Cake Day: Mom's Rum Cake

Maybe it's the approaching holidays, but I'm in the mood to bake. Or maybe it's because it's Friday, Cake Day in the Reeves household.

On the first day of 2013, I decided I wanted to do something special each week for the family. Like many authors, my family sometimes gets short shrift when it comes to special meals and fancy desserts. It seems I'm always trying to finish a book or working on some writing project. We writers get stuck in the fictional worlds we create. It's easy to take our families' support for granted.

Life Is Short; Eat Dessert First

So I decided to start doing something special for them once a week. The plus is that I'd be focused on something creative but different from my writing which is my job. I remembered how my mom made a cake about once a week, and how excited we kids would be when we came home from school and smelled the unmistakable aroma of baking. Mouthwatering didn't begin to describe her cakes. They were wonderful.

I decided that Friday would be Cake Day, and I'd try my best to make something special each Friday. After all, life is short. Eat dessert first. Sadly, this is too true. I decided to stop working so darn hard and enjoy life more as well as make it more enjoyable for my family.

I've tweeted about my Friday being Cake Day several times, but I've never shared the recipes. Today as I thumbed through my mom's collection of recipes, written on index cards, I choked up just seeing her beautiful handwriting. I've shared some of her recipes in family Christmas letters, but I decided to start sharing them with you too. (The picture above is not the cake I'm making in a bit, but the rum cake looks like this.)

The Story About Rum Cake

This cake always struck me as rather funny because my Mom did not drink alcohol at all. I remember one time when a cousin came to visit, and he had a six-pack of beer he wanted to put in the refrigerator. My mom told him in no uncertain terms that she didn't condone drinking "liquor" in any form.

Like many good Southern Baptists and Methodists however, cooking with liquor was perfectly acceptable. She never saw the humor in this, but I often laughed when I saw some of her concoctions like the fruitcake so soaked in brandy that it posed a fire hazard. Admittedly, most of her cooking with liquor held no trace of alcohol which was volatilized by the heat.

Anyway, back to the recipe, which, by the way, uses a cake mix so it's super easy.

Mom's Rum Cake

Cake Ingredients

1 cup chopped pecans
1 box yellow cake mix
1 4-ounce package Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup dark rum

Cake Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Sprinkle nuts evenly in bottom of prepared bundt pan. (I spray mine with Pam or Baker's Joy.)
3. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and rum.
4. Blend the ingredients then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
5. Pour mixture over the nuts in the bundt pan.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes.
7. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool for 15 minutes.
8. Invert onto serving plate.
9. Glaze while the cake is still warm. (Glaze recipe follows.)

Rum Cake Glaze

Glaze Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dark rum

Glaze Procedure

1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, and water, stirring until butter and sugar are melted.
2. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so sugar does not scorch.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the rum.
4. Return to the flame and boil again for a couple of minutes until the alcohol is volatilized leaving the flavor only.

Takeaway Truth

Make something special for your family today. Mom's Rum Cake may be perfect. Bon appetit.

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