It seems like I’ve been baking for forever. As long as I can remember, I’ve been making batter and tossing it in the oven, hoping what came out would be delicious enough to make my family smile. Pretty was a secondary thought, but it had to taste good.
Unlike most, I didn’t have those sweet memories of being in the kitchen baking treats with my grandmother, or dotting flour on my mother’s nose as we laughed over raw cookie dough. I do have a favorite memory of baking a strawberry crumble cake with my sister for our mom’s 29th birthday. That was the most awesome cake fail ever! But I didn’t learn to bake from my elders. My mother’s mother couldn’t cook to save her life, and i don’t remember ever being in the kitchen with my father’s mother. Mom could whip up a box cake when she wanted to, but for the most part, it was little ol me in the kitchen making a mess. Well, me and Betty. Ms. Crocker was my best friend.
My father’s sister Dorothy, or Auntie Dot as we all call her, was the Master of the Rum Cake. I remember around the holidays all of the grown-ups laughing about getting some of Dot’s cake and keeping the kids away from it. I remember walking in her house one evening and the sticky sweet smell of hot rum smacking me in the face. I had never drank rum, but I had tried her cake so I knew that’s what I was smelling. It wouldn’t take long before the giggling set in and the party atmosphere was in full swing.
Four decades later, my Auntie Dot asked me to make her a Red Shoe Classic Butter Rum cake. What an honor! She said to make it strong. Uh oh… As you know, i don’t add liquor for inebriation, i add it for flavor. So this was going to stretch me a bit. Speaking from experience, too much alcohol in a cake makes it bitter, fiery and soggy. None of those are likable characteristics in a cake. So i had to figure out how to make it strong without compromising the integrity of the cake (or my business). Enter Goslings 151 Proof Dark Rum… Catch the hilarious TikTok video here.
My brother-in-love had just brought us back a bottle of Bacardi Spiced Rum directly from the distillery in Puerto Rico, so I figured between them, Wonder RumTwins Power would activate and set this cake on fire. I not only added them to the batter, but while it was still warm and inverted, I poked holes and poured them on the bottom of the bundt. Once flipped, i poured more on top of the cake to soak in while it was cooling. I then made a butter rum glaze and basted her not once, twice or thrice, but four times just to make sure she was several sheets to the wind. And the final blow came in the form of rum candied pecans on top. This was my crowning achievement in the world of rum cakes. She had to love it!
Alas, i was so close! But considering she had a 40 year head start on me, i should have known my level up wasn’t there yet. But hey, I got a thumbs up!
Now it’s my turn, nay, my responsibility, to pour the love of baking into the next generation. My eldest daughter is an awesome baker. She just has no interest in doing so. But she can, so for that I take my pat on the back. My middle daughter loves experimenting with flavors and creating things, and of that I am proud. My son, however, will be the one donning the RSC apron in his future. He’s grown up with RSC, being one of my first taste testers (“Mommy is that the wine cake? Can I try the wine cake?” Please don’t call CPS.), my #1 hype man, my go to promo guy and now apprentice. He’s even developing an interest in Mixology to understand how flavors blend (again, no cally CPSy). We were gifted a box of Oreos and his whole face lit up. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. Anyone can make a Cookies n Creme cake, but who makes a dark chocolate Oreo cake with Irish Creme Whiskey? That kid, that’s who! And he murdered it! My husband doesn’t care for chocolate cake at all, and he enjoyed several pieces of it!
I was very impressed at his process. He actually did 99% of this by himself. From crushing the Oreos, to making the batter, to creating his own frosting, he took control of the kitchen and showed me he’s been paying attention! It was super moist, super chocolatey, and the Flipz gave it just the right texture contrast and saltiness. His piping is getting there, but that’s better than I can say about mine! I just don’t bother!
Now if i could just get him to wash his own dishes…