I’ve been on a quest for quite some time now. Not to brag, but I’ve been pretty successful at it. On its face, it is a fairly easy quest: I want to try rum from every part of the world. Once upon a time that meant hopping a plane, or a boat, to travel around the globe. Certainly not a bad way to live, but it tends to be hard on the wallet. The other option would be to find someone who was hopping a boat (or plane) and have them pick you up so rum, but that would involve a lot of trust and patience.
Nowadays it’s a whole different ball game. If one of the two amazingly stocked rum bars here on Key West doesn’t have it, I can easily order rum online from around the world and arrange for it to be delivered. Not as exciting
as trotting the globe, but imminently more practical and much easier to accomplish. Thanks to modern technology, I’ve been able to sample rum from almost all of the Caribbean islands, several South and Central American countries, and even Indonesia.
In spite of this success, there was still one Holy Grail of rum that I was sure I’d never try. Oh, me of little faith….
In 1878 the Havana Club distillery was built in Cuba and very soon thereafter started turning out some spectacular rum. It’s an embargoed product, but luckily I have a friend, who has a friend, who may have had a friend of their own, and just last week I obtained a few precious ounces of Havana Club Reserva Anejo. Let me tell you something. The Cubans may have some political struggles, but they sure do make one heck of a rum! This is easily one of the most perfectly balanced rums I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. Very smooth, a little heat, somewhat sweet, rich in color but with a light enough body that I could imagine sipping on it for a very long time.
One important note. There is a rum available in the states called “Havana Club” that is produced by Bacardi and while a great product, It is not the same thing…not even close.
So find yourself a Canadian friend, get your hands on a bottle, and Make Life One Long Weekend ™ . Follow me on twitter @popcornjack, and meet me here next week for more rumology.
- 1 1/2 lbs. Pillsbury® white cake mix
- 14 1/2 oz. water
- 2 eggs
- 2 oz. canola oil
- 3 1/4 lbs. Piña Colada White Chocolate Mousse (see recipe below)
- 24 oz. Toasted Coconut (see recipe below)
- 24 oz. crushed pineapple tidbits
- Myers Dark Rum in a spray bottle (see assembly instructions below)
- Pour half of the water into a mixing bowl.
- Add eggs and oil.
- Add the cake mix and whip for 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides using a rubber spatula.
- While mixing, add the other half of the water gradually over 1 minute.
- Again, scrape down the sides using a rubber spatula.
- Mix with a hand mixer or kitchen mixer for 30 minutes at medium speed.
- Pre-grease a 10″ x 3″ cake pan with butter or nonstick spray and add the batter to the pan.
- Bake the cake in a convection oven that’s been pre-heated to 300° F, on a low fan setting, for 1 hr. and 5 mins. When the timer goes off, place a toothpick in the middle of cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Allow it to cool completely in the pan.
Piña Colada White Chocolate Mousse
- 16 oz. (1 can) Swiss Chalet white chocolate mousse
- 2 qt. heavy whipping cream
- Slowly add the cream to the chocolate mousse in a mixer.
- While adding, increase speed until all the cream is incorporated.
- Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Place coconut on a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out evenly, making sure not to pile the coconut too high.
- Place tray in oven and toast coconut until it is a light-to-medium brown. Rotate tray every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
Cake Assembly Instructions:
- Cut off the very top of cake to make it completely level. Slice the cake into 4 equal layers, each 1/2″ wide. Cut away all brown edges on the top, sides and bottom.
- Completely spray the top side of the first (or bottom) layer with Myers Rum.
- Evenly spread 8 oz. of chocolate mousse over the layer. (The mousse should be smooth.)
- Evenly spread 8 oz. of crushed pineapple over the mousse.
- Place the next, “plain” layer on top of the layer with mousse and pineapple.
- Start building the cake by repeating steps 3-6 with the remaining layers. Do not, however, add crushed pineapple to the last (or top) layer; apply only the sprayed rum.
- Frost the top and sides with 16 oz. of mousse. Cover the cake completely.
- Coat the top and sides with toasted coconut, leaving no bare spots.
- Slice cake into 8 equal pieces for serving.
- 1 L Gold or Dark Rum
- 6 liters apple cider
- 3 cups dried cranberries
- 2 cups orange juice
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 5 star anise
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. all spice
Combine all ingredients in a stock pan and cook on medium heat for 1 hour. Strain through a find mesh strainer; garnish with an orange twist.
Yields 20 cups