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September 08, 2009

Tipsy Treat: Our Favorite Bahamas Rum Cake Recipe

by Mollie Chen

During the busy season it's near impossible to get a table at the Rock House, one of Harbour Island's prettiest hotels. It sits on a slope, so the open-air dining room is high above the street with a phenomenal view of the harbor. Locals know that the best time to go is around 6:30 p.m. so that the sun drifts lazily below the horizon as you eat. They also know that there is only one way to end the meal: with chef Jenny Learmonth's ultra-rich, boozy rum cake. Ask for a scoop of her homemade honeycomb ice cream on the side--the crunchy crystallized honey gives the dense cake just the right amount of texture.

When I got back to New York, I wanted to recreate the experience for friends so I asked for the recipe. Read after the jump to see how Learmonth makes her rum cake. 

A disclaimer from Learmonth: "I never use 'boxed' cake or Jell-O in any other dessert. I don't know what is inside these boxes, but trust me, it works!"


For cake:
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 half fresh pineapple, cut into small pieces
18.5 ounces yellow cake mix (1 box)
4-serving-size instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum

For glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum


Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of the pan. Combine all cake ingredients and then beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan and then invert on a serving plate. Prick the top all over with a fork and then drizzle the glaze over top of the cake.

Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Note: The rum will cause steam. Be careful not to burn yourself.

For more from the Bahamas, check out Condé Nast Traveler's September guide. And don't miss the videos from Harbour Island, Exuma, and Cat Island.


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