I spend a lot of time thinking about food, probably much more than I should. Largely, when I’m not thinking about recipes to invent, I’m thinking about the food that I enjoyed back in the old days when I did none of the cooking and all of the eating. Last week, for whatever reason, I found myself thinking about my mother’s Rum Cake. I didn’t appreciate this nearly enough when I was a kid. Back then, cake was not cake unless it had icing, lots and lots of icing. These days I appreciate a simple cake that is light on topping, but big on taste. Wondering if the Rum Cake was nearly as good as I'd remembered, I decided that I must make it, and started digging through one of my favorite possessions, my mother’s recipe box. I searched recipe by recipe, TWICE, to no avail. I did find a lot that I plan to try, but no Rum Cake. It was distressing.
Two days later, when I was talking to my dad, he mentioned that he'd found a piece of paper in the bread box when he reached for the package of sandwich buns in order to make himself a nice ham and swiss. Now, he has been using this bread box for nearly three years since mother passed away, and had never seen this slip of paper. When I asked him what it was, he said that he had set it aside for me because he thought I might want to have a look at it. You guessed it, it was the recipe for Rum Cake. (Cue the spooky music.) It is not often that I am rendered speechless (really, ask anyone), but I was then. It was almost as if mother was helping me out here.
As it turned out, it was as good as I’d remembered. It is amazingly easy to make, and yields a tasty, booze-soaked, sinus-opening goodness that will have you craving it morning, noon, and night. (Not that I would recommend it in the morning because of the alcohol content, then again, on some days, I would, so use your own judgment.) Her recipe, exactly as dad found it, is below. The sizes of cake mixes and pudding mixes, alas, have been reduced. I had no problem using the current 16.5 ounce cake mix and 3-1/4 ounce instant pudding.