Saturday, August 04, 2012

Rum and Date Cake with Caramel Sauce

It’s been quite a wet and windy week over here.  While the Western world is somewhere in the middle of summer frolic, we are stranded (pun intended) in our rainy season…monsoon rains, buffeting winds, floods, wonky internet, and the occasional power outage.  I swear next year I’ll be buying myself some cute rain boots instead of stubbornly amassing flip flops and sandals all year long.  It may seem, to me at least, counter-intuitive to buy rubber boots when, for most of the year, you are in varying states of melting, but any rainy morning at the market (with feet totally soaked) will tell you otherwise.

The rainy season’s gray clouds do have their silver lining though: cozying up to a bowl of steaming tinola, sinigang, or bulalo…not having to deal (so much) with the heat…the electricity bill going down (!!)…snuggles under the duvet…hot chocolate…

It’s also the most comfortable season in our tropical year for baking.  Not that we don’t bake at any other time.  Just that, with the rain pouring outside, cooling down my city’s steamy pavements, a warm oven actually seems, for once, halfway inviting.

And, of course, baking has the added bonus of creating an end-product that adds brightness to otherwise dreary days.  Especially when combined with rum and caramel.

Rum and Date Cake with Caramel Sauce
(from Donna Hay magazine issue # 62)
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 grams) dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) raisins
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups (225 grams) self-rising flour**, sifted
  • 1 1/3 cups (235 grams) brown sugar
  • 225 grams butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
Caramel sauce:
  • 100 grams butter
  • 3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (175 grams) golden syrup***
  • 1 cup (250 ml) single cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) rum
- Place the dates, prunes, raisins, boiling water, rum, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and leave for about 10 minutes.  Process the mixture until smooth.  Resist the urge to spoon a splodge of it into a shot glass to top with more rum and turn into the most indecent dessert/cocktail/shooter ever.  Set aside.
- Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine.  To this add the butter, vanilla, eggs, and the date/rum mixture.  Mix well to combine.
- Pour the batter into a well greased bundt pan (3.5 liter capacity) and bake in a pre-heated 160C (325F) oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While your cake is baking you can make the caramel sauce.  Place the butter, sugar, syrup, cream, and rum in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened.
- Allow both the cake and sauce to cool completely before pouring the sauce over the cake.  I like to pour some sauce on the cake and save some to serve alongside it.

I knew I had to make this cake the moment I saw it gracing the cover of Donna Hay magazine’s April/May 2012 Autumn issue (bit of trivia: autumn and winter are usually my favorite issues for all food magazines).  It was dark and beguiling, and involved dates and prunes and rum.  And caramel.  And a bundt pan (I so had been wanting to use that bundt pan!).  Before I tell you that I and my not-too-hot-about-cakes husband loved it, I need to let you know that the making of it did not go totally without a hitch.  The cake stuck to the pan (despite my having greased it generously as the recipe instructed) and the caramel split.

What, me panic?

I gently (gently!) extricated the cake parts stuck at the bottom of the pan and patched them onto the top of the bundt, fitting each part as precisely as I could.  The split caramel took a bit more elbow grease.  After extensive research telling me that split caramel which was already finished cooking had no hope of being remedied I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I was not giving up and I was not throwing a batch of perfectly tasty caramel out.  I let the caramel sit and split completely, which is to say I let all the butter that had split float to the top.  I then skimmed that all off.  Then I placed the remaining caramel in a metal bowl, and placed the metal bowl into another bowl filled with ice water.   Finally, I took a whisk in my hand and beat the living daylights out of it.  Before I knew it, the caramel was smooth and creamy again.  When there’s a will, there’s a way.  Just so you know.

Was it worth it?  Every second.  The cake was incredibly moist, as only a cake packed with rum-soaked-then-blitzed dates, prunes, and raisins can be.  It was tender and damp, with a deep, dark, vaguely adult flavor.  Smother a slice with the rum-infused caramel and you go up the audacity ladder more than a few notches.

Just as you should never let a little rain and the lack of rain boots stop you from going to the market, you should never allow such trivialities like cake sticking to your pan (fie on you faithless bundt pan!) or split caramel stop you from enjoying something delicious.

**I have no clue where to find self-rising flour in Manila, nor have I ever had any need for it.  I just use this formula: for each cup of all purpose flour, add 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt.

***Tragically, golden syrup is not available anywhere on my islands.  I used a mixture of corn syrup and honey and it worked fine.


Mom-Friday said...

I seriously want one of these now! Did you ever consider selling your goodies?!! :)))

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Terrific! A droolworthy cake.



Eileen said...

Rum-infused caramel, you say? Don't mind if I do! :) That cake looks amazing!

Faye Paras said...

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh the site of the oozing caramel alone is mouthwatering already! i'm going to make some of that to dip some store brought butter cake on it since i don't have baking equipment yet (bookmarking this though and will definitely try it in the future).

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mom-Friday! Try making it...we loved it! :) I don't have an extra second to spare for a food business because of my day job!

Thanks Rosa! :)

Hi Eileen! That's what I though too! I say rum and I said, "Sign me up!" ;)

Hi Faye! Oh yes! I can just imagine this on a butter cake :) On a more virtuous note (as virtuous as you can be when talking about caramel and rum) this would also be good to dip apple slices in :)

Junglefrog said...

Ha don't be fooled by that so called summer here in europe as I think it might pretty much resemble your monsoon at times. It's been wet and not summery at all. Perfect I would think for such a gorgeous cake!

Anh said...

i remember this cake! Need to make it soon!!

Jeff @ Cheeseburger said...

This cake is filled with mouth-watery goodness. I can't wait to make this.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Simone! Oh no! Although I have experienced strange summer weather in Europe too -- a wild sun/rain/hail day in Zurich comes to mind! I think, no matter what weather, we will always find a way to justify cake ;)

Hi Anh! I love it! I'm sure yours will look much more sophisticated than mine! :)

Hi Jeff! Enjoy!

Dhanggit said...

oh i want a slice with my kapeng barako! yum

Gio of The Hungry Giant said...

with your description I can almost taste the cake! and the photo is really great as well. stay warm and cozy! the weather is unforgiving.

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

Fantastic-looking cake! Can I have some please?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Dhanggit! Oh yes, lovely with coffee!

Hi Gio! It really was all that :) So happy I tried this Donna Hay!!

Hi Jen! Come on over! :)

Real Girl said...

I love your description of how you showed that wayward caramel and Bundt pan who was boss. And speaking of boss...that cake looks to die for. Thanks for all the useful tips. Will keep in mind for when I finally gather the courage to venture into baking.

ChichaJo said...

Hello Real Girl! So happy you have a blog I can visit now! :) The cake is really champ and I am sure can fit in your oven :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, that glaze works like make up, doesn't it? Your cake looks perfect! I saw this recipe on the mag and cannot wait to make it too, especially now after seeing your beautiful version, Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Patricia! The glaze is indeed great "make-up" is also great just eaten with a spoon! And the cake is delicious! Make won't be sorry! :)

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Wow that cake looks divine and I love that caramel sauce! I've had cake stuck to my bundt tin too...maybe dusting with flour will help!
Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. I accidentally deleted your comment while scrolling on my phone, so I didn't get to read it! ;-)

BettyAnn @Mango_Queen said...

You had me at rum and dates. And then you threw in the caramel sauce? Get out! Omg, this photo is so inviting! Bookmarking this. Even if it's summer here, I MUST BAKE this cake! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Glad to hear you and your family are fine inspite of the floods. Take care & God bless, Joey! Thanks for all the blog-visits & warm tweets :-)

heidi said...

never baked a cake with dates as main flavoring. I would love to give a try to a cake like this. Bet the addition of rum and caramel sauce makes it super special and exotic ;)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Fern! Thanks and no worries! I really loved this cake and think it is definitely worth the mild aggravation of having it stick...I'll try the dusting as well next time!

Hi BettyAnn! Thanks for your kind thoughts! And yes, this cake is totally worth it!! :) Hope you enjoy it as much has we did :)

Hi Heidi! The dates give the cake a great flavor and a moist's lovely really!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Was googling for a recipe for rum cake and stumbled upon this blog! Awesome recipe :) Just wanted to say you might be able to get some of Lyle's golden syrup at union jack tavern in Alabang. Sometimes they have it, sometimes they don't but they stock pretty often. I was able to buy some back in 2010, hope that helps!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anonymous person! Thank you so much about the tip on the golden syrup!!! I will hunt it down as soon as I am in that area :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing..