Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rum Raisin Loaf

I've been accumulating egg whites again. That isn't hard to do if you make your own pasta, but there are only so many angel food cakes and meringue shells a family can eat. I'll tell you what I never tire of eating-rum soaked raisins, that's what. I could happily skip the ice cream and just eat the raisins in rum, but my family considers that gauche, kind of like dumping salsa sauce atop a bowl of Cherrios (don't knock it till you've tried it). To save myself the funny looks (because they scrunch up their noses like poorly rabbits when I stray from acceptable uses of raisins and salsa (never together, mind) I baked a loaf cake, and used up the extra egg whites, so hooray for me, and yes, I saved out some raisins for snacking-just don't tell.

The cake itself is really moist for a white cake, though a stick of margarine can do wonders with that. Yes, you read that correct-I used margarine. I find that cakes I intend to keep for a while do better with a good quality margarine than butter. You could use shortening if you prefer-or butter, or half of each. You get the idea. What you must do is resist cutting into it for at least 8 hours, though a day would be better. The cake really does improve overnight, but you aren't going to listen are you? The loaf should be stored tightly wrapped in wax paper, then in a layer of cling film. My house is comfortable at the moment, but if it gets really warm, it would be OK to store it in the fridge. Bring the loaf to room temperature before serving. When it does finally go stale, toast it and serve with jam.

You Will Need:

1 cup raisins soaked overnight in enough rum to cover, then drained. (save the rum for the next use, or what the hell, drink it).

2 1/4 cups plain flour plus 2 tablespoons divided
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. I have a long Pullman loaf pan which I prefer for these cakes, but regular 9x5x3 pans work as well.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the soft margarine, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the eggs all at once and beat until smooth. Toss raisins with remaining flour. Fold in raisins. Pour into pan and bake 40 minutes or so for a Pullman loaf, 50-60 for a regular loaf. Check frequently to avoid overbaking. Cool 15 minutes in tin, then unmould onto a rack and cool completely before storing.

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