It sounds simple enough, right? I’ll have a food blog. It merges two of my great loves: baking and photography. It will be fun and whimsical and people will chuckle as they read my posts. Then I started baking, and trying to take pictures while I was doing it. Of every step. It became obvious that while I love my kitchen, our life is hectic and my prep and baking areas are usually a mess. And speaking of messes, how about my hands? Nails half-painted and breaking off because of same said hectic life. Nobody wants to see that! Then it dawned on me that the only proper light for taking beautiful natural light photographs (during the day) does not usually correspond to when my hectic life allows for baking (usually late at night). So all these obstacles led me to some unique solutions: keep my kitchen cleaner (or use a small aperture so the mess in the looks like some kind of mod wallpaper in the background); keep my hands in better shape (or bribe friends with baked goods, iced coffee and swimming if they will come use their better looking hands for my shots); strategize a few baked items in a row so I can plan them more carefully and take advantage of natural light (there’s no fudging that). I do love this process; this food journey. Just need to put on my walking shoes to get over these little bumps in the road.
Moving on to the BIB. I’m not a very patient person. I decided to REstart this whole baking-my-way-through-Bouchon thing with scones that take two whole days to make. Perfect. So, while there is macerating and freezing going on (more on that later), Rum Cake is happening RIGHT NOW. Rum cake is some kind of wonderful. It’s not super-boozy, its just yummy and warm. Like a Hot Toddy, but not quite so strong that it makes you want to go to bed.
There are a couple things about this cake: butter (obscene amounts, really) and eggs (11 of my home-hatched beauties). There’s other stuff, mind you. Almond flour, Rum, of course. But if we’re talking high-volume ingredients, we’re talking butter and eggs. Because, just what you need when you’ve just started working out again after a 10-week hiatus due to a terrible ankle sprain and right before you go to Hawaii, is butter-laden cake.
Now, you maybe have noticed in some of my pictures my super awesome stovetop, which could only be made better by a griddle. Lest I sound ungrateful, I was sold on this 80’s kitchen by the stovetop alone. Which is great, because I also love to cook. But let’s be real, bakers use ovens. Period. In our old house in (cringe) suburbia, I had a magnificent convection oven, in which I could bake three sheets of cookies at once, no problem. Also (don’t tell Papa Murphy’s this), I baked TWO pizzas at once *GASP. You have not, however, seen this:
It’s the red-headed stepchild of my kitchen. Even the sadly yellow cabinets enjoy a higher station in kitchen life than this monstrosity. You may think it’s from the 50’s, but according to the home inspector, ovens looked like this well into the 80’s, when the previous owners built our house. So here it stands. It bakes unevenly. It’s always 6:15 in my kitchen. I store baking pans in the bottom oven because it burns everything. I can cook one thing at a time. But hey, I once spent six months with NO oven in my old house before magnificent convection beauty was installed, so I can handle this. I’m flexible.
So, bake to Rum Cake. First, BIB suggests using a cast iron bundt pan, which sounds dreamy. I have lots of cast iron, which I love dearly, but the array does not include a bundt pan. So, I used what I had. Here you will see the butter and sugar coated pan. I have mixed feelings about doing this. It was indeed pretty, but there was somewhat of a disaster upon disembarking the cake from the pan, which you will soon witness. I sheepishly admit this is most likely due to the fact that I did not apply an adequate layer of butter. But, this is a learning process and honestly, I am used to buttering and flouring a pan, not sugaring it. And, probably BIB suggests cast iron because it creates some kind of magic with the butter and sugar coating.
This Rum Cake, it was luscious from the start…
It was magnificent to behold straight out of the oven….
This cake gets a pretty little bath of Rum simple syrup. You know why they call simple syrup, simple? Because it is SO very simple. Equal amounts sugar dissolved in water. That’s it. Then you can add lemon juice if you fancy homemade lemonade concentrate, or Rum in the case of this cake. So while the cake was still warm and fragrant, it was bathed *and I mean BATHED, in rum simple syrup.
Alas, my funky metal bundt pan did not create the aforementioned butter and sugar magic. So, then there was this:
Obviously, it made absolutely no impact on the flavor, because right after it got drizzled with that rum simple syrup, it looked like this:
(did you notice the pretty towel I hung on the fridge? It’s totally crooked. Yay me.)
So as my tasters rolled their eyes in Rum Cake ecstasy I said, “Hey, this is supposed to have glaze!” They rolled their eyes again and were speechless. So I poured yet more rum, some powdered sugar, half and half and some vanilla paste (my own addition) into sweet bliss together in a bowl. This is what happened:
There was more eye rolling as I did this and then begging for more tastes. At which point, I had to bring in the big guns (daddy) and supply the necessary coffee he would need to wash down this baked beauty.
And the next day? There was this. But don’t worry, even the crumbs were scrubbed together with small fingers and consumed with much eye rolling.