We made it to the Annapolis boat show just one day behind the original schedule and lucky we were a day late. Torrential rains had been battering Annapolis for most of the week. Our first full day I hid at the marina trying my best to stay dry and baking. That night on the other hand, was a party hosted by the World Cruising Club who had organized the World ARC round-the-world rally where I had met Umineko.
If there’s one thing that brings cruisers out, it’s the promise of free alcohol. Four other boats from the WARC were there. This kicked off a weekend of joyful reunion and festivities.
Nothing builds camaraderie and strengthens relationships like struggle and fighting through difficult situations. Though sailing around the world is fun and a wonderful adventure, there is also a good measure of danger. It was wonderful to see our old friends from the WARC, and this weekend especially because it was one of the most dynamic WARC member’s birthday.
The year before we had celebrated Andrea’s birthday in Mauritius at an unforgettable party so this year’s reunion was perfect. The scientist and successful artist and her husband had decided that the UK was a bit cold and damp for them so had sold the business and decided to sail around with their family. After a year in the tropics they had decided that warm weather was much nicer than the chilly climate of England and were selling their house and living on their boat in warmer longitudes.
The Mauritius party was impossible to recreate, but Corinne, another fabulous WARC cruiser, booked the Annapolis Yacht Club for cocktails and a wonderful dinner.
I had been thinking about what kind of cake would be the best for Andrea’s birthday for months. Then it hit me: rum cake. Made with rum from Mauritius.
Years ago a friend gave me the recipe for Meyer’s Rum Cake. It was delicious and an easy recipe using a cake mix. I made the cake (the bottom layer of the pictured cake is the Meyers recipe), but while I was mixing I sampled the batter. It tasted slightly stale, chemical; like something that had come out of a box. What was I thinking? I could do better than cake mix!
The cake came out wonderfully; the ideal cake for a reunion of mariners. (we won’t talk about the decoration… I never claimed to be a cake decorator). This is my loose (and more alcoholic) version of that recipe.
Following Seas Rum Cake
- 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cream
- ½ c water
- ½ c dark rum
- Preheat oven to 350 (175 c or Medium heat)
- Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar
- Cut butter into dry ingredients until pea-sized lumps
- Make a well and pour in eggs, vanilla, cream, water and rum
- Mix thoroughly
- Grease and flour a pan
- Pour mixture into pan
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn pan and bake another 20 minutes or until toothpick (or sharp knife) comes out batter-free
- ½ c butter
- ¼ c water
- 1 c sugar
- ½ c rum
- Melt butter over very low heat
- Stir in water and sugar and simmer stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved
- Remove from heat
- Stir in rum gradually until mixture is uniform
- Prick cake with fork and drizzle glaze on top and sides, allowing cake to absorb glaze. The process may take a while. Drizzle a few coats on, leave the cake, and then come back to it in 10 minutes giving the time for the syrup to fully absorb. Repeat until syrup is gone.
- 1 c bittersweet chocolate (I like chips but you can also use baking chocolate or a bar)
- ½ c cream
- ¼ c rum