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Susan Jung’s chocolate rum-raisin cake. Photography: Bruce Yan. Styling: Nellie Ming Lee

How to make a NSFM chocolate rum-raisin cake – it might not look like much but it packs a punch

  • This cake might appear unassuming but be warned, its alcohol content makes is particularly potent
  • Although it is quick and easy to bake, plan ahead and soak the raisins in rum for at least a day

This cake looks unassuming – it’s quite plain, and is decorated with nothing more than a light dusting of icing sugar. But be warned: it is potent. It irritates me when I order rum-raisin something – ice cream, cake, chocolates – and the flavours are weak; you won’t have that complaint about this cake. It is probably NSFM, not because it is X-rated, but because the cake contains so much alcohol.

Chocolate rum-raisin cake

Mixing and baking this cake is easy and doesn’t take long, but you need to plan ahead, because the raisins need to soak in the rum for at least a day. And while you can eat the cake as soon as it has cooled, it tastes much better if it rests for a few hours (or even better, overnight), to give the rum syrup time to soak in.

The butter should be slightly softened, so it is malleable but not greasy, and the eggs and sour cream should be at room temperature.

The cake needs to be baked in a tube pan that holds two litres.

200 grams raisins
200ml dark rum
250 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened
225 grams granulated sugar
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
10 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
100 grams bittersweet chocolate (I use Valrhona with 85 per cent cacao or Lindt with 90 per cent cacao), chopped
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
235 grams sour cream, at room temperature
225 grams plain (all-purpose) flour, divided

For the soaking syrup:
60 grams granulated sugar
60ml dark rum
Icing sugar, for dusting

1 Put the raisins in a bowl and pour in 200ml of rum. Stir briefly, then cover the bowl with cling film and leave the raisins to soak at room temperature for at least a day.

2 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Use pan coating to evenly spray a tube pan that holds two litres.

3 Pour the soaked raisins into a sieve set over a bowl, to strain off the excess rum. Set aside the rum. Add five grams of flour to the raisins (still in the sieve) and mix them together. Shake the sieve to remove any excess flour.

4 Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and salt. Use a small dry sieve to sift the baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder into the bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the ingredients until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl and beaters several times with a rubber spatula.

5 Put the chocolate into a medium-sized bowl and melt it. You can do this in the microwave – mix it every 30 seconds until it’s 80 per cent melted, then stir to let the residual heat melt the remainder, or by stirring the chocolate almost constantly over a double boiler until it’s 80 per cent melted. Remove it from the heat and continue to stir until fully melted.

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6 When the chocolate is smooth and still slightly warm, use a small whisk to stir in the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the rum left over from soaking the raisins.

7 Add the chocolate and egg mixture to the bowl containing the butter and sugar and beat to combine thoroughly, scraping the bowl and beaters as necessary.

8 Add the sour cream and stir to combine, then briefly mix in 220 grams of flour.

9 Remove the beaters from the electric mixer, and scrape off any batter. Finish mixing the batter by stirring it with a rubber spatula.

10 Spoon some of the batter into the prepared tube pan, spreading it so there’s a 1cm-thick layer in the bottom of the pan (which will be the top after the cake is baked).

11 Mix the raisins into the remaining batter, then scrape it into the tube pan. Smooth out the surface.

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12 Place the pan in the oven and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees then drape a sheet of aluminium foil over it to prevent the cake surface from burning. Bake for about 15 minutes more, until the cake is firm to the touch and fragrant; when you insert a thin bamboo skewer, moist crumbs will cling to it when you remove it, but it shouldn’t come out covered with sticky batter.

13 While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Pour 60ml of boiling water over the granulated sugar in a heat-proof measuring cup. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then cool to room temperature. Stir in the rum.

14 When the cake is baked, take it from the oven and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes. Using a bamboo skewer, poke many holes into the cake all the way down until the skewer reaches the pan.

15 Use a pastry brush to brush about one-quarter of the syrup evenly over the cake. Leave for 10 minutes for the syrup to soak in, then brush again with more syrup. Leave for 20 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate and remove the pan. Brush half of the remaining syrup over the surface and sides of the cake (no need to poke more holes in it), wait for 10 minutes, then brush again, using up all the syrup.

16 Cool the cake to room temperature, then cover it tightly with cling film and leave for at least four hours. Just before serving, lightly dust icing sugar over the cake.