CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Find yourself with a few extra bottles of holiday cheer? Put a dent in the bottles with some spirited cakes. Not that it's much healthier to soak a rich cake in rum than it is to drink it straight, but we'll all get healthy after the holidays.
The rum cake is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, known also as Ree Dummond. Her recipes are often decadent and this one is no exception. It involves 1 cup of rum and 1 1/2 stick of butter. The recipe is one Butter Queen Paula Deen would love. In fact, Drummond also hosts a show on the Food Network, but she delivers hers without Deen's cloying Southern drawl. Y'all.
The Whiskey Praline Cake is based on a recipe developed and published by Jack Daniels, where they know a thing or two about whiskey. You'll use just over a cup of whiskey to make this cake and the whiskey sauce that tops it.
If the thought of a whole boozy cake sitting on the kitchen counter sounds too tempting, take the quantity down several notches to a single serving with Bailey's Mug Cake. Mug Cakes, if you haven't heard, are single servings of made-from-scratch cakes that are baked in the microwave. You measure about five or six ingredients in a mug, stir and zap in the microwave for a couple of minutes. So easy a college student could do it.
Lemon Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake is a bit more involved and uses only 1/2 cup of wine, but it calls for three pears, readily available now. If you're lucky enough to be the recipient of a gift of those succulent pears boxed by the likes of Harry & David, you might be also find yourself with a glut as the whole box tends to ripen simultaneously. Here's a solution.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Lemon Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
3 large pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 tablespoon dry ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
COMBINE the lemon juice and zest with the wine and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar n a skillet over low heat. Add the pears and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the raisins.
HEAT the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the pears, slightly overlapping, over the sugar.
BEAT the butter, granulated sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, baking powder, baking soda and salt together with a hand mixer in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Add half the milk followed by half of the flour, mixing before adding the remaining half the milk and flour. Spoon into the prepared pan over the pears.
BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then place a large overturned plate or platter over the cake. Invert the cake so it is standing on the plate. If any of the pears stick to the pan, carefully remove them and return them to their place on the cake.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 90 calories from fat (30 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 50 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 29 g sugar; 4 g protein; 105 mg sodium.
1 18-ounce box yellow cake mix
1 3.5-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rum, either dark or light
1 cup chopped pecans
Brown sugar (optional)
1 1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cups rum
HEAT oven to 325 degrees F.