This is the kind of cake that makes me want to be a 50s housewife, put on a vintage apron, listen to Django records while baking in the kitchen and pretend to be Betty Crocker. Or to just become a pirate, Pirates of the Caribbean style. I came pretty close to this scene yesterday as I made this, minus the 50s housewife part. The pirate part is already half-way a reality.

Ok, before we get too far, I know what you're thinking. Black pepper?! In a cake? Are you NUTS?!? That stuff doesn't belong in baked goods. That's not very 50s-housewife-traditional. Hey, you're not the only skeptical one. I was a little worried about how it would taste, too. But this is 2013 and you have to have the courage to try stuff like this, and I kept reminding myself the rum flavors would more than likely overpower it anyhow. And that's pretty much the case. It's just a side kick hint of pepper, that you can hardly taste. There's only 2 teaspoons of it in the batter anyhow. It compliments the rum splendidly well, I must say. It's not over the top insanely peppery. I only really taste it after I've stopped eating, like a half hour or so later, I notice hints of pepper as an after-taste but it's very mellow. Trust me. This is a ridiculously deeeelicious cake.

You know the traditional rum bundt cake your grandmother would make for gatherings, your first introduction to alcohol through delicious baked goods? More than likely she used a yellow cake mix with instant pudding and this tastes just like it, minus the unpronounceable ingredient list. It may not be as yellow, but the rum flavor is still there. Like, a lot there. I'm not going to disclose the amount of rum that goes into this cake (although be my guest and add it up when you see the recipe at the bottom of the post), but apparently it's more than the average traditional rum cake. I've always found that when it comes to booze-filled cakes, the more the better. It bakes out anyhow, and I'd rather have a little too much than not taste the flavor come through at all. You know? You know.

I'll be honest, I didn't adapt this recipe at all, except for that I baked it less than the original time called for. My oven baked a little warmer than normal, so I pulled it out at around 52 minutes, and honestly should have probably pulled it out around 45. Check it with a toothpick around 45 and see if it's still gooey or not. Anyway, this recipe is straight from the genius guys of Baked NYC. I own all of their baking books (1, 2, 3) but hardly ever make anything out of them! My goal, starting now, is to change that. All of their recipes are genius, full of all the real baking stuff: butter, eggs, cream, buttermilk, and sugar (and not to mention a bit of booze here and there). This recipe in particular is out of Baked Elements, my personal favorite, as it has sections of several recipes based on their ten favorite ingredients: peanut butter, lemon/lime, caramel, booze (like this one!), pumpkin, malted milk powder, cinnamon, cheese, chocolate, and banana. Um, hello. I love all of those things! Each chapter has a few fun facts about each ingredient, such as what is "rum-running", found in this chapter: illegally carrying rum ashore or across the border. Yeah, it's all good stuff. If I could ever make a beautifully designed and photographed thoughtfully planned cookbook like this someday, my life would be complete.

Anyway, you need this triple rum black pepper cake in your life. For reals. And just a little FYI, I used Kraken Black Spiced Rum. It's amazing. Not only does it have a pretty label, but it tastes phenomenal. I've used it for baking more than for drinking, but a splash of it in a White Russian never hurt. Just sayin. Doesn't this bottle just make you want to want to sail the open seas as a pirate searching for black octopi while drinking dark spiced rum? Cause it sure makes me want to.

Triple Rum Black Pepper Bundt Cake

From Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients

by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

Makes one 10-12 cup Bundt cake

For the Rum Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup good-quality dark rum (Kraken)

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Rum Syrup:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup good-quality dark rum (Kraken)

For the Buttered Rum Drizzle:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons good-quality dark rum (Kraken)

Make the Rum Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray (or butter it and dust with flour, knocking out the excess flour).

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, black pepper and salt, and set aside.

  3. In a larger bowl with a stand or hand-mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating for 10-15 seconds after each addition until incorporated.

  4. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup (or any other bowl), pour the buttermilk into the cup, add the rum and vanilla, and whisk or stir vigorously until combined.

  5. Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat for 10-15 seconds after each addition or until incorporated.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Use a small knife or very small offset spatula to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Turn the cake out onto the rack and let it cool completely. Wash and dry the bundt pan.

Make the Rum Syrup:

  1. In a medium saucepan with high sides, gently stir together the butter, sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves and the butter is melted. Stop stirring, increase the heat to high, and allow the mixture to gently boil for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, transfer the mixture to a pourable glass measuring cup or bowl, stir vigorously to reduce excess heat, and stir in the rum.

  2. Place the cake back into the bundt pan and with a toothpick or skewery, poke the bottom of the cake several times. Use a spoon to slowly drizzle a bit of the rum syrup over the cake (they note that you don't have to use it all--you can save a bit for later as it goes great on French toast or ice cream... I saved about 1/3 of it). Let the cake stand bottom side up in the pan for at least 2-3 hours (I only let it sit for 1 1/2 hours), then invert it onto a serving platter and remove the pan.

Make the Buttered Rum Drizzle:

  1. Place the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Pour the butter over the sugar and whisk until combined. Add the rum and keep whisking until glossy and almost pourable. Drizzle the glaze along the crown of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The cake can be stored at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.

XO The Baking Bird