Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holidaze Rum Cake

Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light House.
Associated Press

 December 21st marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  For the first time in 372 years, this winter equinox and a total lunar eclipse happened on the same day.  North America was one of the best spots to see this rare phenomena, for the lucky few that did not have winter storms. More than likely you were inside staying warm. 

To many pre-Christian cultures, this time was thought of as the most dreaded time of year, when the lack of heat, light and a limited supply of food could mean the end to life. To raise our spirits, many people created rituals and celebrations, some complete with delicious foods. In ancient Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated at the feast of Saturnalia, while in pre-christian Britain, the end of December centered around the pagan Yule log in a fiery display to help melt the heart of a cold and dreary winter. Today, a similar response to winter doldrums is the celebration of Christmas by many cultures around the world, complete with twinkling lights and holiday feasts. Supporting each other through this seasonal darkness and looking forward to spring, we eat, fill our tummies, and give thanks for the many blessings of modern life. We are so fortunate that most of us have shelter, heat, and plenty of food. 
In honor of these dark times, and bringing more merriment to our home, I've made this delicious Holidaze Rum Cake! 
Light your beeswax candles, sing some songs, and eat some cake!  
Happy Winter Solstice! 




Cake Ingredients

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup of light or golden rum
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
 2  tablespoon light or golden rum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
½ cup of heavy cream
Preheated over to 350°F. 

On a baking dish toast 1/3 cup of the coconut in the middle of oven until it just begins to color, transfer it to a small bowl, and let it cool.

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter with the rum, stirring, until the mixture is smooth and remove the bowl from the heat. In a separate bowl whisk together the yolks, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the flour, and the salt until the mixture is smooth and whisk in the chocolate mixture and the remaining (untoasted) 1/3 cup of coconut. 

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat the whites until they hold soft peaks and beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until the whites just hold stiff peaks. Stir half the whites into the chocolate mixture and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a buttered 7- or 8-inch springform pan (I did not have spring form pan, as seen from pictures and used a 9 inch pie dish, buttered and flour).  

Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it is set and the top is puffed and cracked, and let it cool in the pan on a rack. (The cake will fall as it cools).

Remove the side of the pan from the cake to cool even more. If you use a pie pan, place plate on top and turn cake over to cool. 

Make the frosting while the cake is cooling:
In a bowl mix the cream, the butter, add the rum, the salt, and the confectioners' sugar, and beat the mixture using an electric mixer. 
Frosting should be light and fluffy. 

Frost the cake once cake is completely cooled. Spread frosting liberally with frosting spatula (knife). Spread some wax paper on counter. Over this wax paper, hold the cake in one hand & other hand press the coconut onto the frosting, letting the excess fall on wax paper. I used several pinches of coconut in covering the cake. 

This cake may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered loosely and served chilled. 

I served this with strong coffee! Enjoy with family friends!