Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum


I certainly like a nice cold beer, and, a glass of decent wine is a very fine thing; apparently, many say, it’s even got some health benefits. But, beyond the beer and the wine, I am not much of a liquor drinker. As a result, there is a particular genre of cakes that I have long been eschewing.

Cakes with alcohol. I am pretty sure that this is the first. Whether it’s because I’m not much of a liquor drinker (or a liqueur drinker), or whether it is "just because…" I am just not a big fan of alcohol-soaked desserts. Or, even lightly flavored with alcohol desserts. Just not something that appeals to me. I am thinking back through all the cakes I have made in the last few years, and trying to make sure that this really is the first cake with alcohol.

I’m thinking that beer doesn’t count. Right? ‘Cause there was that cake with the beer.

Anyway, I’m still with the Dorie Greenspan cookbook, but, beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a LOT of cakes I have not made in the book. But, a bunch of those are cheesecakes and another bunch are pretty seriously fancied-up tart-y desserts. So, when I look through the more regular cake sections, I am seeing a lot of cakes I have already made.

I kept skipping over Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes, because of that rum-drenched part. Rum-drenched. Alcohol soaked. Yuck. But, like I said, beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel a bit. So, I kept coming back to that one. It also fulfills another on-going quest of mine: looking for the perfect pound cake. Ray seems to have a bit of a thing for pound cake, so I periodically try to make one, and am usually disappointed in one way or another. I think pound cake is hard to do well. I actually think I made one a mere few months back. Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember for sure, or, remember the occasion or the eaters. Clearly, that cake was not memorable.

This cake, however, this cake was memorable. While making it, I kept thinking, there is a good possibility I will not be able to even eat this (which is okay by me, cake-making is altruistic, you see), because the rum might just be too much. It had a few tablespoons of rum in the batter; then, while the cake was cooking, you made a rum/sugar/water sauce, which got brushed all over the cake when it came out of the oven. Seemed like a lot of rum to me, though I think it probably was pretty reasonable.


In the end, I’ll say this, the rum did not ruin the cake. In fact, I think it made it the perfect texture and moistness (and I think dryness is a perennial problem in pound cakes). If you could taste the rum at all, it was just in the most subtle way. Even the kids thought it was delicious.
Note: used my trusty Bartlett's Quotations to look up the "yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum". I'm sure plenty of people know where it's from. But, not me. It's Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest -
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest -
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

2 comments:

Michelle said...

Clarissa, Saveur magazine recently tackled pound cake and printed the recipe for what they say is the perfect version. My friend Alison has made it several times and it's been wonderful. Check it out!

qcanoe said...

My honest and surprising - to me - reaction to your prejudice against alcohol in desserts is: Yeah, me too. You know what an unapologetic lush I am when it comes to wine. And I've been known to make a pretty good Margarita and then drink it immediately without a second thought. So it comes as a mild shock to me to realize that in the past I have sometimes paid lip service to the idea of boozy desserts, I really don't like them much either. So I'd probably REALLY like this cake!