Rum Cake from Thomas Keller’s & Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way. ~ Truman Capote, Summer Crossing
In recent months, it is not often that I have been afforded a leisurely day in the kitchen to cook or bake. Not just any cooking or baking, but rather, preparing recipes that require labor and time to create something special. While it may not appeal to some, the satisfaction of spending all day over a hot stove or in a kitchen warmed by ovens in baking mode is gratifying and one of the reasons I love to cook. At the end of the day, there’s something pleasurable about a demolished kitchen with dirty bowls, pots, pans, and gadgets filling every square inch of counter space. Of course, that’s before the reality of cleaning the dishes sinks in.
It’s the process of creating a dish that excites me. Yes, the final product has to taste good, but I enjoy the steps in a recipe and working through the creative process as much as I enjoy the final outcome. After all, playing in the kitchen is half the fun.
There are days when the kitchen calls me and I need to succumb. No matter what else is on the agenda, I will break away and focus on preparing a dish or two. At the end of the day, Mr. B is very happy with that decision, too.
A few weekends ago I spent such a day making a Bolognese Sauce that simmered slowly all day. Adding water and seasonings over many hours, the sauce was reminiscent of Bolognese Sauce that we’ve had in Italy. You cannot substitute the time and love that goes into a slow cooked sauce. We enjoyed that rustic pasta dish with a bottle of red wine as much as we appreciate an evening out in a great restaurant.
In addition to the Bolognese Sauce, I baked a Rum Cake that day from Thomas Keller’s and Sebastian Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook. Also known as a Tortuga Cake, which originated in the Cayman Islands, this recipe is a favorite of Chef Sebastian Rouxel’s. You may remember that I received a copy of this gorgeous cookbook several months ago at their book signing in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been whispering from the shelves, begging me to put it to use in the kitchen.
I had purchased almond flour in anticipation of baking this cake over the holidays, but never found the time. I was determined to bake this cake before the winter had past. It is a rich and dense cake made with four cups of almond flour, regular flour, a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, nearly three cups of sugar, and Myers’s Rum. The aroma of this cake baking that morning was, needless to say, intoxicating.
Chef Keller told the audience, the evening we met him in Nashville, to throw away measuring cups and spoons and to use a metric scale for accuracy in baking. While I did not heed that call entirely as some recipes I love use standard measures, I did enlist the metric scale for this recipe and was precise with the instructions and ingredients.