Whether it’s called rum cake, black cake or fruitcake, in certain circles the dense, rum-soaked, fruit-laden dessert is the butt of Christmas jokes. “I don’t know why that is,” says Momofuku Seiobo’s executive chef Paul Carmichael. “Rum cakes done well are delicious.”
Carmichael has been working a long time on Momofuku Seiobo’s version. It was made in 2015, shortly after he started at the restaurant, and it’s been soaking in rum ever since. “In basic terms, it’s a very rich cake with a lot of dried fruit and a lot of rum,” he says. “It’s a festive cake from the Caribbean, traditionally made for Christmas and weddings.”
According to Carmichael, the key to a good rum cake is macerating (soaking) the fruit in rum at least one month before baking the cake. “Traditionally the cake is basted with rum for a few weeks before it’s dressed and served,” says Carmichael. “We had an idea to keep basting it and then let it sit for a while.”
“A while” turned into two years, and unlike say, a two-year-old sponge cake, Momofuku Seiobo’s rum cake has improved with age. “The flavour just got better and better,” he says.
It’s rich, moist and rummy. Carmichael promises there’s plenty to go around, but this 2015 vintage of rum cake is limited, so best get to Momofuku Seiobo quickly.