Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The 21st Century Housewife’s© Rum and Raisin Cake

This is one of those cakes that really isn't pretty.  Reminiscent of gingerbread, it's just a good, honest cake that tastes fantastic with a cup of tea or coffee.  It has the potential to be a very adult cake if you want it to be, with lashings of delicious rum, but if you prefer, you can just leave the rum out.  It still tastes amazing.  Only in that case I think you need to call it Raisin Spice Cake to avoid worrying anyone!

I was inspired to make this by my Great Auntie Margaret's Spice Cake which I made as part of my Family Food History and Recipe Project.  She got the spicing just right in her cake, so I thought it would be a great starting point for something with a few more ingredients in it - and as I had some rather lovely raisins (really plump, juicy ones) - I decided to work with those.

My recipe is a bit easier than my Great Auntie Margaret's, mainly because I have access to a lot of modern conveniences that she didn't - like an electric mixer for starters.  So I've been able to tweak her method so you don't have to do quite as much stirring and it is a whole heck of a lot quicker.

Although as I mentioned before, this is not a beautiful cake, it tastes almost ambrosial with a bit of good vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.  If its lack of aesthetics really bothers you, you can always dredge it in icing sugar.  Or you could frost it - but if you do, you are on your own - this is one rich cake all by itself - heaven knows what trouble you could get into if you frosted it!  But if you do, I can't help but suggest a frosting with some lemon in it....

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 generous cup raisins
2 to 3 tablespoons rum
(dark or light, whatever you have on hand, but dark for preference)
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

Put the raisins in a bowl and pour the rum over top.  Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs and add the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking soda and spices together into another bowl.  Stir in the coconut.  Add this flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, stirring after each addition.  Now stir in the rum soaked raisins, along with any rum that has not soaked in.

Transfer the mixture to a greased or lined seven to eight inch square pan and bake at 350℉ (about 170℃) for 25 to 30 minutes until a skewer (or piece of dry spaghetti) inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack.

If you can bear to wait, this cake tastes even better the next day.  It stores beautifully for a few days at ordinary room temperature, just be sure to cover it once it is cool.

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