In Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic, Aunt Isabelle’s chocolate tipsy cake has been handed down for generations. The tipsy comes from rum; the magic comes from the baking. You might want to try it for breakfast, as the aunts did in the book.
Here’s the recipe:
Aunt Isabelle’s Chocolate Tipsy Cake
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup dark rum
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Rum Icing
- 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 2 tablespoons dark rum (plus more as needed)
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a large Bundt pan;dust with cocoa powder. Warm coffee, dark rum, butter, and cocoa powder over medium heat and stir gently until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients. In another bowl combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. When the chocolate mixture is cool, stir in egg mixture. Add flour mixture a little at a time until well combined.
Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Prepare the chocolate rum icing by melting chocolate, then adding butter and rum; simmer 5 minutes. Add milk or rum to thin the sauce. Cool slightly. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Review of The Rules of Magic
Found this while researching Cathleen Schine’s new book – They May Not Mean to, But They Do – and did not want to lose it.
THIS BE THE VERSE
by Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
When a well-dressed woman entered the elevator, I was enveloped in a delicious scent. Asking her what it was, she replied – vanilla – she had been baking and the scent had lingered on her clothes. I remembered my experience when I read Jan Moran’s (author of Fabulous Fragrances) list of aromatherapy solutions to common problems.
Try the complementary scent to solve the appropriate problem:
- Anxiety: vanilla, lavender, basil, rose, chamomile
- Depression: rose, lavender
- Fatigue: lemon, peppermint, lily of the valley
- Headache: lavender, eucalyptus, ginger, peppermint
- High blood pressure: lavender,sage
- Insomnia: lavender, basil, vanilla
- Stress: lavender, rose, vanilla
Time to get some lavender and bake some cookies with vanilla.
“…coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleaguered in the middle of the night.”
Count Alexander Rostov, A Gentleman in Moscow