Little known fact about me...I've never been drunk. No, not even in college. Not because I don't drink at all; I'll have a glass of wine (very rarely two), pint of cider (the alcoholic version) or the occasional mixed drink, but that's it. (Just not a beer drinker--I keep sampling, but none of them appeal to me.) It's a control thing with me, as in, I'm just not willing to give it up. And nowadays, more than one glass of anything just puts me to sleep. =) Funny thing is, thanks to all the cooking and baking I do, I actually have a fairly well-stocked liquor cabinet. Vodka, rum, bourbon, scotch, port, sherry, apple and raspberry brandies... all purchased in the name of food. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. =)
I'd have to say, though, that my favorite is rum. I have two bottles of that--one light and one dark. The light one mostly makes its way into fruity drinks. (Handy tip--if you take some of this tasty berry sorbet I made a few weeks ago, and add some light rum and a little lime juice, you have yourself a very tasty frozen drink.) The dark rum mostly makes its way into desserts, often those involving chocolate. This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe actually caused me to buy a new bottle of dark rum, since the old one was pretty much empty. So thank you to this week's hostess, Wendy of Pink Stripes, who picked Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes for us to make. Now what's not to like about a recipe with a title like that? =)
This was a pretty easy cake to make. I didn't realize until I pulled out my book to make it that it actually uses melted butter. So no creaming, and no having to remember to take butter out to soften. There are several variations, but I went with the original, which uses vanilla beans for flavor. I couldn't decide between my Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans, so I used one of each. I love Dorie's method of rubbing aromatic ingredients into granulated sugar to maximize flavor (and now have done it with many recipes, not just hers). The mixing method for this recipe is interesting. First you whisk together the vanilla sugar and eggs, then mix in some rum and heavy cream. Next up are the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder), and the melted butter gets whisked in at the end. Then the batter goes into a couple of loaf pans to be baked. For a change, I actually remembered to lower the oven temperature to 325F (from 350F) since I was using Pyrex pans. My loaves baked for 55 minutes and were a lovely golden brown when I took them out. I did make a small change with the syrup that I brushed on the warm cakes--I used turbinado sugar rather than regular granulated. I figured it would pair nicely with the molasses notes in the dark rum.
The verdict? I absolutely loved this cake! And I will be making it again, soon. The rum and vanilla really work well together. You can certainly taste the rum from the syrup, but it's not overpowering. I took most of one loaf to G's daycare teachers, and I understand that it didn't last very long at all. =) It certainly didn't take us long to finish off the other loaf (though I did share a few pieces at work). I'm thinking of making it again this weekend for a 4th of July party that we're going to. I'd like to try it as a bundt cake, rather than two loaves.
If you'd like to make it for yourself, head over to Wendy's blog for the recipe. And be sure to check out this week's Leave Your Links page to see what everyone else thought.