The holidays are a time for family, giving back, and being grateful for all that one has. The meaning of Christmas tends to get lost in the eagerness of getting – getting things, getting stuff, getting more. To me, the holidays are about being with the people I love and that usually means in the kitchen or around the table. This holiday season was all about sweets, sugars, and butters. The dessert dishes I whipped up this holiday season were two of the best. One is my favorite ‘snowball cake’, a coconut layer cake that is so damn delicious it will make you wish for Christmas every month, if you don’t already.
The second is a rum cake that my sister and I decided to make last minute for a post-Christmas dinner delicacy. If you’re looking for a project, try the coconut cake, it takes some manual labor but it is so very worth it. You will see in the photos that I completely destroyed this cake pulling it out of the oven. The pans managed to maim the tops of these tasty coconutty cakes when I tried to flip them out, but with some strategically placed frosting, and the close consultation of my sister, I managed to turn the cream cheese frosting into a super-glue like material and clean the thing right up. I promise once you start eating this bad boy you wont know how to stop.
The rum cake was my second dish, it is ‘semi-homemade’ and easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. The recipe originally comes from one of my cooking idols: The Pioneer Woman. Based on TV alone, her life seems amazing - she lives on a ranch with cowboys on a beautiful plain and whips up hearty meals on the reg. I dig it.
Recipes for you!
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López) - available in most liquor sections
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Pinch of salt
4 cups of sweetened shredded coconut for icing
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.
Divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Sprinkle 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut over. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake, gently pressing into sides to adhere.
For the Rum Cake:
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3.4-ounce) package vanilla cook-and-serve pudding mix
½ cup water
½ cup canola oil
½ cup dark rum
For the Glaze:
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup dark rum
Preheat oven to 325º F and thoroughly grease a Bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar and chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan. This will serve as the topping of the cake when the cake is turned out of the pan.
Add cake mix and pudding mix to the bowl of an electric mixer. Crack in the eggs and add water, canola oil, and rum, Mix the batter until it is smooth and totally combined.
Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer or long toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake and removed.
When the cake has about 10 minutes remaining cooking time, make the glaze.
Melt the butter and sugar together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Then add water and bring the mixture to a boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until thick. Carefully add the rum to the mixture and cook for 1 more minute. (Take care when adding the alcohol to the mixture, especially if cooking over an open flame.)
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
Use a skewer or long toothpick and poke holes all over the surface of the cake.
Drizzle half the glaze over the surface of the cake, then let the cake sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the cake to absorb the glaze.
Carefully invert the cake onto a serving platter and very slowly drizzle the rest of the glaze over the top of the cake, giving the cake a chance to absorb as much as possible.
Let the cake sit for a couple of house to make sure it’s really moist and rummy.
Slice and serve.