I have no idea why I never noticed this recipe until it was my turn to pick one. Really, it has everything I enjoy. Rum. Vanilla Beans. Low Mess/Dirty Dish Count. No Waiting for Butter to Soften. Simple Straight-Forward Recipe.
I joined Tuesdays with Dorie back in August 2008 and now almost 2 years later it is finally my turn to host a recipe. It was a super-easy pick for me. I just flipped through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours and the book fell open to page 226: Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes.
Originally when I selected this recipe I was going to make it three times. Once with the beans I bought in Taha’a, Tahiti; once with the beans I bought in Zihuatanejo, Mexico; and once with the beans I bought in Vava’u, Tonga. I even considered making it four times with the Madagascar vanilla beans that I have but did not travel to get. Yeah, I may have a little vanilla bean problem. I wanted to see if I could taste the difference.
I also have a time management problem and ran out of time. I went out-of-town this weekend, got home Sunday afternoon, went to go make the cakes, realized I didn’t have eggs or cream, ran to Trader Joe’s, got home, realized I was out of sugar, debated going to the store again, decided to use the homemade vanilla sugar I had and had just the right amount for the recipe.
This is an awesome recipe. The cake is unbelievably good. The texture is amazing and flavors work really well together. Yum.
Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Recipe from Baking…From My Home to Yours, page 226.
The texture of this cake is so perfect–the crumb so soft, even and tightly knit–that you could mistake it for a Sara Lee pound cake. That’s high praise in my book: I’ve always loved Sara Lee’s compact, tiny-bubble crumb and the slices of cake are simultaneously firm and supple. But what you get here is a flavor Sara Lee can never deliver, one that depends on using the very best vanilla you can find. The first choice is a pair of moist, pliable vanilla beans. You get the truest flavor from beans, and if you follow the nifty technique of of rubbing the pulp of the beans into the sugar, you’ll get maximum results. If you use extract, you’ll still produce an excellent cake, but you’ve got to use pure extract. As for the rum–it should be high-quality, dark and strong.
Make the syrup as soon as you slide the cakes into the oven to bake–that way, it will have time to cool.
For the Cakes
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/3 cups of sugar
- 2 plump, moist vanilla beans, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
- 2/3 cup of heavy cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 stick plus 7 tablespoons (15 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dark rum
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-x-2 1/2 -inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. (Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them.) Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Put the sugar and the pulp from the vanilla beans, if using them, in a large bowl and, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of vanilla. (If you are using vanilla extract, add it later, after you’ve added the eggs.) Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract, if you are using it, then whisk in the cream, followed by the rum. Continuing with the whisk or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. (As soon as the cakes go into the oven, make the syrup.) After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color–if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.
Meanwhile, Make the Syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.
When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-blade sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.
Thank you , Wendy! I was waiting for someone to pick this as their recipe. 😀
Your loaf looks so moist and rummy!
Thanks for a great pick! I made mine with hazelnut syrup, toasted chopped hazelnuts and Nutella…it was fabulous! 🙂
loved your pick dah-ling 😛
I did a raspberry version!
Thanks for a great pick! Simple, delicious and low fuss. Definitely my kind of cake.
This was a great pick, thanks Wendy. I loved this cake! Wow, I am impressed with your range of vanilla beans – at present, I don’t have any so I just used essence.
Thanks for hosting this. It is a great choice. Your cake and platter are both beautiful.
Sorry, I meant to put this on the last post.
Thanks Wendy, I’ve waited for mine to cool and yippee I get to take a bite, (before bedtime, right?). A really great pick.
This was super yummy- thanks Wendy!
Wow, this was amazing! Thanks for a wonderful pick Wendy!
I love your baking plan, and I have no doubt that you will make the other versions soon. This really was a wonderfully easy cake; I’ll get on board with anything that doesn’t need softened butter or my mixer. Next time I’m using the vanilla + rum though, my lemon version doesn’t look as good.
Gorgeous! You can really see the moisture in your cake. Thanks for choosing this recipe!
The sparkling sugar on top is a nice touch. Thanks for hosting us this week.
Awesome pick, Wendy! This cake was fabulous. I couldn’t decide whether to use Bourbon or Tahitian beans, so I used one of each. =)
Great pick Wendy! The cake was delicious but after reading your post, I have vanilla bean envy! What a selection you have!
These were heavenly!
thanks for a pick that was so easy to fit in last minute! Your loaf looks great- no need to make three when you came up with a perfect one on the first go around
What a beautiful cake, love the sprinkles on top and the plate beneath! LOL on the trips to the store, having teens means they tend to eat everything in sight and my trips are usually a result of thinking I have an ingredient and realizing they ATE IT! We enjoyed this pick very much, thanks!
FABULOUS pick, Wendy! This will be my new go-to “pound cake” – I especially love that the butter (far less than a pound!) does not need to soften first. This was so easy and delicious. Yours look great!
one of my favorite recipes in the book– thanks for picking it!! it’s so good, it’s worth revisiting to try out all those beans!
I can’t believe you have vanilla beans from so many different places! I bought mine for the first time for this recipe at Walmart…haha!
Anyway, your cake looks great!
Great pick, Wendy!! Wow, sounds like you have quite a stach of vanilla beans!! Can I borrow some?? I didn’t have any and never had a chance to pick some up! Your cake looks delicious!!
Perfect pick, Wendy. Everyone who ate this LOVED it. I knew you liked vanilla beans, that would have been a fun experiment to try each and see how different they are. Playing out of town is more fun!
Thanks for hosting! Loved this cake!
Thank you for the wonderful pick! It was so nice, and I love the added sugar on top. 🙂
Wendy, Wendy, Wendy! Thank you for an AWESOME pick. Nothing beats butter, rum and vanilla – one of the best Dorie recipes to date!
Great pick Wendy. Anything tastes better soaked in rum, doesn’t it!
Delicious choice! I used amaretto this time; I’ll post when I return to California.
thanks for a great pick! i need to make this again (the right way LOL) and i am sure it will turn out much better 🙂
Congrats on your pick week! I’m looking forward to trying this sometime – lemon and rum versions!
I also had the eggs/cream problem. Luckily I had sugar 😉 Great pick!
A VERY good pick! Good thing it was so quick to make – fits into a busy schedule (sounds like yours)! The loaf looks wonderful – it’s now a favorite of mine!
GREAT pick!! Like the idea of comparing vanilla. You are becomming a gourmet of fine vanilla.
We enjoyed this cake. Will make it often. Such great texture. Excited about trying all the variations people came up with.
Thanks for this one, Wendy.
I can see you wanting to do the complete comparison, and I wouldn’t have gone back to Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon either. Your photos are beautiful! Thanks for hosting this week!
Thank you for such a brilliant choice! I loved this cake. My favourite Dorie cake so far 🙂
Nice pick! Love to see someone as fanatical about vanilla as I am!
I’m unofficial TWD (I was let go)–but recently have returned to following along–I was so glad you picked this because I’ve had my eye on it forever (truly. Someone gave me vanilla beans about a year ago to use for this…)…for me it’s the perfect dessert…Just enough with a small slice…great pick.
Thanks for the great pick! This was so easy to make and tasted delicious. The plate you have yours on is really pretty.
I love you! A vanilla bean obsessed baker that falls into the same traps I do. My record is 4 trips to the store while making a single recipe. This pound cake blew me away. I think it’s one of my favorite TWD recipes.
great pick! Even though I didnt use the rum, I loved this recipe!!
I’m running late with my post on this one, but should have it later in the week. Delicious looking cake you have there. Would be great with a cup of coffee, right? Or milk. . .YUM. Your cake looks perfect.
so so good! Thanks for a great pick!
Your cake looks terrific! That is quite a vanilla bean collection, how fun. I definitely think this cake is worth a repeat.
Dear Wendy, this cake is sensational ! I loved it even if I do not own such a wondeful array of vanilla beans !! Thanks for hosting !!
After the last-minute trip to Trader’s Joe and the discovery of the sugar shortage, thank goodness you were happy with the cake! The cake is one of my favorites — good with almost everything — so I’m really glad that you and so many other TWDers liked it too.
Love that you have vanilla beans from the wonderful places you’ve traveled to.
What a fabulous cake! I simple adore all those vanilla beans. And dark rum? YUM. Definitely going to make this one soon.
Thanks for picking this recipe, it’s yummy!
First of all, I think you have a vanilla problem. The only solution is to go cold turkey. Mailing me your vanilla pods is the first step toward a healthier, happier life.
Secondly, your loaf looks great! I love the sugar on top.
Sorry I missed your recipe pick! Ran out of time, but it does look fabulous! Gotta add it to the must try soon list.
Such a good pick! I’ve eyed this recipe so many times, regretting not choosing it myself!
that cake looks so good!! I have so much trouble with vanilla cakes…I will have to try that recipe!
It would have been neat to see what you thought of all the different beans though that would have been a lot of rum cake.
vanilla, rum, heavy cream…what’s not to like! What a fabulous cake, I’m definitely making this one.
This was delicious! I made the orange version!
i tried the cake and love it BUT…i was wondering why the top of my cake is so much lighter than the bottom. the bottom half is heavier/more dense. did i whip the cream too much maybe? or not enough? how long do u whip the cream for, just till combined? or to add some volume?
This recipe sounds so good! It has everything I enjoy too and I can’t wait to try it out.