Rum Cake Season

Rum Cake

I should be shot for posting this particular rum cake photo, but it is one of the 51 cakes I baked for the holidays, and it is completely right that I post the rum cake as the first recipe shared on these pages. You may think of me as “the rum cake lady”, having engaged in rum cake baking for the past 31 days of December, six cakes a day and then some. The recipe is the one I have most laid my metaphorical hands on of late (though the recipe just lives in my brain so no literal laying on of hands required). I have baked these cakes for the past 45 years and can honestly, always honestly, testify that this is a much-tried and well-trusted recipe.

A good rum cake is a beauty to behold, and, added bonus (!) if you are gifting the cake, just standing over it, wrapping the heavily foiled bundle with a glitzy bow, the cake still a few hours warm from the oven, is heavenly. I might venture as far to say that inhaling the aroma, for those few perfect minutes, is a form of meditation if you’re into that kind of thing. It smells that good (okay, fifty of them smell that good, cumulatively, for many days in a row), but experiencing even one of these beauties this way draws you back to baking another one.

Our family’s rum cake is quick and easy to prepare, with the baker’s success rate directly proportional to the number of cakes baked. The recipe, claims laid over who “saw it first” between mama and Aunt Lou, came from the Bacardi people over 50 years ago, and, to my knowledge, the recipe hasn’t changed since I baked my first one. The recipe produces a dense moist cake with a glazed top and sides; your family and friends will enjoy them any time of year, but there’s just something about a Christmas rum cake that has a way of shining up an already bright and beautiful season. Some friends slice them immediately and freeze them, two pieces in a Ziplock, to be quickly thawed when needed, other friends prefer eating their slices still half-frozen. With coffee. For breakfast. I like mine best left on the counter three days, the easier for picking up a slice while walking through the kitchen. No plate required. Shaun says using pistachio pudding mix turns the cake into a first cousin of Maui’s Takamiya Tiramisu. No shoes required for that version! Start a new tradition for enjoying this cake and make it your own.

Greer Family Rum Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup pecans, chopped small
1 box Duncan Hines Supreme Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
1-(3 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Bacardi Light Rum
1/2 cup Wesson oil
5 eggs

Directions Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12” Bundt pan and sprinkle the pecans around the bottom. In large bowl, stir the cake mix and the dry pudding mix, add the water, oil, and rum. Crack the eggs into your bowl last and mix with electric mixer until batter is glossy, about 2″ on medium speed. Allow batter to breathe in bowl 5-7 minutes then scrape batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake exactly one hour.

GLAZE Ingredients and Directions Prepare 10 minutes before cake is finished baking. In medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup rum, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil then add 1 stick butter. Reduce heat and boil low for 5-7 minutes. When the cake is just out of the oven, poke deep holes all over it with the tines of a fork. Pour the hot glaze into a large glass measuring cup and slowly pour the glaze over cake. Use a spatula to gently pull the cake away from the sides of the pan and pour some of the glaze around the sides so it coats the sides, flowing to bottom of the pan and adding gloss to the top of the cake. Let the glaze sink in slowly then keep pouring until glaze is good and gone. Let cake cool in the pan for 50 minutes then invert onto your serving plate. Cover it tightly with a generous piece of heavy-duty foil tucking foil under edges of platter. You can also make this well ahead and freeze, tightly covered with the foil. On the day you want to serve it, take it out of the freezer and allow to thaw slowly. Never microwave this cake or you will end up with nothing but a puddle of rum and butter. Also do not refrigerate once it has been cut; just keep covered tightly with heavy foil on counter top or well- hidden from your hungry spouse and other family members.

And Here We Are

Back again after two months of writing but not posting! It feels redundant introducing and telling you about myself; if you have clicked over here, we are surely already acquainted. Whether you know me as Cak, your sister or aunty, or think of me as Katy or Miss, from Tasty Crust and Lahainaluna years on Maui, or, if I know you here in southeast Missouri and you still call me Cathi, (and that includes those who call me only “Greer”), I definitely welcome you! Each name, and nickname, combine to supply my voice and each contributed in creating, this, my Country Ohana Hawaiian Southern Methodist Kitchen! Hele Mai, do come in!

A new year begun, fresh calendar pages on our walls and our i-phone screens testify to it, and hopefully you are as excited about the year 2015 as I am. I LIKE blank calendar pages and the idea of “new beginnings”, and after much mental hemming and hawing, two things have become clear to me. One, Waiting on Things To Be Perfect is useless because, Two, Things Already Are Perfect just as they are. Those conclusions led me to making my first New Year’s Resolution in the past twenty years, and that is to remember this truism, “The best time for anything, is now.” And so, here we are.

As this new adventure begins, I mightily thank all of you who so highly recommended retirement! Purposefully choosing how to spend my time is a new concept for me; I think of it as a gate, standing, as my Lahainaluna colleague, Mr. Manzano, so clearly wrote on overtime slips, “WIDE open!” Passing through that gate has revealed to me interests never fully explored, a primary interest being that I enjoy writing about food, and, I like spending time talking story about food. Talking story is a favorite pastime in Hawai’i, and we all especially love talking story about food: you know, ‘oh this buggah some onolicious!’ and ‘Aisus! This really broke da mout so ono!’ and that is how you get ‘da scoop” on all things Yummy. If my personal slant on Life 101 creeps into these pages too, well, that’s just the way I roll. Writing a food blog seems a simple exercise in journaling and I see this space less as a formal exercise in writing and more as appending my kitchen notebooks. Somehow, that takes the pressure off. I expect to enjoy this journey, especially with your company as you share from your seat at the table as well.

Do come back again, and often. I will do my part by posting lots of recipes and photos, but it is your participation that decides the success of this venture, so post a comment, share a story, alter a recipe and tell us how it turned out. I have so much to learn about writing a blog and your patience is not only needed but much appreciated. Thankfully, I can take advantage of purchased help available from the web hosting company of this site, and I do so because knowing what I want to feature here is a far cry from knowing how to make it happen. Making it happen, however, is exactly what the technology wizard fella did for me today and you can expect to see more positive changes to the site as I learn  to make them. You surely KNOW I did the happy dance today when, with the web tech’s help, there suddenly appeared shiny links for clicking, sharing buttons for pushing, and favorite web sites showing up all sparkly in the sidebar! My great-grandmother Minnie would say that I am “flat out messin’ with God Almighty” no doubt but then Minnie probably never resorted to writing down a  recipe in her life. Soon, I hope to learn enough to feature ALL the Blogging Bells and Whistles I find on other web sites, but Not Having Everything Perfect immediately means only that I am comfortable in believing that you are kind enough to keep reading as construction continues. I do know that clicks are good things in the world of blogging, and I am so grateful that you made a First Click and a First Visit because the perfect time for visiting, you know, is now.

Readers who use my cookbook will recognize many recipes posted; I began with the  dishes I made leading up to and through the holidays 2014 because they are fresh in my mind . Don’t fret now, if you are feeling you have no reason to read my blog since you already have the cookbook because I love trying new recipes every bit as much as you and I’ve been cooking up a storm the past few days so that you have some new recipes to check out already! If you fill out the short ‘sign up by email’ form on the left sidebar, you will receive notifications of all new posts and know quickly when a recipe is new to you. I promise nothing too fancy, nothing overly time-consuming (time-consuming for me equals ‘special project’), and nothing that I can’t stand behind recommending. Your time is valuable and I don’t expect you to waste it. My pledge is to keep improving the content and the quality you find here, especially the photography. Please feel free to change and alter and share these recipes in any way you choose and to use the comment and sharing buttons. If you are sharing, please link readers back to this site.

Finally, (how did I become too wordy so quickly?) the intent of this site is NOT about my ability as a cook because many people who read food blogs are already excellent cooks. What the site IS about is sharing and being of use to you, the reader. Think of this spot the same as you would if you were sitting in a doctor’s waiting room leafing through one monthly magazine or another and coming across a great-sounding recipe; the only difference is you don’t have to scrabble around in your purse or backpack looking for an old envelope or receipt to write on and tracking down a pen to use; just click the shiny new printer button and there you go! We’re all in this together you know: everybody, all around, together, at the table, ho’okipa style. Remember, the perfect time, for sharing, for anything, is now.

Aha!

Just because my fingers are itching to see a post on this site I created. Just because I am finding myself parked, idling, on the Internet, and just because I promised myself to somehow start creating a food blog, here I am!  It took all day, twice on hold, 28 minutes and 31 minutes respectively, and a great deal of “wishing and hoping and thinking and dreaming” to get to this spot; rather tight quarters, it seems, for stepping out with such a Giant Leap of Faith but the larger the leap surely the greater the faith. I’m ready.

A kitchen notebook