My husband and I just returned from a very nice cruise to the Caribbean and the first order of business for us was to make a rum cake to celebrate our return.
A number of years ago, we took a trip to the Cayman Islands and while there were introduced to Tortuga Rum cakes. We brought back a few for gifts and thought we would find rum cakes on the other islands we toured during this most recent trip, but no cakes--just plenty of rum.
When we were on St. Thomas and St. Kitts, part of our sight-seeing tours took up to rum distilleries and I decided that though I don't use rum for any other reason, I would love to try my hand at making a rum cake like those from the Caymans. We bought some Brinley Shipwreck Gold vanilla-flavored rum in St. Kitts from for under $20 and since the only cakes available in the ship's store were were selling for around $33 each, we felt making our own cake would be a great bargain.
There are tons of recipes online for rum cake and one I found for the very famous Tortuga cake, one of the best at http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Tortuga-Rum-Cake/. Most of them are the same. I did purchase a box of vanilla instant pudding to make the cake and I used buttermilk, rather than whole milk and omitted the nuts, but the cake was very good--and very much like the rum cake we remembered. We have left-over spiced rum to make a few more cakes and I think they would work well for family gifts--maybe at Christmas.
I do need a bundt pan. I don't know why I never purchased one but it would make a prettier cake than my regular tube pan makes. I don't think the cake will make us tipsy, though the flavor of the glaze can be kind of strong and I am not planning to consume large amounts. The conventional wisdom is that the alcohol evaporates when heated. I'm not really sure about this but I know that I don't need the extra sugar, butter--or the alcohol after my vacation.
I do know that the cake is very good and we are really enjoying our last taste from our amazing trip.