Friday, March 7, 2008


If ever there was a teetotaler to rival Carrie Nation it was my mother, Inez Wilson. That is, until it concerned her medicinal or culinary efforts. No one around her who had a chest cold was ever safe from the whiskey-peppermint candy concoction. I'm not sure exactly what it did but I do know it meant a good night's sleep. And then there were the cakes. She and my Aunt Marie could make some of the best fruitcakes. I admit to being one of those crazies who loves fruitcakes (not an excuse for Christmas presents, okay?) and these were those luscious, moist, dark, fruit-filled, raisin-plumped delights that were soaked for months in alcohol-laden cloths and then served in small, delicious slices with spiced tea from November until January. I'm sorry I never got that recipe. But I did get the long-cherished Rum Cake recipe. Here it gets interesting.

There was no way she was going to purchase the prized Demon Rum so who was next in line but her Baptist church organist daughter. I could only buy it here in Baton Rouge. Never in a state store in Tuscaloosa because the Deacon's Daughter must not be seen in such a place. She would then carry it back with her on return from a trip here or I would bring it with me on a trip home. Of course I never mentioned anything about "dry counties" in Mississippi or Alabama. Wonder what would have happened if one of us had been caught?

I'm sure my children have memories of "the" cake, too. She would sit one, or both, of them on the kitchen cabinet with her as she made the cake. And the Chosen One would get to help add ingredients, including the good stuff. After it was baked it was served to family and occasionally to ladies' club meetings. It's pretty good even though I prefer a good Italian Cream or a slice of New York Cheesecake. Serve it warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little caramel sauce. And to our family, with a lot of memories!


1 C. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 C. cold water
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 C. Wesson oil
1-3 3/4 oz. pkg vanilla pie filling
1/2 C. Bacardi dark rum
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of prepared tube pan or bundt pan. Mix ingredients and pour over nuts. Bake until firm. Punch holes in cake and pour on glaze while still warm.


1/4 lb. butter
1 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. water
1/2 C. Bacardi dark rum

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

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