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Grapefruit cardamom rum cake

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads
It’s about this time each year that we cold weather dwellers start dreaming about a getaway. You know the drill… white sandy beaches, little umbrellas, 10lbs of rum cake… it all sounds too good to be true. Especially when the dumb dreary blizzards don’t even turn out to be worth their weight.

That is, unless you happen to cruise out of Baltimore just in time to meet a cold front that extends all the way to the Caribbean. Add a justbarelynotbroken, recently operated on arm that makes a soak in the spa look less than friendly, and you might just find yourself scrapping the sand to hole up with fourteen documentaries and a slab of midnight pizza in your sweet, warm, gently swaying room on the sea… such was the story of our first, and only, cruise.

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads
It sounded like a great plan. Book a trip out of Baltimore (so close!) for a short getaway (so cheap!) during one of the coldest, most miserable months of the year. We’d celebrate my recent graduation from grad school and, as it turned out, the recent removal of a big itchy cast I’d been carrying around for two months thanks to an eventful trip to the snow-filled mountains of Maryland (more accurately described as manmade anthills of solid ice that break you when you fall…).

We boarded our cruise with our smuggled alcohol and our Sunday best, ready to enjoy the sun and the sand, but it didn’t take long for reality to set in. Three of our five days would be spent in transit… just off the coast of the U.S., in the Atlantic… during Snowmageddon.

Those sunny deck chairs we’d imagined? Not so much…

While the weather might’ve conceivably warmed up around Florida, photos of the trip have us huddled on the beach in our winter coats, sporting one sexy arm brace and two very sexy shades of pale.

One so-so, sweatshirt-worthy day in the Bahamas was little consolation, but we made up for it by focusing on the subpar packaged rum cake, readily available at all times, and the Jeep they trusted us to drive, like the race cars at Disneyland, only as long as we kept up like ducks in a line.

At night, we’d curl up in our cabin – mercifully equipped with a window to the great freezing abyss – with the movie list and the buffet schedule. And one or even twice a day we’d get all dressed up and shuttle off to dinner like Downton Abbey, ordering two entrees, five desserts, and at least two bottles of wine…

It was bliss.

We must’ve laughed more on that trip than on any other… and forevermore, rum cake – and midnight pizza — will have a special place in my heart.

Especially when it’s cold.

… the good news is that this one doesn’t come in a box.

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threadsgrapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads
Grapefruit cardamom rum cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour , baking soda, salt) and set aside.

Separately, cream butter and sugar with cardamom and vanilla, then add eggs one at a time.

Mix flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, then pour into greased and floured pan.

Bake for 60-90 minutes, but don’t open oven until 60 minutes have passed.

Cake is done when a stick inserted into center comes out clean.

To prepare, remove cake and poke full of holes, being careful not to go all the way through to the other side. Leave in the pan, and pour 1/2 prepared syrup (recipe below) over cake.

Flip cake onto wire rack and remove pan. Poke small holes in top of cake and cover in remaining syrup, soaking completely.

Glaze cake prior to serving. (Glaze recipe below.)

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
½ tsp cardamom
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup dark rum

Heat sugar in a saucepan over medium heat with butter, juice, and cardamom. Add raisins and let cool. Once cool, add vanilla and rum.

2 cups confectioners sugar
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons+ grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest

Melt butter and mix with sugar, juice, and zest. While still warm, pour over cake on wire rack. Transfer cake to cake plate and serve.

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads


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