We were able to spend a fantastic evening with some great folks this past week for a celebration of Christmas in July.
We hosted the meal last year, so it was our friends’, Adam and Samantha’s, turn to do it this year. They decided to celebrate the theme of the night by creating an entire menu of Cuban food.
As will be no surprise, I volunteered to make dessert, and after lots of online research, I decided to try a light, fruity cake—with a bit of rum included for good measure.
This recipe comes from the company site for Imperial Sugar and was written by Chef Eddy Van Damme, who has the nickname of the “Prince of Pastry.” You can find the original post at https://www.imperialsugar.com/recipes/cuban-rum-cake. I adjusted some of the ingredients a bit in my version.
Cuban Rum Cake
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 egg yolks
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk with a touch of vinegar
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/8 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light or dark rum I used dark
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8 ounces pineapple sliced or in chunks in juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare two eight- or nine-inch round cake pans by buttering and flouring them. Set them aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, for about 30 seconds each.
- Beat in the salt, baking powder and vanilla. Beat in the buttermilk and cake flour, alternating between them.
- Split the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for at least 10 minutes before removing them from the pans by inverting them onto plates and setting them aside to cool completely.
- Turn the oven off, but spread the coconut on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place it in the oven for about five minutes or until the coconut is lightly browned. Set it aside.
- For the rum sauce, combine the butter, orange juice, sugar, rum and vanilla in a sauce pan, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Let it boil for two minutes, then remove from heat. Set the mixture aside to cool.
- When the cakes are cooled, prepare the filling. Beat the cream, vanilla and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form. If necessary, prepare the pineapple by cutting it into bite-sized chunks.
- To assemble the cake, place the first cake on your serving plate and prick the entire surface with a toothpick.
- Brush half of the rum sauce onto the cake, letting it soak in. (This might take a moment.) Spread about one-fourth of the whipped cream onto the cake and top with the pineapple. Place the second cake on top and repeat the process with the rum sauce before coating the entire cake with the rest of the whipped cream. Finish the cake off by sprinkling it with the toasted coconut.
- Keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
This was absolutely delicious and received rave reviews from the group. There wasn’t much left of the cake, despite all of us overindulging beforehand on an amazing meal. It had great tropical flavor, and even if the rum part scares you a bit, I’d say go for it. It definitely did not feature a “boozy” taste. Instead, the rum amplified the orange and pineapple flavors.
There are few things better than sharing a good meal with a good group, and this weekend was no exception. As summer is starting to wind down, it was a wonderful way to wrap up a busy July.
This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 4, 2022.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.