06 January 2013

Eggnog Pound Cake

Each year my mother makes a rum cake at Christmastime. The tradition has grown so mythic over the past 20+ years that she became unable to keep up with production and so last year stopped altogether. This was more devastating than than the news of the Hostess shutdown, though I'm sure a relief for her and her Christmas-postage budget as the full cakes as well as mini-versions were shipped across the country. 
My sister-in-law Meredith spoke of taking up the rum cake mantle, but amid news of an impending cross-country move for her and her family in January, she must've gotten distracted and/or my cake got lost in the mail.  Meredith?

In the meantime, I'd been having visions of this pound cake, laden with eggnog and a bit of rum. The cake graces the cover of the Flo Braker classic, Baking for All Occasions and it seduced me in its simplicity. So one day before our BIG CHRISTMAS GETAWAY, feeling in the festive spirit, I baked this lovely. 

Eggnog Pound Cake with Rummy Glaze
Adapted (slightly) from Flo Braker, Baking for All Occasions

Cake 1/2 cup dried currants
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extracts

Rum Glaze
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup confectioners sugar (optional)

Combine the currants and rum in a small bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (lower to 325 F if the pan has a dark finish). Butter a 10 x 3 inch Bundt pan and then dust with flour, tapping out excess flour.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside. In a large bowl or in bowl of stand mixer, beat butter on medium-low speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated.  If using a stand mixer, stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. On the lowest speed, add flour alternately with eggnog, in four additions, making sure that each are incorporated before you add next. Add vanilla last.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the currants and any remaining rum. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with spatula.

Bake the cake until the center and sides are beginning to come away from the pan, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.

In a small saucepan combine the sugar, run, and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes until sugar has dissolved.  (Note, in the original recipe the sugar is not dissolved and thus creates a snowy/crystally cover atop the cake. I missed this part of the instructions but liked the end result with the glaze seeping into the cake a bit more, similar to Mom's rum cake glaze which infuses the top 1/4 inch of her cake and thus keeps it moist for several days after baking). 

Place the wire rack on top of the cake while it is still in its pan, and invert cake, removing from pan. Slide a sheet of waxed paper or a cookie sheet under the cake/rack. Using a large spoon or pastry brush coat the top and sides of the warm cake with the glaze. Let it cool completely and then if you like, dust with confectioners sugar.

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