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HELP: Making rum cakes properly!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My obsession over the last few years has been creating the perfect rum cake.   It's not as easy as it seems.   I have found many recipes on the Internet, and they're either the same and mostly disastrous.


One of my favorite commercial rum cakes is Tortuga.  Lots of research on my part has proven that it's nothing but a doctored up commercial/bulk cake mix, pudding mix, artificial flavoring and a *lot* of BS marketing about some old handed-down recipe.  The things people will believe!   It's still good!    I've come close to duplicating it, alas the glaze seems to be off.


I've had some real disasters that went right into the trash!  But some that were darned good, but not close enough.


For the heck of it, I broke down and tried the recipe on the back of the McCormick 'Rum Flavoring' box, which calls for yellow cake mix, 4 eggs, vanilla pudding mix (3.x oz), etc.    This one came out pretty good, and pretty much confirmed my research above (re: Tortuga).   However, it was a little too dense and I was very unhappy with the glaze (which seems to be key).


One key to a good rum cake, I believe, is in using plenty of rum in the mix itself.   But I think the alcohol might interfere with the leavening if you use too much?


There has to be room in the recipe for flavors, such as cocoa, key lime, or whatever you want.   I tend to like to add 1 cup of cocoa instead of the typical 3/4 as I like dark chocolate.


Typically, I've seen were you glaze the cake *once* soon after it's out of the oven, applying about 2 cups or so of the glaze -- then it cools completely and you store it for a while in plastic.   Another, I've seen a lady out west that glazes her cakes two times:  once in the pan, and she applies a bunch more just before the cakes are wrapped.   I have mostly seen my cakes suffer from too much glazing (gathering on the edges or in the middle).


So here I am, hoping that a professional baker can lend me a hand so I can finally create the perfect rum cake, properly.   I've been wasting too much money on trial and error, though I have learned quite a bit about ingredients and how they perform in a cake and affect each other.


My baking pans are ready!



Thank you.




post #2 of 4

For starters, here's a past thread about rum cake that may interest you, and there's a recipe included as well:




Does this help?

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

The cake I'm making is not yeast-orientated.  The last recipe is seen over the Internet.  It's probably pretty close to Tortuga's stuff.   They use a lot of artificial flavors etc.


In looking around, I also discovered Barbara Storey's rum cakes.   I called and ordered one, and I actually spoke with her!  It was kinda neat.   A video of her in the bakery is circulating -- the initial batch she makes has 10 eggs (!!) which I presume is enough for 2 cakes.   It shows her apply about 2 cups of glaze to the cake, in the pan, when it comes out of the oven.   Later, when it's cooled and turned out, it's glazed again just before being wrapped.   


I've read (and learned the hard way) that it's important to get the glaze thickened -- otherwise, you end up with a soggy cake (blech!).  


One cake recipe I made a short time ago, I used rum instead of water - - that made a big difference; however, I'm not certain what that would do to any of the leavening agents (the alcohol). 


I made the recipe that's shown last in that thread; it was just "okay" --- there needs to be more oil, and it didn't seem leavened enough.


I'm so frustrated! :-)   This can't be that difficult.



Thank you.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Another side note... given that recipe, I am curious what the ratio of flavors could be without ruining the mix.   I'm going to guess there's room for a cup.


For example, in a chocolate cake, I like to use 1 cup of dark cocoa.   I can see where you could use banana, orange juice concentrate, etc.


I think the recipe needs a little shortening combined with butter -- also, at least 1 cup of rum (more would be more tasty, but again the batter).





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