Happy belated Easter everyone! Hope you had a nice visit from the Easter Bunny... Even if it was cold and flurrying extra huge snowflakes all day. St. Louis weather has not caught up with the recent “SPRING” designation, but I didn’t let that get in the way of having a nice Easter. I was expecting guests and there was lots to do.
I knew Pops and Miss Molly were coming over for dinner all week and I went into planning mode. Planning mode got interrupted by water in my basement (thank you Midwest rain... But thank you even more that my house is far away from the flood plain, so I can’t complain to much about a little bit of water in an old city basement) and a fender bender, but I made it through. Menu planning was fun and I came up with a pretty atypical Easter meal – fried chicken. I can’t tell you how many time over the past few months I have heard my Pops say “I wish I could find a good fried chicken place.” See his favorite restaurant for chicken closed and he just hasn’t been the same since :) So, when I saw a recipe in the March issue of Cottage Living for Oven Fried Chicken that included hot sauce and paprika, I knew I had to try it. The recipe was accompanied by steamed asparagus and lemon dill potato salad recipes that looked good too... The next step was to choose a dessert. And after some thought, I decided on Mom’s Rum Cake recipe.
Saturday I went grocery shopping and got a hair cut (yeah, I needed that). Then I took a little break to watch the movie No Reservations. Pretty cute. A nice American version of Mostly Martha. Watching it totally put me in the cooking mood. Perfect. I even pulled out my white chefs apron yesterday and folded and tied it like in the movie. Dorky, I know, but it also kept my clothing safe of grease splatters! And I set the table. I pulled out a white restaurant table cloth and layered it with a vintage printed cloth. I mixed it with my everyday scarlet and white Fiesta. My dining room is one of my favorite rooms, although I use it mostly as a hallway through the house. I wish I was able to use it more for guests. My dining room set was my Gram and Gramps and it fits so perfectly in my house. They were the same era. It feels right... And I set Pop’s place where Gramps would have sat. Perfect.
So yesterday morning, I started with Mom’s Rum Cake. I love this cake. I have eaten it more times that I can count, but I have only made it once... About 5 years ago with Mom and somehow, it flopped. I think we messed up the proportions for the glaze and when we poured it on, the cake just turned to mush. So, I was worried as I attempted it yesterday. I didn’t want to mess it up for a number of reasons. And my go-to girl for cooking questions wasn’t available, so I just talked to the air and asked her to watch over me. It all turned out fine... It was way yummy. What is really nice about this bundt cake is that it comes out of the pan so easily. I have had pretty bad luck de-panning cakes in the past, but with this one, the glaze makes it pull away from the sides all on its own.
With the cake out of the way, I was able to tackle the potato salad and the asparagus before Pops and Miss Molly arrived. I love when I can prepare most of the food ahead of time and then get a chance to relax with my guests. It is so much less stressful. And why have guest over if you can’t spend time with them? Even the chicken lent itself to this plan. I had to excuse myself for about 20 minutes to pre-fry the chicken before putting in the oven to back the rest of the way. It was much easier and a whole lot less messy than I expected it to be. And the majority of dishes were done ahead of time, so after dinner clean-up was easy too.
The meal went over very well. Pops loved the chicken and gave me his seal of approval. His “your a good cook” touched me more that he can know. All I can say is I had a great teacher!!
Just in case you want to give the cake a try, here is Mom’s recipe:
- 1 butter recipe golden cake mix (it really needs to be this cake mix)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding (packaging may have changed for this one, so I found a 3.1 oz and a 5 oz. So, I bought the 5 ounce and estimated)
- 1/2 cup light rum
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
Grease and flour bundt pan (I used Baker’s Joy to do this in one easy step). Preheat oven to 350. Crumble pecans into the bottom of the pan. Place cake and pudding mix into a large bowl. Add rum, water, oil and eggs. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. It will be golden and toothpick will come out clean. Remove from oven immediately. Pour hot rum glaze over the cake. This will cause the cake to settle and shrink a little. Cool cake for 30 minutes and then remove from pan.
During the last 5 or so minutes of baking the cake, start the glaze
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick butter (real butter, not margarine)
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1/4 cup water
Place ingredients in a small sauce pan. Stir till melted and then boil for 2-3 minutes. The glaze with thicken only slightly.