It's that precise, orderly, Zen master state of being that one needs for baking that eludes me. You can't play fast and loose with measurements or mix up baking soda and baking powder with any success. Having to bake without wheat flour is a whole other level of needing to have the various flours and gums in stock and remembering not to flop them into the mixing bowl too vigorously so that the fine particles powder one's face in the blow back. It's like baking needs a classical music soundtrack and I've got bebop and world music playing in my mind. I'd rather make soup.
But take a look at this beautiful cake I made the other day. Me, Rachel, the Crispy Cook, followed a recipe and it not only was pronounced delicious and devoured by the family and one newish boyfriend type (he ate my cake with gusto but is not yet within my Circle of Trust), but it looked really, really beautiful! Feast your peepers on this Bacardi Rum bundt cake which I made from the new cookbook by Anne Byrn "The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free (NY: Workman Publishing, 2011).
Fancy schmancy! It was very easy to mix this bad girl up and the texture was springy and not at all dry like so many other gluten-free cakes I've attempted. Byrn relates that she experimented for a couple of years with various gluten-free cake mixes, learning from her experiments that the grittiness of the rice flour in these mixes can be tempered with sugars and instant pudding and playing around with proportions of liquids and baking times.
This is the first recipe I made from this cookbook, but it will not be the last, as there are 75 other recipes for other bundts, traditional layer cakes, cookie bars, brownies and even a classic wedding cake recipe. The Crispy Husband has a birthday next month and even though I traditionally make him a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, I think I will surprise him with something different, like the German Chocolate Cake (p. 60) or a Boston Cream Pie (p. 82) and see how he likes it.
Thank you to Workman Publishers for sending me a review copy of this cool new GF cake bible and to Anne Byrn for spending so much time working up these toothsome recipes. With the publisher's permission, I am also happy to share the recipe for the cake I made so that you can test drive this great cookbook out for yourself. Anne's got a few other gluten-free recipes on her website which you can check out as well.
Bacardi Rum Cake with Buttered Rum Glaze -
(reprinted with the publisher's permission from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn, NY: Workman, 2011)
There is nothing better than a good rum Bundt cake, and the classic Bacardi cake is the best of them all. This recipe is much like the original Bacardi cake from my first Cake Mix Doctor book, but made with a gluten-free cake mix, of course. The difference is the glaze, a better glaze with some brown sugar in it. The glaze seeps into the cake, keeping it moist, and full of good rum flavor. The pecans in the bottom of the pan are totally optional, but I love how they get crunchy as the cake bakes.
For the cake
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional, see Note)
1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
1/4 cup (half of a 3.4-ounce package) vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup Bacardi dark rum (The Cake Mix Doctor says it's okay to use light rum too which I did)
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the buttered rum glaze
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Bacardi dark rum
1. Make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray. Scatter the pecans evenly in the bottom of the Bundt pan. Set the pan aside.
2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, ¹⁄³ cup of rum, and the water, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Pour the batter over the pecans in the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.
3. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 40 to 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the buttered rum glaze: Place the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Add the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of rum, and stir to combine over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils and thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the glaze cool.
5. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely, 5 to 10 minutes longer.
6. Using a wooden skewer, poke a dozen holes in the top of the cake, being careful not to loosen the pecans. Very slowly spoon the cooled glaze over the warm cake letting it soak into the holes in the cake before adding more. Let the cake cool to room temperature, 20 minutes longer before slicing and serving.
Note: If you have a nut allergy, omit the pecans and dust the pan with cinnamon sugar (see box, page 118). The cake will be just as delicious.
Keep It Fresh! Store the cake in a cake saver at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze the unglazed cake, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let the cake thaw overnight on the kitchen counter before glazing.