Raisin is one of those things you either love it or hate it – there is really no in between unless you can transform them into raisin bran bread or rum raisin bundt cake. I hate raisin (yes, I said hate) with a passion and don’t even try to sneak those buggers into my chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies. So you may ask ‘why the heck did you make this bundt cake with raisin then’? Well, a couple of reasons. Lovely folks from California Raisins sent me two bags of raisins for a contest I was suppose to participate in but failing to send some important documents in a timely manner, I was unable to do so. So what is a girl suppose to do with two bags of raisins except for make rum raisin bundt cake. My brother and I loved rum raisin ice cream while growing up and since he is in Dallas for a short visit, I wanted to share a slice (or slices) of rum raisin bundt cake together reminiscing our childhood before he is off to being a responsible adult. Remember he graduated back in May? My little brother has some great plans ahead and I wish him nothing but the best.
Rum raisin cake is traditionally made during a holiday season such as Christmas but if you are Nepali, this is a technically a holiday season for us. The biggest festival for Nepali Hindus called Dashain is going on right now – it’s a 15 day long festival and I believe we are in day 5 of 15 today. I was in Nepal during Dashain last year; while nothing beats the feeling of being physically present in Nepal and enjoying the festivities with the family, it was very nice to have my brother and cousin around this weekend. We ate Nepali food, played cards, and talked about good, bad, and better days we have been through together. And did I mention how much they loved the rum raisin bundt cake? It gives me much joy to feed people and see them enjoy something I created in my kitchen with my own hands. It’s a pleasure and honor when they go for seconds. Before I dive into how wonderful the cake is , let me share a couple of hiccups I faced along the way before the cake turned out perfectly beautiful. I used the recipe from Cooking Light and had made minor changes (which is noted below) but the cake stuck to the pan and fell apart. My heart completely sank but being as stubborn as I am, I just couldn’t give up because the recipe is from Cooking Light and it can’t fail – it must have been something I did. So I wanted to redo the cake immediately except that I was out of baking powder which is kind of an essential ingredient in baking. A quick google search not only saved a trip to the grocery store (I hate going to the store just to pick up one thing) but also told me that I can totally DIY baking powder. 1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch/arrowroot powder (optional). Since we are on the topic of DIY – the recipe calls for cake flour and in case you don’t have it, for 1 cup of cake flour, measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then sift 5 times, says Joy the Baker.
I always forget that raisins such as California Raisins are naturally sweet, very economical, and great for snacking. They are a good source of antioxidants and one of the few foods providing naturally occurring inulin, a dietary fiber that supports healthy digestion.
Last DIY tip before I shut up – if you run out of powder sugar, use a coffee grinder or a high speed blender to grind granulated sugar into fine, powdered sugar. To prevent it for caking or if you are making icing, you should probably use a tablespoon corn starch per cup of sugar but if using immediately, you will be fine without cornstarch. Yes, I was out of powdered sugar also. Anyways, the moral of this Rum Raisin Bundt Cake is if you want to achieve something – just go for it. Don’t be afraid of the uncertainties that lies ahead. Give your 100% – seek different paths if you have to even if it means extra miles – be proud of your hard work…and at the end, the result will be sweet and delightful just like this cake. I hope my brother is reading this but I highly doubt it just like the last time.
To my fellow raisin haters, if you are still iffy about raisins, when raisins are allowed raisins to soak in rum and baked into rum raisin bundt cake, they get all plump and juicy which was actually a pleasant surprise. The original recipe is from Cooking Light but there is nothing light about the recipe. The cake though is very delicious and moist that will be a hit during tea/coffee break or simply for snacking but I highly suggest making this cake when you have a crowd. It is also great for gift giving especially during holidays! Few things to note before baking – the recipe says the batter makes enough for a 10-cup bundt cake and 6 mini bundts but it didn’t work on my first try. On my second try I used all the batter in my bundt cake pan and although you see a few cracks on the top, it seemed to hold better and came out very clean from the pan. It is also important to let the pan cool for 10-15 minutes before inserting the knife and removing the cake from the pan. This could be another reason why my cake fell apart the first time.
- ⅔ cup golden raisins
- 4 tablespoons dark rum
- 3 cups cake flour (or DIY using all purpose flour)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder (or DIY with baking soda and cream of tartar)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (i used almond)
- Baking spray/ oil to grease the pan
- for the glaze:
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar ( or DIY with granulated sugar)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine raisins and rum in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Place butter in a large bowl then beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add oil, 1 cup granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat them together until light and fluffy then add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Drain raisins and reserve liquid.
- Fold raisins into batter and pour into a well greased bundt pan.
- Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let the pan cool completely before removing the cake.
- In the meanwhile, combine ⅓ cup granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.
- Cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in reserved rum.
- Brush syrup over warm cake. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Are you a raisin hater or a lover?
Do you go to the grocery store for just one item?