(Rum Cake With Currants and Raisins)
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dried currants (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup sultana raisins (1 ounce)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup dark rum
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3 teaspoons fresh, strained lemon juice
- In a small, shallow bowl, sprinkle the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar over 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk. Let the mixture stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely.
- Set the bowl aside in a warm, draft-free place, such as an unlighted oven, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture doubled in volume.
- In a deep mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar with salt and flour. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.
- Add the remaining milk, drop in the eggs and, with a large spoon stir the flour into the liquid ingredients.
Continue to stir until fairly stiff dough is formed.
- Knead the dough by pulling it with your hands - as though are pulling taffy - for about 10 minutes, or until
it is smooth and elastic.
- Drape the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel and set it aside in the warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in bulk.
- Punch dough down and knead in 3/4 pound of the softened butter, a tablespoon or so at a time. Knead in the
currants and sultana raisins.
- With a pastry brush, coat the inside of a 12-cup mold with the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter.
- Pat the dough into the mold; it should come about halfway up the sides.
- Cover the mold loosely with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume and has risen almost to the top of the pan.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, drape a kitchen towel loosely over the top of the mold and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Run a knife around the inside of the mold and turn the cake out into a serving dish. Carefully turn the cake over on the plate.
- Syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook briskly for 5 minutes, undisturbed, until the mixture forms a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- Pour the syrup into a bowl, then stir in the rum.
- Icing: With a wooden spoon, mix together the sugar, water and lemon juice.
- Slowly spoon the warm syrup over the warm cake.
- With a large spoon, baste the cake every 10 minutes or so with the syrup collecting around the cake.
- When all the syrup has been absorbed, you may ice the top of the cake with the white icing just before
serving, if desired.