I really like cake and one recent Thursday evening I think I found ‘the one’.
On a holiday to the Caribbean as a child I discovered Tortuga rum cake. It made a big impression at the time and upon my request, my parents recently brought one back from the Caribbean with them. It did not disappoint; it was one of the yummiest- and certainly most moist- cakes I had ever tasted. I feverishly set about finding a recipe for it online. I settled upon an allrecipes.com version of it (see link below). Although there is a significant rum cake fan-base on the web, it seems to be exclusively American. I couldn’t find a single UK site with any mention of it, let alone a recipe. I feel very up in arms about this.
I felt sure that I would not be able to create a good homemade version of this wonderful cake. I was right: the homemade cake wasn’t just good, it was spectacular. I think it might be my favourite cake ever, and that is bold statement.
The recipe is fantastic and very easy to make (not least because it involves a bit of ‘magic”). Could I make Caribbean rum cake without using American cake mix as a main ingredient? Probably. Would it be as good? Almost certainly not.
Essentially, the recipe gets you to blend a packet mix with four other ingredients (one being lots of rum, unsurprisingly).
I ordered the American ingredients cheaply from UK suppliers on Amazon.co.uk and now intend to amass a huge stockpile of the stuff. Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker are the brands of choice.
Although the recipe calls for ‘yellow’ cake mix, the cake would also be fabulous made with the manufacturer’s other flavours- coconut and banana are on my hit list.
I used pecan nuts for the topping instead of walnuts, and milk instead of water to make it a bit richer. Both worked well. The cake is perfect by itself but would also make a brilliant, grown up dessert- perhaps with rum and raisin ice cream. You could also try making miniature bundt cakes with the mixture.
The possibilities are endless. It just so happens that I was recently given a big bottle of rum. I think this one was meant to be.
Top tip: when you take the cake out of the oven, leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Instead of then inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool and glaze, loosen the sides of the cake from the tin with a palette knife and pour the glaze directly around the edges and over the cake. This makes it really easy to get the cake out of the tin. Leave for about half an hour before inverting onto a plate. Then continue to brush on any remaining glaze untiI there is none left.
The cake keeps for days but doesn’t seem to freeze properly- I think because of the sheer volume of delicious rum that goes into it!