Rum and Cake? or Rum and Coke? from Marta’s Cuban American Kitchen

One year ago, Val sent me an email asking if I would consider posting recipes here on Babalú. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure my feature, Marta’s Cuban American Kitchen, was going to go over very well. I confess I was a little intimidated. We Cubans, as you know, are extremely opinionated. Not just about politics, but about our music and especially about our food. Besides, I was pretty busy taking care of my big, fat Cuban family and I wasn’t sure I’d have the time to devote to doing this well. Then, of course, there was the problem of my smart alecky sense of humor . . .
“What if they hate me?” I worried.
“They’ll love you,” He reassured me.
So I took the plunge and started cooking and taking pictures and posting recipes and I found out it was true. Well, I don’t know if you love ME, exactly, but I do know that you love my Cuban recipes and my stories. After a year, I’m still motivated to cook and take pictures and post recipes, so that’s something to celebrate. (Well, I’m always looking for reasons to celebrate, but that’s not important right now. =D)
To Val: I’m so grateful that you invited me to be a part of Babalú. I love you like a brother.
To My Fellow Babalú Contributors and Cubiches: You continue to blow my mind with your compelling and insightful posts. I am truly humbled and extremely proud to be a part of the Babalú family.
To All You Faithful (and hungry) Babalú Readers: You have all been so gracious and generous with your comments and praise. Thank you for not voting me off the island. =D
Now, who wants cake? 😉

The Cake:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
12 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Grease a 9×13 pan and line with parchment paper.
3) Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
4) In another bowl beat egg whites and sugar to make a meringue.
5) Gradually add the egg yolks to the egg whites one at a time.
(You can just use a spoon. The trick is to add them in slowly.)

6) Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and add the vanilla extract.
7) Pour into the prepared pan and bake about 25 – 30 minutes or until golden.
8) Remove from oven and leave it in the pan to cool.
9) After the cake is cooled, cut into squares and pour the syrup over it.

The Syrup:
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 stick cinnamon
long strip of lemon peel
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup rum (I like Bacardi Gold, but that’s not important right now. =D)
1) Put sugar, water, cinnamon, lemon and lemon peel in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.
2) Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and rum.
3) Allow the syrup to come to room temperature before pouring on the cake. Pour slowly.
4) Chill for at least an hour before serving. Oh yeah, and put the cake in the refrigerator, too. =D
If you have a little rum left . . .

1) Pour a shot of rum into a tall glass
2) Add ice and a 12 oz. Can of Coca-Cola (it MUST be the real thing).
3) Squeeze a little lime into it.

4) Raise your glass and repeat after me:
“Que viva Cuba libre!”
Then go here and get your Cuba Libre shirt.
See? I can do more than just cook. 😉