Italian Cream Rum Cake

For the cake

(adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum)

1.25 oz. clarified butter (see below)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sifted cake flour

1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

To clarify butter: In a large sauce pan, melt 1 pound (4 sticks) butter over medium heat. Let the butter boil butter until the milk solids fall to the bottom and begin to brown. You want them to be a deep golden brown color. If possible, use a pan with a white interior so you can get a good look at the color of the solids. Pour through a very fine mesh strainer

Spray 9″ round pan with pan spray, line the bottom with parchment, and spray again.

In a large mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until just lukewarm, stirring constantly.

Place the bowl on your stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip it until very thick and tripled in volume. This will take about 5 minutes. While the whipping is happening, sift the flour and cornstarch together.

Remove about 3/4 cup egg mixture and whisk in the warm clarified butter. Sift half the flour mixture over the remaining eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly. Repeat with rest of flour.After all the flour is incorporated fold in the butter mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pans, smooth the top, and bake at 350 degrees, without opening the oven about 25-35 minutes. The cake will be golden brown and starting to shrink away from the sides of the pan a bit. If you must peek, wait the minimum of 25 minutes, or your cake might fall.

Loosen cake from sides of pan and turn it out on a rack to cool upright. When ready to use, trim top and bottom crusts (they should just about peel off) and soak with the rum syrup. The cake will be very fragile once wet, so take care in moving it.

**note for thicker layers double this recipe**


For the rum syrup

2 oz. sugar

4 oz. water

1-2 oz. dark rum

Bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature and add in the rum.


For the vanilla pastry cream

(Joy The Baker)

 1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)

Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat.

Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.


For the chocolate pastry cream

(Joy The Baker)

 1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 ounces finely grated bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate

In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)

Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat. Add chocolate to the hot pastry cream. Stir until melted.

Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Add chocolate to the hot pastry cream. Stir until melted.


For the buttercream frosting

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)

2 tablespoons milk or cream

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

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