually works out when it is in a baked good, and I did have my concerns using it in this type of batter.  Alas, I used it anyway.  As a result, my waffles didn't get puffy and were actually quite thin and floppy.  But I don't blame the recipe!

The taste however was still very good.  And the floppiness didn't stop us from eating the whole thing.  I will have to try this again when I have real buttermilk on hand.  To see the recipe, visit Teri's blog, The Freshman Cook.  To see how these waffles turned out for other Club Baked Bakers, click here (they probably followed the recipe and didn't cheat like me!)


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