Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Visit, a Cake and Rum

In the short time I’ve been blogging I’ve learned a few things. One is that if you want to blog, you need to read blogs. There’s so much to learn from others who’ve been doing the very thing you’re trying to do. I can’t say how I stumbled on Marcia’s blog, Menopausal Mother but from day one I was hooked. Marcia writes about the good, the bad and the ugly of middle age. She is honest and funny, refreshing and funny, and just plain funny. Whenever she posts, I read.

Marcia has been blogging longer than I have and has a loyal following. She hadn’t had a FB page for her blog and when she started one, we started a conversation. At one point she told me that she has a signature cake and actually offered me the recipe. I, of course, suggested she write about it. Since I do food on my blog and she doesn’t on hers (are you catching on to my evil plan), I did something I’d never done before.  I offered her a guest post.

And there it was, I extended an invitation. And lucky me, she accepted. So not only is Marcia visiting my blog today, but friends, she brought cake:

Butterfingers Rum Cake by Menopausal Mother | Featured on

There are 2 things in life that help me decompress after a particularly difficult day. I call them my “double B stress relievers” --- blogging and baking. Several months ago I discovered a blogger who shares the same ideal of “when the going gets tough, the tough get baking!” When this talented blogger & baker invited ne to do a guest post on one of my favorite holiday cake recipes, I was honored and ecstatic for the opportunity to participate. Thank you, Karen.

Baking is in my blood --- I grew up in a sugar-obsessed family. If you trace my family tree, it leads to sugar-coated roots. Baking was EVERYTHING! Holidays were our specialty --- the baking started weeks before Thanksgiving and didn’t end until after New Year’s. It was not unusual to find our family covered in flour and rolling out dough at 2:00 am. We were notorious for these holiday treats based on family recipes.

Although I was never a fan of spiked baked goods (I prefer my liquor in a glass, not in a cake), my oldest sister was always on a quest for a tasty rum cake recipe. Her obsession prompted our search for the elusive, perfect recipe. Sadly, she passed away before ever finding it, but one day as I was packing up her belongings, I came across a piece of yellowed paper in her kitchen --- it was the original Bacardi Rum Cake recipe. We had talked about this recipe before but never tried it because the base for the cake comes from a box mix. This was sacrilege in my mother’s home where everything was made from scratch.

In my sister’s honor, I decided to bake the cake, and was amazed by the results compared to all the homemade versions we had tried. After tweaking it a bit, I came up with a delicious version that would make my sister proud. This cake has now become a family tradition and a rum cake ritual in our neighborhood during the holidays. I’ve made it with all different types of glazes and toppings, but the Butterfingers cake seems to be the most popular. The cake is so good that back in the day even pirate rum runners such as Captain Hook and his cousin Captain Morgan would have given an arm (or a leg) for the recipe. Enjoy this holiday treat . . .  and beware the pirates!

Butterfingers Rum Cake | | #recipe

(I made this one!)

Be sure to read Marcia’s blog here: Menopausal Mother
Check out her new FB page here:  Menopausal Mother – FB

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

                           recipe by:
                            posted on:

1 box Pillsbury yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup oil (plus a few drops more)
1/2 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 cup white rum (depending on how rummy you like your cake!)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

*Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased bundt cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes (or until knife inserted in center comes out clean). Let cool 10 minutes before glazing.

1 and 1/2 sticks butter
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rum (or a little less if you don’t want it too strong)

*Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly, until all sugar is dissolved. Remove cake from pan and begin glazing while still warm. Use a medium sized serving spoon or a baking syringe to “inject” glaze into the soft cake. You can use the tip of the spoon to poke the cake and drizzle the glaze inside as well. Drizzle glaze all over the outside of the cake too, until it is completely soaked inside and out. Set aside.

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

*Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and cream and whisk rapidly until mixture thickens (1 –2 minutes). Do not boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon glaze over top of cake and let it run down the sides.

12 oz Butterfingers candy bars, crushed in chunks. DO NOT USE A FOOD PROCESSOR to crush the candy --- it will be too fine. I broke it apart and smashed it so that I had both little chunks and large chunks.

*Scatter candy pieces over top and sides of cake. You want to do this while the chocolate glaze is still warm so the candies stick to it easily. I push some of the larger pieces into the cake as well. 
 *This cake tastes amazing served warm but also freezes well and is just as delicious if slightly warmed in the microwave!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Emergency Blogcast Test

This is a test of the Emergency Blogcast System. Do not panic, this is only a test.

 As many of you know I’ve had a little trouble with my feed. By a little trouble I mean that Google has rejected my feed time and time again.  That’s why I don’t show up in the Reading Lists of over 250 people who were kind enough to follow my blog. I’m getting a bit of a complex. Yes, I know, that’s a personal problem. 

A blogger friend has been working to fix my feed. That’s a whole other story for another day, and I fully intend to tell it, but for today I can say that little by little she’s getting pieces of the puzzle put together.

So this is a test of the Emergency Blogcast System. I’m writing this in my normal font but a different program to see if the program is the issue. But as long as I have your attention, I’d like to tell you about something that’s coming up next week. Nice segue? 

I have a friend I met through blogging who, a few months ago, started a new blog. This is over and above the one she already writes. Her vision for this new blog was to have it be a collaboration. She invited a number of bloggers to join and put together a community. I was one invited to join The Epistolarians.

I have to admit that I’m very skeptical about doing Guest Posts. I’ve done a few but on the last one I got burned. Like third degree burns. So instead of diving in the deep end of the Epistolarian pool, I’ve been sticking my big toe in the water. I’ve written a few things and I have done a lot of behind the scenes work, coming up with this main logo for the site:

Blog badge | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

and this secondary logo as well:

Blog badge | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Now I’ve decided to make my first attempt at sink or swim.

Be sure to look for me: 

Blog badge | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Here: The Epistolarians   

Next week.

This has been a test of the Emergency Blogcast System. All is well folks, nothing to see here, go on back to what you were doing.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Monday, November 26, 2012

Comment Fail Jail

I comments on my blog, I really do. I appreciate every single person who shows up in my page views as having taken the time to read what I have to say. Not everyone leaves a comment and that’s fine. But here’s the other side of the equation: not everyone who does leave a comment should. 

Comments are like recipes, some are in the running for your all-time favorites and others you throw out the recipe and mourn the waste of sugar. 

Eggnog Bread | | #recipe

Eggnog Bread

I use Comment Moderation. This means that they all go into limbo until I either approve them and theyre published or I delete them and they’re sentenced to life in Comment Fail Jail.  I may have too much time on my hands, but lately I’ve been categorizing the prison-bound comments before imposing sentence. These are the categories and the actual quotes:

Comment Fail Jail | | #MyGraphics

The in a hurry commenter:

“You should me back http:/HerBlogAddressHere”.
She was in so much of a hurry she didn’t even proofread her own comment. She must have followed my blog and wanted me to follow her back but she left out the most important word “follow”. Oh, and a passing reference to the post would have been nice. Delete.

The I only speak SOME English commenter:

Ich denken fast immer nur an das Eine.  Visit my site at: ww.MoreGermanWordsHere.”
She doesn’t speak enough English to comment in English, but she knows how to say “visit my site at”? And by the way, according to Google translate, her comment on my post translates to “I think almost always only to the one”. Delete.

If this were High School, this category would win most popular:
The One size fits allcommenter:

“great blog… I like it and very interesting …I think it's so useful for many people ...”
This is someone who most likely leaves the same comment on blogs all over the blogosphere, whether it’s pertinent or not. I’m sorry, what do you find more useful, the fact that my kids drive me crazy? Or the fact that I bake to relieve stress? Delete.

 “nice blog, have a nice day”
I try to leave a thoughtful reply to all the comments posted on my blog but what am I going to say to this? “Nice is nice?” Delete.

“thanks for sharing” 
Sharing the story? The recipe? The blogosphere? The Planet? Delete.

Үou have endеd my 4 day long hunt! God Bleѕs you man. Hаve a nice ԁay. Bye Have a look at my website ww.xxxxx

Huh? Delete.
The Skitzophrenic commenter:
good content on (name of the post he left a comment on). ClickHereForFreeInsuranceRates.”
Now this person could fall into One size fits all, but I gave him his own category because he left this comment on 6 of my posts, all at the same time, and in all 6 he used a different name as the person leaving the comment. Anyone want free (when do you pay for them anyway) insurance quotes from someone who’s not even sure of his own name? Delete.

When I delete a comment, it always wipes the smile off of my face. To avoid that, I’ve developed a quick tutorial:

Commenting 101

1. Read the post before commenting. Two to three minutes tops, you can do it.
2. Think. With your brain.
3. Write a comment that has at least an iota of relevance to, a passing reference to, a thin shred of commonality with, or is minimally pertinent to something you read in the last 2 minutes.
4. Proof read your comment. Take your time, there are infinite do-overs here.
5. Proudly send your comment before the court where it will be judged worthy or sentenced to life in the Comment Fail Jail.
6. Be brave, come back and see the fate of your comment. When published it’s rewarded with a response.

If you follow these simple steps, it will get you into my favorite category of all:

The I Get Youcommenter:

Sarcasm AND baking? I love you already!”
Thanks Shellybean, and every other person who takes the time to actually read my blog and share their thoughts. You make my day.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics
Eggnog Bread
Ingredients Bread:  
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
2 tsp spiced rum
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 (3.3 oz) package of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup cinnamon baking chips
Ingredients, Glaze:
1 TBSP eggnog
1 TBSP spiced rum (or another TBSP eggnog)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan.
*Beat butter, eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar and vanilla just until smooth.
*Mix in flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice, just until incorporated. Gently mix in cinnamon chips.
*Bake approximately 60 - 75 minutes or until center springs back to the touch. Check after 60 minutes, you may need to tent tin foil over the top at that point.
*Cool for 5 minutes. Run knife around the edge and gently use it to lift bread from the bottom to loosen bread from the bottom and remove bread from loaf pan.
*Mix glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Once bread is cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top.
*Store in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving.