Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Harry Nilsson Rum Cake

I have discovered a good use for spirits, besides capping off my evening with a sip of something pleasantly smoky.

I bought some rum for a specific recipe last fall, and, for the life of me, I can't recall what the heck that recipe was. And, seeing as how I'm a Scotch kind of girl, having a full bottle of rum did not turn me into a pirate. It sat on the shelf, mocking me.

Worse, I had a nearly full container of Coco Real sitting on the shelf, also mocking me because I had allowed it to sit until its sell-by date was upon us both.

And then, there was the lime. And the grated coconut.

And the cake mix.

And my best friend packing up to move two states away.  I had a belly ache.

So, I followed Harry's doctor's advice, and put the lime in the coconut.

And then, there was rum.

You can see where this went:

My Harry Nilsson Rum Cake


Rum concoction:

2 Tablespoons very finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup lime juice (if you can get key lime, it's the best)
1 cup coconut creme, thoroughly mixed
2/3 cup light rum

One plain cake mix, your choice of yellow or white (I used white)
eggs (see what your mix requires)
oil (see what your mix requires)
water (see mix instructions and note, below)*
1 cup rum concoction, plus more for brushing on during and after baking

2 8-oz bricks cream cheese, softened to room temp
1/3 cup rum concoction
2 cups (or more) confectioner's sugar
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut


Grease pans thoroughly (I recommend two 9" pans, for maximum effect, but use what you have), line bottoms with parchment, if you have it, and grease top of parchment.  If you don't have parchment, use a little bit of the cake mix to "dust" the pans.

In a drink shaker or a quart jar, combine lime juice, lime zest, coconut creme, and rum. Shake well. (If you want to do so, you can toss it in a blender, but that's more cleanup than I like to do.)

Preheat oven to the temperature recommended on your cake mix box (usually 350º F).  In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1cup of the above rum concoction, cake mix, eggs, oil, and water. Mix, pour into pans, and bake according to package instructions.

About 10 minutes before cake is done, brush top of cake with rum concoction, finish baking.

As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, brush top again with rum concoction.

Allow to cool, remove from pans, brush again with rum concoction, all sides.

When cake is completely cool, in a small mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/3 cup rum concoction**, and 1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar, using mixer at medium speed. Continue to add sugar until thickened enough to hold its shape in soft peaks.  Stir in flaked coconut.  Slather on cake like there's no tomorrow. If you so desire, add more flaked coconut on top.

 photo IMAG0276_zps02e00458.jpg
I fixed this cake on another occasion, replacing, with the rum mix, all the water the white cake mix called for, and then baking it in a jelly roll pan. It comes out a little denser than the usual cake – sort of halfway between standard fluffy white cake and pound cake.  Once cooled, it was then easy to cut in half, layer with frosting (this also has some green frosting color added), & stack before finishing the frosting as you see here. 

Chill (both you and the cake) about an hour. Serve cool, perhaps even topping with some dried pineapple decorating the top (but then, it's heading toward becoming a Pina Colada cake, and that's a whole nother song).

*Your mix may call for more or less than 1 cup water. The rum concoction should replace no more than 1 cup of the liquid required, so add water according to the needs of the mix.

**You are likely to have some rum concoction left over. Do not let it go to waste. Pour it over ice and sip it through a straw, while watching Beach Blanket Bingo, or some other sandy, bikini-laden and teen-star-studded delight.

Monday, January 07, 2013

How To Fritter Away Your Morning

I used to have a snazzy little recipe keeper, one I had received from a loved one, in which were all my favorite odds-and-ends recipes.  Well, that little book somehow developed legs and wandered off (or, it found its way to the landfill when the cleaners hauled away the contents of my hoarder-hovel).

Anyway, I lost a few precious recipes, and have been digging for them ever since. The nice thing about the internet is, a LOT of people share similar tastes, so many of my recipes could be recovered, more or less, by adapting already published ones on the various cooking websites & blogs.

In the case of this one recipe, however, I think I'm the only remaining cook to have had an interest in reviving a treat I used to make fairly regularly for my ain true luve, that being coconut rice fritters.

I'd come across the idea originally in a tattered collection of brand-name recipes published by… I have no idea who the publisher was.  All I recall was, I found it in a remainders bin at Kroch's  & Brentano's, in Chicago, when I was still in my teens.  It was larger than a standard notebook, cheaply printed, cheaply paper-bound, and contained "1001 Brand Name Recipes", all of which had originally been made available by food companies (e.g. the Tuna Rice Napoli – a casserole – was originally from Chicken of the Sea, and a chicken satay recipe within came from a peanut butter offer).

I have no idea whether this came from a rice processor, a coconut company, or some other, but I'd make a batch, and they'd disappear before I was finished washing up the bowls.

At any rate, I've managed to dig around and combine a number of different recipes, in order to get an approximate reproduction of that favorite dish.

On their own, the fritters are not very sweet, by the way.  If  you want sweetness, it comes with the amount of stuff you choose to sprinkle over them.

But, here you are:

Coconut-Rice Fritters photo Coconut-RiceFritters_zps5fadbe9e.jpg
Buttery Coconut Rice Fritters


3-4 cups oil for frying

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 large egg
2/3 cups buttermilk*
1 Tablespoon butter, melted

2/3 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

powdered sugar for sprinkling


In a deep fryer or a heavy pot, heat oil to 365º F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder salt, sugar.

In small mixing bowl (or one of those spiffy blending cups like tupperware makes), combine buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Mix well. Add rice and coconut, making sure it is completely mixed and rice grains have fully separated to be coated individually.

Add wet and dry ingredients together. Stir until completely mixed, but do not over-mix. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot oil.  Fry until golden, turning once.

Drain on paper towels.

Dust lightly with powdered sugar.  Serve warm.

*I've been known to add powdered buttermilk to lowfat milk for a slightly richer effect, when making fritters.  If you don't much care for the tang of buttermilk, though, you can get away with using regular milk. But I will think less of you, you big sissy.  ;)