Friday, December 13, 2013

Chocolate Rum Cake

The holidays call for lots of unbridled baking.  Special cookies, rich cakes and confections are on just about every baker's list.  These are family and cultural pastry traditions of sharing that we look forward to each and every year.  And to be sure, chocolate usually takes center stage.

For this recipe, I've turned to natural cocoa to create a really delicious and festive indulgence.  This is a cake with a deep chocolate flavor and a very moist crumb.  I've added a good plug of rum to give it a surefire dose of the holiday spirit.  Strong coffee helps to enhance the richness of the cocoa and brown sugar blesses it with a soft and warm note of pure pleasure.  It's a very quick mix because the butter is melted and everything gets whisked together in no time.  As chocolate cakes go, it's a very low stress but deliciously beautiful centerpiece.

Serious chocolate.  Serious rum.  It's a rich flavorful cake without being heavy and sure to please those who are in the mood to celebrate.  Served with a strong cup of great coffee, it's the answer to at least one chocolate wish.

Two notes:
*It appears there is a problem with my subscription feed, so my apologies to all those who are not receiving the usual weekly email notification of my blog postings.  I've spent a good deal of time trying to find out what the problem is, but nothing seems to work and the platform keeps telling me that the feed is working perfectly!  I hope it straightens itself out ASAP.
*Don't forget to order The Global Pastry Table for holiday baking and gifting!

Bench notes:
- I use natural cocoa powder, not dutch-process.
- The batter for this cake is thin.  The whisking creates air bubbles, so give the bottom of the cake pan a few good taps on your countertop to release them before putting the cake in the oven.
- The cake bakes in just 23 - 25 minutes, so be sure to set your timer.
- Letting the cake cool for 10 minutes and then turning it out of the pan ensures that it's had enough time to rest yet it's still warm enough to easily release.  Parchment paper helps immensely to keep the bottom in tact.
- This cake can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  The flavor improves over time.  Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings just before serving.
- To make chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler on a block of your favorite chocolate.

Chocolate Rum Cake
Serves 8 - 10

1 cup (5 oz) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 oz) strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) rum
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar
1 egg @ room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup (6 oz) heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate shavings, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8" x 2 1/2" cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a saucepan along with the coffee and cocoa powder.  Bring to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly.  When the butter is melted and the ingredients are mixed and bubbling, take off the heat and whisk in the rum and both sugars.  Pour into a mixing bowl and add the egg and vanilla.  Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.  Pour the bater into the prepared cake pan and tap the bottom of the pan a few times on the countertop to release the air bubbles.

Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 - 25 minutes.  Place on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Run a thin bladed knife around the edges to loosen and invert the cake.  Gently remove the parchment paper and invert the cake again.  Cool completely.

To serve, whip the heavy cream with the sugar, rum and vanilla just until it forms soft peaks.  Dollop the cake with the whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.


Kate said...

Chocolate + rum = yum!
This seems like a perfect little cake to have on hand for weary shoppers popping by.
I made your frozen lemon yogurt yesterday. I did up the lemon juice and decrease the sugar, both by 1/4 cup, so it froze a bit harder like italian ice.
Served it last night with apple crisp and it was met with rave reviews.
I think this cake may be on the roster although those Café de Olla Sticks are still visions of sugarplums in my head.

pastry studio said...

Kate, whatever you have on your roster, I'm sure it's fabulous and everyone in your proximity is most appreciative!

Cheers to you as you prepare your treasures for the season!

Dina said...

it looks delicious!

Carol Roe said...

I'm about 4,500 ft altitude, what adjustments should I make if any?

pastry studio said...

Hello, CarolMaeWY!! I'm sorry to say I've never worked with high altitude adjustments, so apologies for that. However, based on the instructions I’ve read at most websites, including this one

the important differences are in the amount of flour, leavening, sugar, liquid and baking temp with lots of variation therein, depending on ratios of ingredients. Based on the info I've found, I've tried to adjust the calculation and posted them in parentheses here:

Chocolate Rum Cake
Serves 8 - 10

1 cup (5 oz) flour [1 C + 2 T]
1/2 teaspoon baking soda [1/4 t + 1/8 t]
generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 oz) strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) rum
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar [1/4 C + 3 T]
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar
1 egg @ room temperature [2 eggs]
1 teaspoon vanilla

350 degrees F. [365 - 375degrees]
23 – 25 minutes [18 – 20 minutes]

Also need to factor in how your oven works - if it's calibrated or whether it runs hot or cold. So the cake should be checked on the early side at 18 minutes.

Most say it's all trial and error, which must make baking at this altitude fairly frustrating. Wish I could be of more reliable help. If you do try this recipe and it doesn't turn out, let me know what happens and maybe I could be of more help with the symptoms.

Thank you.

VelezDelights said...

Hi! Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas! This looks great, as always. Keep on posting all the yummyness! :)

pastry studio said...

Hello, VelezDelights! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you, too! Thanks so much for stopping by.

saturday mike said...

I finally had an opportunity to make this cake and it was VERY good. I actually made it a day before I was going to serve it, so the flavors could develop and it was worth it. You could taste the rum, but it wasn't "boozy." And the cake itself was incredibly moist. A simple, and delicious, cake!

pastry studio said...

saturday mike, always good to hear your feedback. This is just what I was aiming for: rum flavor without tasting boozy and a good moist crumb. It was a delicate balance because chocolate is such a strong flavor. And baking it a day ahead gives the chocolate a chance to hang out and relax with the other ingredients. So glad you enjoyed it.


Christina said...

Hi, I just wanted to thank you for posting this fabulous recipe. As a follow passionate baker, I was requested by a customer to make an Italian Chocolate Rum Cake and this is the recipe I chose after doing much research. It came out absolutely gorgeous and most importantly my customers were extremely satisfied! I added my own twist which consisted of a simple open 2 layer cake filled a chocolate rum mousse and garnished with whipped chocolate roses sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings. Really decedent! I am making this cake again for friends tomorrow so just thought I'd share some recognition and thanks :) I'm excited to make this cake a second time!

pastry studio said...

Christina, that is hugely fabulous! Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback. Your version sounds delicious. I've also done this with a hazelnut mousse but was thinking to keep it simple here. I hope you enjoy it again the second time. YAY bakers!