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Rum cake is a staple across the Caribbean. From plum-pudding varieties for the holidays to light, sophisticated brown rum cakes for year-round celebrations, this elegant cake is a perfect foundation for all things dessert. Chef and cookbook author Ramin Ganeshram has a brand-new way to enjoy the famed confection (pictured): paired with mulled dried fruits, hard sauce and whipped cream for a sugar-plum vision strictly for the grown-ups.

Plus here are seven more favorites made better with rum:


Pork ribs smoked over hickory wood or cherry wood are delicious, but adding mango nectar, brown sugar and spiced-rum sauce sweetens the deal with a solid kapow!

*Candy Bar 

S’More Rum Candy Bar is just for the adults, made with Gosling’s Dark Seal rum, marshmallow, vanilla and graham cracker. It’s silky and crunchy at the same time.

* Iced Tea 

Who needs a Long Island iced tea when all you really need to do is add rum (preferably coconut) to a nice glass of fresh-brewed Lipton?

* Cocoa  

Turns out  and rum go together like peas and carrots. These are particularly festive for the holidays but are fun to make for any celebration. Go ahead and splurge on high-quality rum and pure cocoa — it’s worth it.

* Ice Cream 

Using the same ingredients as the beloved bananas Foster, banana rum ice cream is the perfect refreshing follow-up to a hot and spicy plate of jerk chicken. * Pancakes Literally add spirit to your morning routine by putting two or three tablespoons of rum into your favorite pancake batter. Light or spiced works better than dark. Add some granola for crunch.

* Turkey 

Let’s face it: Turkey can get boring. Turn your Thanksgiving tropical by basting your bird in orange juice, banana puree and coconut rum. Pineapple puree subbed for banana works too. You’ll never complain of dry Thanksgiving turkey again.

Ramin’s  for Tortgua Rum Cake Trifle

For Fruit Spread

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup currants

½ cup pitted prunes

¼ cup candied cherries

¼ cup candied citron

1 cup dark rum

1 cup cherry wine (Manischevitz cherry wine is a good one)

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise pod

2 whole cloves

For Hard Sauce

1½ cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons dark rum

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

For Topping

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

nutmeg for dusting

1 sprig mint leaf, for garnish

1 candied cherry, sliced in half for garnish

1.     Put the raisins, currants, prunes, cherries and citron in a large deep saucepan with the rum, cherry wine, cinnamon stick, star anise pod, and cloves. Place over a medium heat and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately lower heat to medium low. Allow to simmer for 25 minutes and remove from the heat. Cover and allow to steep for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

2.     When the mixture is completely cooled, strain out the fruit with a slotted spoon and place it in a food processor, reserve remaining liquid.

3.      Add ¼ cup of the stewing liquid to the fruit and pulse for 1 minute until the mixture resemble a thick jam-like paste. To achieve this consistency, you may add more steeping liquid if need be, 1 tablespoon at a time. Set aside.

4.     Make the hard sauce: Put the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium low until it is light and fluffy — about 2-3 minutes. If using a hand-held mixture, whip on medium-low until fluffy — about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly add the rum and almond extract and whip 30 seconds more until well incorporated. Stir in the orange zest until well incorporated. Set aside.

5.     Slice the rum cake into ½-inch-wide slices.

6.     Spread a thin layer of hard sauce onto a slice of Tortuga rum cake then spread a thin layer of fruit puree onto another slice. Place the sliced together to form a sandwich. Slice the sandwich vertically in half. Repeat with all the slices.

7.     Arrange the sandwiches around the perimeter of a glass trifle bowl. Then arrange the sandwiches along the bottom of the bowl. Brush the sandwiches with the reserved steeping liquid from the dried fruit.

8.     Repeat filling the bowl with the rum cake “sandwiches”, brushing them with the steeping liquid until the bowl is full and all the liquid is used up. You may have to cut the sandwiches into smaller pieces to make sure they fill the bowl tightly, without any gaps. Set aside.

9.     Make the whipped cream: Place the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer with the sugar and vanilla and whip until it holds firm peaks, about 2 minutes If using a hand-held mixer, whip for 4 minutes.

10.   Spread whipped cream over the top of the trifle and dust lightly with nutmeg. Refrigerate for an hour.  Just before serving, place the mint sprig in the center of the whipped cream topping and arrange the two half of candied cherry underneath to look like a holly berry branch.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

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