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Spiced Rum Bundt Cake

Boozy baking at its best.

“If you’ve ever stepped foot in New Orleans, you understand why it’s referred to as the northernmost Caribbean city,” writes Kelly Fields in her first cookbook, The Good Book of Southern Baking. “The connections run deep, from the climate and the music to the celebratory spirit and the food.” In Fields’ new release, co-authored by Kate Heddings, the chef behind New Orleans restaurant and bakery Willa Jean honors this cultural connection with a recipe for a syrup-soaked cake, based on a confection gifted by a neighbor. The cake improves with age, writes Fields, and is especially satisfying when sliced and then griddled with butter until golden brown.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 boxes (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 8 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 11⁄2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • Soaker Syrup:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325° degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally butter and lightly flour every crevice of a 10-cup Bundt pan. To make the cake batter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer) mix the butter, flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, oil, and salt on medium speed until well combined. Stream in the milk, followed by the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure a smooth batter. Stir in the rum and vanilla paste.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 85 to 95 minutes, rotating the pan after 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and vanilla. Keep the syrup warm for soaking. (You can also make the syrup ahead of time and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat when your cake is about to come out of the oven.)

Remove the cake from the oven once it’s finished baking and immediately place a serving plate over the pan. Very carefully invert the cake onto the plate and remove the pan. Using a fork or a paring knife, poke holes in the cake and immediately (and very generously) spoon or brush the syrup onto the cake while still hot. You can serve the cake immediately or let it cool and serve it at room temperature with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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