Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rum-Drenched Lemon Vanilla Cake

Chinese New Year has been a blast for me so far. Also love the long break which comes along with it as it means I can bake! Other than baking some CNY cookies which I've already made before, I've also made a loaf cake with the extra lemons I was left with from previous bakes.

These cakes carry rich vanilla flavors and zesty lemon brings the flavor up to the next level. The lemon rum syrup which the cake is soaked in adds an extra tangy oomph to these moist slices. And rum is awesome for the oh-so-alcoholic me. You can use good quality pure vanilla extract if you do not have vanilla beans at home. Think I've overmixed them a little though, they are not as fine crumbed as they can be in my opinion. The flavors develop overnight, so you can prepare them a day ahead if you wish to serve them to your guests. For me, it doesn't matter, I just dig into them the moment they're done.

Rum-Drenched Lemon Vanilla Cake (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)


For the Cakes:
373g all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
466g of sugar
2 lemons' grated zest
1/2 plump, moist vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 3/4 tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
160ml heavy cream
2 1/2 tbsp dark rum
212g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Syrup:
80ml water
50g sugar
60ml dark rum (I use 40ml lemon juice & 20ml dark rum)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-x-2 1/2 -inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. (Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them.) Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
3. Put the sugar, lemon zest and the pulp from the vanilla beans , if using them, in a large bowl and, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of vanilla.
4. Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated.
5. Whisk in the extract, if you are using it, then whisk in the cream, followed by the rum.
6. Continuing with the whisk or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick.
7. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.
8. Bake for 55 to 60 mins, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. (As soon as the cakes go into the oven, make the syrup.) After about 30 mins in the oven, check the cakes for color–if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.
8. Meanwhile, make the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.
10. When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 mins before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-blade sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes.
11. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.


  1. I always want to make a rum cake for us (the adults) to enjoy...but get emotional blackmail by my son and ended not adding any alcohol into our cakes.

    I wish I can have a slice of yours...

  2. i love this! very tasty and i love your texture!

  3. *salivating at yr bakes* kekeke ;)

  4. Zoe: not just your son, my mom isn't too impressed by this cake because she hates alcohol :P

    jess, cathy: thanks! :)

  5. You sound a bit disappointed. Please don't be. Your cake sounds wonderful and looks delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. This is the type of cake that will never go out of fashion!

  7. some cakes are best the day after...this looks good to me.

  8. Mary: thanks for your consolation, will do better next time!

    Shirley: yeah it's a traditional goodness hehe

    mangocheeks: yup. but my patience wears thin for that :P