Have you ever had a mug of hot buttered rum? It is a treat on a cold night. (A delightfully dangerously delicious drink and why wouldn’t it be with butter in the name!!!) For an even better treat, snack on a few pecans while you are sipping your cocktail! It is this combination that sparked my idea to make a hot buttered rum caramel pecan cake -well, to make the topping and filling anyway. I am not a baker, so I will take any shortcut I can find!! That’s what I love about this dessert. It can be made with a store-bought angel food cake or pound cake, or it can dress up slices of leftover cake. It can be made quickly, too. This comes in handy if you have company coming into town and you realized at the last-minute that you need a dessert. (O.K. maybe I realized it earlier, but I am a great procrastinator!!)
Now for the caramel pecan layer. I totally cheat on this part, too. Not that my guests are not worth the extra effort, but I was busy making them some gumbo, too!! (If you have a favorite caramel recipe, feel free to make some caramel and add some toasted pecans to it and proceed.) In a microwave glass bowl, I add 10 caramel candies (unwrapped, of course!). These candies can come in handy. Remember the caramel apple bread pudding http://wp.me/p57UhS-4U To the candies, add 1 TBSP of cream, half & half, or milk. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Remove and Stir. Add 1/2 TBSP-1 TBSP more cream, half & half, or milk (use less if you would like a thicker caramel) and microwave additional 20 seconds. Remove and stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (see http://wp.me/p57UhS-6Z for toasted nuts)
I know the discipline it will take not to eat some of the caramel mixture, but keep telling yourself you at least get to lick the spoon when done. Spread the caramel pecan mixture on the bottom half of the cake.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 4 TBSP butter. Add 2 TBSP dark rum, 2 TBSP water, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1/3 cup brown sugar (dark or light) and 1 cup pecan halves (or pieces). Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Return heat to low (add an optional 1/4 tsp cinnamon) and stir an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour the hot buttered rum pecan mixture over the top of the cake letting all the goodness drip down the sides! That’s it! Slice it using a serrated knife (so cake will stay fluffy) and serve warm! (Can always reheat it in microwave). Great with some vanilla ice cream.
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What other fillings would work in this cake? A chocolate filling? A peanut butter filling? Think about substituting your favorite liquor or cordial for the rum. Irish cream liqueur is a winner! (Or just add some extra butter!!) What other nuts would be good? Almonds? Think about your favorite candy. Use those flavors to help you create you own signature cake. What other flavors could you add to the hot buttered rum topping before it is done? Sliced bananas? Think bananas foster!!
FOOD FUN: Since the early 1800’s, the Angel Food Cake is said to be the “food of angels” because it was so light, airy, and white. Author Evan Jones theorized in his book, American Food that angel food cake was created from a leftover!! Thrifty cooks made angel food cake by using the egg whites leftover after making pasta! There is anonymous quote, “Let your life be like Angel Food Cake…sweet and light.” Why not start tonight with a bite!!