I guess you could consider this is one of many Bundt cakes, but it is different indeed. Though it is shaped and baked in a Bundt pan, the almond slices and the abundant soaking in rum syrup make it Italian American, as it has been made for generations at the Scialo Bros. Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island.
Second-generation daughter Carol Gaeta still mans the store, and on the morning when we appeared unannounced, a happy couple, mother and father of the bride, were picking up all the traditional cookies and cakes to be set out at the wedding reception that evening. Italian American from Rhode Island, now living in Chicago, they wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion in their family’s Italian American style in their native state.Once the excited mother of the bride had packed all her goodies in the car and left, we had an opportunity to chat with Carol. She took us in the back, where baking sheets full of the butter-rum cake were lined up for soaking. Carol was generous enough to let us taste it, and gave us this delicious recipe to share with you.
- For the cake
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for buttering the pan
- 6 ounces almond slices, finely ground in a food processor, plus 2 ounces almond slices, toasted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/3 cup milk
- For the syrup:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dark rum
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the inside of a 12-cup capacity nonstick Bundt pan with softened butter , and coat the pan with the 2 ounces of toasted almond slices. Stir together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Cream the two sticks of butter and the sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks a few at a time, letting them get incorporated before adding more. When all the eggs and yolks have been added, add the lemon zest and beat on high for 1 minute. Pour in half of the flour with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour is incorporated, pour the milk. Finish with the remaining flour, and mix just until you have a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour to I hour and 10 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake with a pairing knife, and invert onto the rack.
Make the syrup while the cakes is still warm: Combine 2 cups water, the sugar, and the rum in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook down by about a quarter, or until you have a thin syrup. Transfer the warm cake to a rimmed plate or baking sheet. Brush the cake with the syrup, letting the cake soak up the syrup for a few minutes between brushing, until all the syrup is used.