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A few years ago when I worked at Vogue, my boss and I were on the constant lookout for special desserts to send to colleagues as holiday and thank you gifts. We sampled everything from fancy chocolates to high-end cookies, but our favorite was a rum cake from The Island Shop, a small boutique in Key Biscayne, Florida. It's a simple homemade bundt laced with rum, baked by someone who lived on the Key.
I hadn't been much of a rum cake enthusiast before that. All the commercial ones were too alcohol-heavy. I had to find a recipe that was distinctly rum-flavored and not overwhelmingly boozy.
This one has lots of butter and heavy cream—so it has to be good, right? Very moist and dense, it's full of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of grated orange zest. It was winter when I first baked this and the cold weather suggested a hot buttered rum. But rather than drink it, I used the ingredients to make a glaze for the cake. With winter nearly over now, I'm thinking more along the lines of rum and coke.
This rum cake is inspired by the classic drink. It has a good dose of rum and lime zest, and the glaze, which is used to soak and coat the cake, is full of dark caramel and Coca-Cola.