Recipe: Pascal’s Chocolate Rum Cake
by Aneesa Davenport
illustration by Serina Koester
When I visited home last Thanksgiving, I got to watch my mother splash spiced rum into warm butternut squash before mashing it, then deglaze her fried sage pan with even more rum. She was trying to impress me—she knows that lately I’ve been asking friends abroad to smuggle back palm-sized bottles of Black Magic, the Indian brand that tastes like molasses infused with incense (perfect straight, but irresistible mixed with Thums Up, their cane-sweetened, betel-nutty cola), and that I add rum, or white wine, or Grand Marnier, or triple sec to all my recipes.
And she blames herself.
She first baked me chocolate rum cake for my third birthday, and she’s not sure whether or not all of the alcohol burned out of the icing. Some of the girls at that party are the ones who still email me for the recipe on special occasions, when their brothers graduate or their in-laws come to town.
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding 2 eggs
1⁄2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄2 cup dark rum
about 8 pecan halves
1/8 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter
1 cup finely granulated sugar
a little more than 1/4 cup dark rum
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and liberally butter or oil a scalloped bundt pan, ensuring that every spot is greased.
2. Place a single pecan half upside-down in every other section, sprinkling chopped pecans between them.
3. Combine other above ingredients well.
4. Pour into bundt pan, and bake for about 50 minutes.
1. Five minutes before the cake is done, melt butter in a small saucepan.
2.Add sugar and rum and boil for a few minutes, until sugar has dissolved. (Don’t burn your tongue tasting it!)
3. Slowly pour the icing over the cake while it’s still in the pan, and both cake and icing are still hot, letting it seep down the sides.
4. After it’s all soaked in, remove cake from the pan (you may need to run a knife along the edges first) and let cool.You probably won’t be able to resist serving it hot (I take mine with shots), but it’s best cool, and even better the next day, preferably for breakfast, garnished with blackberries.
Aneesa Davenport is a Bay Area writer.