Dorie Greenspan’s Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes

Considering the success of the first Dorie Greenspan cake, I decided that my next bring-to-work culinary creation would be the other DG recipe in the book. Rum-drenched vanilla cake sounds pretty nice. I like rum- my mixed drink of choice is a Cuba Libre (that is, rum and coke with a lime)- but obviously this is a bit different.

Yet another cake that doesn’t require my mixer. I’m kind sad about that- I like using my mixer! But it’s nice not to have to lug it out from the storage space (there isn’t enough counter space for it to always be out, so it lives under my desk) every once in a while. The Swedish Visiting Cake didn’t require a mixer either- it was pretty simple, and this was no different. Dorie’s cakes seem to be simple and scrumptious; very easy to make and have a nice twist of flavor.

Sugar + one egg

There are a lot of eggs in this cake (six). You beat them in one by one, and the egg-sugar mixture gets bigger and thinner and more yellow. I’ve also decided I’m never using the bowls I used here again for a Cake Project cake. Not because they’re bad or anything, but they’re horrible for taking pictures! I wish I had plain white bowls (and plates), but unfortunately I don’t.

Vanilla swirl in the sugar-and-lots-of-egg mixture.

There’s also 1.5 tablespoons vanilla extract in this cake. Which makes sense, considering it’s vanilla cake. I somehow thought there would be more, but that’s really enough. Apparently in Dorie’s original recipe she has you rub the pulp of two vanilla beans into the sugar, but MG left this out and used vanilla extract instead because it’s easier. I don’t have any vanilla beans, but I kind of wish that’d been in the recipe. How cool does that sound? Rubbing the pulp of vanilla beans into the sugar! SO COOL.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right kind of rum. That’s right, I didn’t have the right kind of rum for the rum cake. You’re supposed to use dark rum- it’s got a much stronger, spicier flavor than the gold rum I had on hand. However, I refused to buy a whole bottle of dark rum (which I probably wouldn’t use) just for this cake. Especially when I would have to make an extra trip to the market just to get it (I had all the other ingredients). So the recipe was modified for gold rum- I added a bit more than the recipe suggests (though not very much).

Adding the flour at the end

This produced two loaves of vanilla cake. I don’t have two identical loaf pans, so I ended up with two different sized cakes. Which is totally fine by me. While they were in the oven I made the rum syrup (you know, for the drenching). You start by making simple syrup (water + sugar in a saucepan, boil), then add rum after removing from heat.

Now, the term “syrup” makes me think of a thick liquid, but this stuff was not thick. I tried to boil it down a bit, but the cookbook doesn’t say anything about that. I thought maybe using gold rum (instead of dark) might have caused a problem, but I doubt that it would effect the viscosity of the syrup. But in the end it worked out- the syrup can’t be thick and sticky- you brush it onto the cakes and it drips through the poked holes to spread through the cake.

two loaves, all golden and hole-y, ready for drenching

I tried to get the rum all over- I didnt want it concentrated in the middle, or just soaking through to the bottom and sitting there. Have I mentioned that I’m so glad I got around to buying these cooling racks? They’re great. I didn’t have to worry about stuff just pooling in the bottom of the cake (possibly making it soggy or just too rum-y), it just dripped out onto the parchment paper I had underneath.

I brought both loaves to work. If they liked it, I could put out the second one. If they didn’t, I could take it home, or get rid of it some other way.

My slice, with my coffee, and the other loaf wrapped up for safe-keeping.

I split a slice with my coworker Candie. We got an edge piece, so I don’t know if it was as rum drenched as the middle (like I said, I tried to pour the rum all over, but I’m not sure if that worked, I didn’t try a middle piece). It was a light cake, almost delicate. The vanilla wasn’t too strong, and the rum flavor hinted rather than overwhelmed. People seemed to like it, so I was pleased. One co-worker even [jokingly] tried to steal the entire cake. Luckily I had a second loaf…

I ended up giving the second loaf to friends that I met up with after work. They seemed to enjoy it, too. So I’d say this is a good cake. Not as good as the Swedish Visiting Cake, but definitely good, and another of Dorie’s great creations. I wonder how it would have tasted with the dark rum! I would definitely consider making this again, so I might give it a try.

[[note: I am WAY behind on this thing. As of right now (as I’m posting this) I am four cakes behind (including the one that was made tonight)! Be prepared for some short and sweet posts, because I really have some catching up to do!]]

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