Monday, May 4, 2009

Whole-Grain Rum Cake

Growing up, I always asked for rum cake for my birthday... it seems I've always liked cooking with liquor. The recipe I grew up with called for cake mix and instant vanilla pudding, but I figured I could do a little better for my 30th birthday. This version uses ground almonds, lemon, yogurt and a combination of white whole-wheat and oat flours. It uses a couple more bowls than the traditional recipe [with an optional frying pan] but it pays off in spades. These were a hit, and I didn't even tell people they were pseudo-healthy.

Recipe: Whole-Grain Rum Cake with Almond and Lemon

You can, of course use other flours. The oat flour makes it nice and tender, and I think it's worth seeking out. You can also use olive oil in place of the butter, but the cake will be a little more dense because you can't really cream it with the sugar. I considered omitting the butter entirely because a lot of the rise comes from the baking powder/lemon/ yogurt reaction... but chickened out because I wasn't sure it would work and I'd already tweaked the recipe quite a bit.

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 oz almonds, toasted [1/3 cup whole, probably 1/8ish cup almond meal]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 lemon, zest and juice, divided use
3/4 cup fat-free yogurt
8 tablespoons spiced rum, divided use
1/4 cup powdered sugar or superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 1 tube pan or 2 cupcake pans with oil and set aside.

In a standing mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form ~2 minutes. Scrape into another bowl and add sugar and butter to the mixing bowl and cream ~3 minutes. Meanwhile pulse the almonds and flours in the food processor until finely ground. [alternatively, put it all in a ziploc squeeze out all the air, and whack it with a frying pan until it's reduced to fine crumbs]. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, rum, and zest/juice from half of the lemon.

With the mixer running, add yolks one at a time to the butter mixture. Scrape down the sides, and add 1/2 of the flour mixture, then all of the yogurt mixture, then the rest of the flour, scraping the sides between each addition. Add 1/3 egg whites, and stir in, then add the remainder, folding it in carefully to keep it from deflating.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. While the cake is in the oven, whisk 3Tbs rum and juice and rind from the other lemon half with the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to make a glaze. Out of the oven, pour final 2 tbs of rum over the cake and let it cool 15 minutes, then unmold onto a serving platter and drizzle the glaze. Dust with additional powdered sugar just before serving.

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