Every year, I am assigned the all-important task of making the Birthday cake for Guppy, my grandma, who this year turned 97 years old.
I’m going to backtrack a little bit. When I mentioned Guppy’s great health at her wondrous age, Maureen asked for a bit of the story of Guppy so I will tell a little.
You might understand why she is so tough when you hear she was a bushie. They lived on a cattle property quite a way from civilisation back when to make a phone call you had to ring the operator and I’m pretty sure there were only certain times of day the phone was available.
She grew all their fresh food and did a lot of the cooking while raising four children, the youngest being my mum. They battled fires and floods and droughts and plagues.
She is the eldest of 7 children (just she and her youngest sister are still alive) and her father died when she was quite young so she helped her mother out a lot with the younger children. Her mother sounds like an amazing woman and I have never heard anyone who knew her speak of her without a smile in their eyes.
Apparently she could turn just a few ingredients into enough food to feed 12 people and she was a wonderful cook.
Guppy has 8 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren and could tell you every one of their Birthday’s without a pause. She could probably tell you the current Suncorp share price or who won the football on the weekend too.
Really, the only thing slowing her down is her body now. She still tells me every now and then of a new recipe she created for dinner or her latest idea for a new invention (not crazy idea, great ideas usually!).
So you can see that such an amazing woman, deserves a show-stopping cake for her Birthday. Although Guppy doesn’t drink, she loves desserts with alcohol but more than that she loves chocolate. Clearly when I saw a rum and raisin chocolate cake, I couldn’t go past it.
I urge you to go the extra step and make the praline. It takes it from good-looking to spectacular. Enjoy!
Oh and a very Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
Your still hungry aren’t you? My best ever chocolate mud cake recipe should fix that…
Chocolate rum and raisin cake
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 120g (1cup) sour cream (I used natural yoghurt with a little lemon)
- ½ cup full-cream milk
- 250g (9oz) butter at room temperature
- 1 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 120g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
- 400g (14oz) dark chocolate
- 1 cup pouring cream
- 2 tbsp dark rum
- 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- ½ cup water
- 30 toasted coconut chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C(320F) fan-forced and grease and line 3 round 20cm cake tins.
- In a small heatproof bowl, stir together the raisins and rum then microwave for 30 seconds and set aside.
- Sift the flour and cocoa into a large bowl and in a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together until light and creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is mixed in before adding the next.
- Add the cooled chocolate and beat until just combined.
- Alternating half of each at a time, mix in the flour mixture and milk mixture until combined.
- Add the rum raisins and mix them through.
- Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes to rest in the tins for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool.
- To make the ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl).
- Cook, stirring, until the chocolate has melted.
- Take it off the heat, add the rum and give a good stir until it is smooth then set aside to cool.
- Stir about every 20 minutes until it is nice and thick and spreadable (about 2.5 hours).
- To make the praline, line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the pot to a boil and then do not stir again.
- Use a wet (water) pastry brush to brush down the sides every minute or so but do not stir the pot.
- Boil until it turns a deep golden colour (about 16 minutes).
- Quickly pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray and tilt the tray to spread it out.
- Immediately sprinkle with the toasted coconut and leave it to cool.
- To assemble the cake, place one cake on a serving plate (you may need to trim the tops to make them flat).
- Spread with ⅓ of the ganache then the second cake and repeat with the rest of the ganache and the final cake.
- Insert a skewer through all the cakes to hold them together and then spread the rest of the ganache on the top.
- Break the praline and arrange it on top of the cake.
- Serve straight away with ice cream and or cream.
How long will this cake keep for?
Hi Maria. About 3 days in an airtight container.
Thanks for the story and the recipe!
I made this cake, it was very rich. I added extra milk to the batter because it was looking a little dry and also added over a tablespoon or so, more rum to the raisins, I couldn’t taste any rum in the finished cake, but it still tasted so good! I also couldn’t taste any rum in the ganache either. If I make this again, I will add a lot more rum, but if you’re looking for a chocolate cake, this is definitely a winner, everyone was mmmming and yumming lol
You’re welcome! Glad you liked it. Yes it’s probably not a ‘rum’ cake as such it just adds to the richness.
Oh Claire, thank you so much! I knew Guppy would have a wonderful story but where does the name Guppy come from??
Her cake is gorgeous.
Oh Maureen how could I leave that one out! It was me… I just randomly called her Guppy when I was learning to talk and it stuck. Now everyone, even mum’s friends call her Guppy.
Magnificent looking cake. I love Guppy’s story, and she is still such a beautiful looking lady
She sure is isn’t she?
Wow, what a spectacular cake – I must try this recipe. And it was good to hear some details of your grandma’s life – what a remarkable woman! I think there are a lot of interesting tales to be told by people from the bush. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your readers, Claire – it is my birthday too, and I always do lots of celebrating……
There sure are Diane. I think I could write a post a day for at least a year with her stories.