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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition

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VOL. 37 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 03, 2013

Rum cake, without going to the islands

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O land of soft, fresh breezes

And verdant trees so fair,

With the Creator’s glory

Reflected ev’rywhere,

O sea of palest em’rald,

Merging to darkest blue,

Whene’er my thoughts fly Godward,

I always think of you.

-Cayman Island Anthem

The lyrics to the right are from the Cayman Island Anthem. My husband and I, along with some of his other family members, just returned from a trip in the Cayman Islands, where we attended his nephew’s “destination wedding.” What a great destination!

Tortuga Rum Cake

Cake batter:

2 cups of cake flour
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil


1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package of vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup of milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup of Whaler’s Vanilla Rum (Hawaiian-style rum)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Rum Soaking Glaze
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of Whaler’s Vanilla rum

Cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake batter ingredients. On low speed, combine the ingredients until the mix is the consistency of fine gravel, and all particles are about the same size.

Cake: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray a large Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the bottom. Place the cake batter mix, pudding, milk, eggs, rum, oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat on medium speed (if an electric mixer) for two to three minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through. Once the batter is very smooth, pour it into the Bundt pan. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the cake is fully golden and the tester comes out clean and the cake springs back. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack while making the soaking glaze.

Rum Soaking Glaze: Combine the butter, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring everything to a boil carefully, as this mixture boils over very easily. Reduce to a simmer and then cook until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup begins to thicken. Remove from the heat, add the rum, and then stir. Pour some of the hot syrup on top of the cake, allowing it time to soak in (this might take a few minutes, as there will be a lot of syrup). Continue to add syrup until all of it is gone. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before turning it out onto serving platter. This cake is delicate, so once it’s turned out, it cannot be moved around easily. It can be eaten when fully cool, but it’s even better the next day!

Neither of us had ever been to the Cayman Islands, so it was not only a fantastic time of celebrating the beachside wedding. It was fun seeing another beautiful part of the world.

The ocean in that part of the world is breathtaking. I never knew God created so many different colors of green and blue. As the song says, it begins as a pale emerald at your feet, merging into the deepest, most gorgeous shades of blue on the horizon. It is beautiful.

One of the excursions they had planned for us was a catamaran trip to Stingray Bay to swim with the stingrays. Good name, huh?

History says the stingrays would hear the sound of the pirate boats coming and gather around for scraps of food thrown overboard. Now tourist boats go there and feed them.

They have also become accustomed to the people swimming around and rubbing on them. A few young men in the crowd were stung, but not badly; more than likely, they were just too rowdy. Quite an amazing experience to say the least.

Anyway, one of the items in the gift bags the bride handed out was a small Tortuga Rum Cake. I had never heard of these, but soon learned that Tortuga rum is a specialty of the Caymans, as is the rum cake.

I was able to purchase a few to bring home to the office. And if anyone is wondering, I checked the rum content before handing them over. There is less than one percent after the cake is cooked, so no one will need a ride home from work after consuming them.

Plus, the boss won’t get mad at me for causing a “slowdown in production.” Since I live with “the boss,” that would not be pretty.

From what I have heard, you can’t purchase Tortuga Rum anywhere except in the Caribbean, so you’ll have to substitute in this recipe. Whaler’s Vanilla Rum is supposed be a close match. I guess if you’re a connoisseur of Tortuga Rum, or Tortuga rum cakes, you won’t know the difference, although I’m sure Caymanian folks would be quick to let me know that there’s no substitute. (I found this recipe online, not in a Cayman cookbook.)