Rum Cake

By Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel
From Bouchon Bakery

If you have a traditional cast-iron Bundt pan, this is the time to use it. These older pans, as well as newer pans marked “Original Bundt” or “Anniversary Bundt,” with a 15-cup capacity, are what this recipe is made for. However, if you only have a smaller Bundt pan, it will work; just leave a 1⁄2-inch space at the top of the pan when filling it with batter, and bake the cake for slightly less time (if you like, you can bake the excess batter in a muffin pan, checking for doneness after 30 minutes or so).

This is one of Sebastien’s favorite treats: a cake he has during trips to the Cayman Islands, where it’s called Tortuga cake.

You’ll need a 15-cup (10½-inch) Bundt pan. Baking in a convection oven gives the cake a better crumb (but a standard oven yields fantastic results as well). Serves 10 to 12

16.5 ounces (468 grams) Unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for the pan
2 ¾ cups + 1 tablespoon (562 grams) Granulated sugar, plus additional for the pan
4 cups + 3 tablespoons (468 grams) Almond flour/meal
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150 grams) All-purpose flour
2 cups + 3 tablespoons (562 grams) Eggs
1/3 cup (75 grams) Myer’s dark rum
3 tablespoons (50 grams) Myer’s dark rum
3 tablespoons (50 grams) Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Rum Icing (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325°F (convection) or 350°F (standard). Brush the Bundt pan with butter. Refrigerate or freeze the pan to harden the butter (this will make it much easier to coat the pan with an even layer of sugar).

Add a large spoonful of sugar to the pan and rotate and tap the pan to cover the surface evenly. Invert the pan and tap lightly to remove any excess sugar.

Place the almond flour in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times to break up any larger clumps. Pour the almond flour into a large bowl and run it through your fingers to be certain that there are no remaining lumps. Add the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter, warming the bowl if needed, until it has the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Add the sugar and mix, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, for about 7 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer to low speed, slowly add about one-third of the eggs, and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl again. Add half the remaining eggs and mix to combine, then scrape the bowl again, add the remaining eggs, and mix for another 10 seconds. The mixture may look broken, which is fine (overwhipping the eggs could cause the cake to expand too much during baking and then deflate).

On low speed, add the flour mixture one-third at a time, mixing for about 15 seconds after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have settled there.

Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and stir in the 75 grams/1/3 cup rum until combined. Fold into the remaining batter, combining it thoroughly (the texture of the batter may not be smooth).

With a spatula, gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the bottom of the pan against the work surface and rotate it back and forth to distribute the batter evenly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes in a convection oven, 65 to 70 minutes in a standard oven, until the cake is golden brown (the color may be somewhat darker if you’re not using a cast-iron pan) and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes.

Mix the remaining 50 grams/3 tablespoons rum with the simple syrup. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and unmold the cake onto it. Cool for about 10 minutes, then brush the cake evenly with the rum mixture. Let cool completely.

To glaze the cake: Using a pastry brush, drizzle the rum icing over the top of the cake; or spoon it over the cake for more coverage, letting it run down the sides. (You may not use all of the icing.)

The cake is best made a day ahead (store in a covered container at room temperature); it will keep well for up to 3 days.

Rum Icing:
Makes 2/3 cup (200 grams)
1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (180 grams) Powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) Myers’s dark rum
1 tablespoon (15 grams) Water

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Stir in the rum and water until smooth. The icing should be used immediately.

Simple Syrup:
½ cup (100 grams) Granulated Sugar
½ cup (117 grams) Water

Simple Syrup is basically equal parts sugar and water, simmered just to dissolve the sugar. We flavor it with rum to brush on the Rum Cake. You can use it to make fondant more pliable. Or plump dried fruit in it. Think of simple syrup as a tool.

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator. The syrup keeps indefinitely.

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Excerpted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan Books) with permission from the publisher. Copyright © 2012.