Blame it on the alcohol

Why are there no catchy songs about Mojitos? Seriously. None.

I know all the words to Tequila. One Bourbon, One Whiskey, One Scotch is some serious blues. I know that famous part about Pina Coladas (EVERYONE knows that part), and if you ain’t rapping about Cristal, well, how will anyone know that you’re a ballin’ playa homie? (please forgive me for that. Even I hate myself a little)

I find this omission a grave oversight, and one that should be rectified immediately. What gives? They are sweet (mint), tart (lime) and booze (rum) filled goodness. If you’re going to be drinking anything while on a summer island holiday or while planning to make bad life choices, mojitos are your man. Or drink. Whatever.

Having watched Lorraine Pascal make the cake that I based this on (I epic failed the Genoise, substituted it for a simple butter cake, don’t tell anyone), I was immediately consumed with the idea of making this cake. Obsessed. I would not rest until I found an excuse to make this gorgeous baked delight. And before long, one presented itself. To be fair, I wasn’t entirely convinced the person I was making it for would like it. Frankly my dear, I didn’t give a damn. I wanted to make this cake, and that was that. Luckily for me, it went down a treat!

Yes, it’s a bit of a long recipe. But really, it’s not that bad. The syrup and praline can be made in advance, if it helps.

If it doesn’t help… Well, at least you have rum!

Mojito Syrup Cake

Adapted from Love Food

To make sugar syrup:
•150 g Soft light brown sugar
•40 ml Water
•2 limes, zested and juiced
•80 ml White rum
•1 Bunch of fresh mint, leaves only

For the cake:
•125g butter
•2 eggs
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 cup self raising flour
•1/2 cup milk
•1/2 cup plain flour

For the butter cream:
•100 g Butter, softened
•200 g Icing sugar
•1 Vanilla pod or 2 drops of vanilla extract
•1 Lime – Finely grated zest and juice

For the praline:
•1 Dash of vegetable oil, for oiling
•200 g Granulated sugar
•200 g Pecans

To make the syrup, place the sugar, water, lime juice and rum in a medium pan over a low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 2–3 minutes until the syrup thickens. Add the mint and lime zest and set aside.

Heat the oven to 180*. Cream butter and sugar together until pale. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Fold in flours, alternating with the milk.

Pour into cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean (note: I made two cakes). Remove cake from oven and prick all over with a skewer. Spoon syrup over the cake, and allow to absorb and cool. If making a layer cake, repeat process, placing one cake on top of the other.

For the pecan coating, oil a baking tray. Put the sugar in a medium pan over a low heat and leave to melt, stirring as little as possible. If any sugar sticks to the sides of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and brush it off. Once the sugar is melted bring the mixture to the boil and cook for 1 minute making sure it does not burn. Add the nuts and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Leave to cool. Once this has cooled right down, blitz the praline in an electric mixer or put it in plastic bag, smash it with a rolling pin.

To make the butter cream, put the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest and juice to taste.

Ice the cake with a thin layer of butter cream, including the sides. This is called a crumb layer, and stops from any bits getting in the way of perfect icing. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm. Ice again with a thicker layer. Press the praline crumbs into the side of the cake, and top with lime wedges and mint leaves.


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