Chocolate Rum Cake

Regular readers are by now well aware that Mr. Apron is a big fan of chocolate, but most you probably do not know that he is also quite the connoisseur of rum. Whenever we go on a cruise we always come home with rum from the various islands we’ve been to and if possible go to rum tastings on islands where they normally have the reserve rum and other varieties that are hard to find in U.S.  Those are the rums that are not for mixing!


Given Mr. Apron’s love for both chocolate and rum it should be no surprise that he loves chocolate rum cake.  On our first trip to the Caribbean we bought a ton, and then I realized this should not be that hard to make.   After trying numerous recipes we finally found one that most closely resembled the cake you find on the tropical islands. And you might be surprised that this recipe uses cake mix! I did try another version from that was made from scratch but this version came of a lot better. You won’t believe how easy it is to make. This is Mr. Apron’s favorite and it is usually what he requests for his birthday.


I highly recommend using a good quality rum.  Do not use a white rum, I recommend Mt. Gay Eclipse or Gosslings Black Seal.  (If you go to Bermuda pick up some Gosslings 140 proof and try a cake with that).   


Chocolate Rum Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
½ dark rum (Pink Apron recommends Gosslings or Mt. Gay)
½ cup brown sugar

Glaze
½ cup butter
¾ sugar
¼ cup rum
¼ cup water

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.   Grease bundt pan.  In mixer beat the cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil, water, rum and brown sugar on high for 3 minutes or until well blended.  Pout the batter into the bundt and bake for 50 -55 minutes.  

While the cake is baking in a saucepan combine butter, sugar and rum for the glaze.  Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. When you take the rum cake out of the flip it over on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet and immediately pour the glaze over the cake while it’s still warm. 

Note:  Pouring the glaze can get messy.  I recommend using a ladle or pyrex measuring cup to make this process easier.  I also put a tray or dish under the rack to catch the excess glaze.

Truck Cookies

Several posts ago I mentioned that I had a backlog of posts to do, and I wasn't joking.   This weekend I realized how many I actually had to do and that I had better get posting! I'm not sure why I haven't seemed to have much time to post.  It's probably because I sit in front of a computer all day, and I try to avoid doing the same thing when I get home.
I was asked to do trucks for a little boy's birthday party earlier this summer.   Trucks are not a hard shape, or require much detail, but my cookies can be a little girly.  I like sparkles, pinks, etc, so trucks seemed a bit more of a challenge for me.  I haven't exactly spent a lot of time around trucks (I lived in the city for over well over ten years up until recently) but overall I was very pleased with how these came out.  I love the bright primary colors.   I did want to add some sanding sugar, but Mr. Apron nicely informed me that you don't put sparkles on trucks.
Lots of posts coming in the next few weeks.   Stay tuned! 

Sugar Cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix well. Put a handful of the freshly made dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Put the rolled dough, including the parchment paper, on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes or longer. Your dough will be chilled and ready to cut and bake with now wait and no added flour! Repeat with scraps after cutting cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes. Let cool.
Source: Fancys Flours

Royal Icing
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until icing forms a peak (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Source: Wilton


Democrat Donkey Cookies

Political cookies are not new the Pink Apron.   This time last year, I was making campaign cookies for one of my dear friends who was running for (and subsequently got elected to) office.   I made these donkey cookes for a local Democratic Town Committee Picnic I recently went to. I actually had a hard time finding a donkey cookie cutter.  They were everywhere last year, but I guess since it is not a presidential election year, they are not as popular.
I did add sanding sugar to both the red and blue icing, but it didn't photograph well.   In the picutures it more looks like little bumps, but trust me those bumps are sprinkles.  

Sugar Cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix well. Put a handful of the freshly made dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Put the rolled dough, including the parchment paper, on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes or longer. Your dough will be chilled and ready to cut and bake with now wait and no added flour! Repeat with scraps after cutting cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes. Let cool.
Source: Fancys Flours

Royal Icing
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until icing forms a peak (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Source: Wilton

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

One of my friends came over Saturday night and kindly gave a huge bag filled with blueberries she has picked that morming.   These blueberries were so fresh and huge I knew immediately that I would be baking something the next day.   When I got up Sunday morning it was pouring out, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to put the berrie to good use.


In the Boston area Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins are ledgendary. The Jordan's muffins were huge, packed with blueberries, and topped with sugar.  Jordan Marsh was bought out by Macys in the mid-1990s and the bakeries were closed.   People still talk about how much they miss the muffins.   A former Jordan's baker used to sell the muffins at a bakery he opened after Macys took over, but that bakery has since closed too.
This is the Jordan Marsh muffin recipe that has been floating around for a while.  I do not know if this is the exact reciepe that Jordans used, but it comes close.   The key is lots fresh blueberries and crunchy sugar on top. This receipe also calls for mashing some of the blueberries into the batter which I think really adds to the flavor and makes the muffin super moist.  These are not the kind of muffins that a non-blueberry eater could pick the berries out.
I used gradulated sugar for the top, because that is what I had in the house, but I think next time I make these I will buy some sugar in the raw to give the tops that extra crunch.
Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
½  cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½  cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½  cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl & set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar and cream at low speed until the mixture is smoothly blended. At low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and blend. Add the flour mixture and the milk a little at a time, alternating one with the other, and beat until blended, then remove the bowl from the mixer. Mash ½ cup of blueberries with your hands and gently fold them in with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the rest of the berries and gently fold them in. Place paper muffin cups into the muffin tin, and fill each cup with slightly more than ¾ of batter. Sprinkle the remaining ¼  cup sugar over the muffin tops, then bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and puffy. Remove from oven. If desired, top muffins with melted butter and sprinkle with more sugar immediately after removing from oven. Let cool before serving.