Ordinary time concludes on an elegant note with Msgr. Innocenzi’s Sicilian Rum Cake

Nothing could be better — in the opinion of many folks familiar with his culinary skills — than celebrating Fat Tuesday with a slice of Msgr. James G. Innocenzi’s Sicilian Rum Cake.

It was the dessert of choice for a host of people with a lot of sweet things to choose from at a recent social and its ingredients make it a perfect fit on any Fat Tuesday menu.

Msgr. Innocenzi’s Sicilian Rum Cake
– 1 cup cake flour
– 1/2  tsp. salt
– 6 eggs, separated
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 1 lb. Ricotta cheese
– 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
– 1/2 chocolate chip mini morsals
– 2 tsp. dark rum; 1 tsp. vanilla
– 1/2 cup candied red cherries, quartered
– 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
– Rum Sauce recipe to follow.

Directions: Measure cake flour and salt, sift into large mixing bowl; Beat the egg whites until foamy white and double in volume with an electric mixer at high speed. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, unti9l meringue forms soft peaks. (Your test: peaks will be just stiff enough to bend slightly as beaters are raised.) Beat egg yolks until thick with an electric mixer in a small blow, then beat in 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture is very thick and fluffy. (Raise beater again and the yolk mixture should run off in a very thick stream.) Beat in vanilla. Sift flour mixture into yolk mixture all at once. Fold in with wire whisk, turning batter over and over gently from the bottom of the blowl until the flour is blended completely. Add egg yolk mixture to meringue, then fold until no streaks of white or yellow remain. (Batter Should be light and fluffy.)

Pour batter into an ungreased, 9 inch angel food tube pan. Run a small spatula or knife through the batter to spread it evenly and bring any large air bubbles to the top. (If the air is left in, cake will have tiny holes or tunnels in it.)

Bake the cake in a slow over at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip and cake is richly golden.

Turn the cake upside down and hang tube pan on quart size bottle to cool completely. To remove cake, loosen around the edges with a sharp knife.

In a large bowl, combine Ricotta cheese, confectioner’s sugar, chocolate, rum and vanilla and mix well. Add cherries and toasted almonds. Stir til blended. Split cake into 2 layers with a serrated knife or wire cutter. If you do not have a cake slicer, you can use toothpicks as a guide. Place bottom layer on cookie sheet covered completely with waxed paper. Spread half the mixture on bottom layer. Repeat with second layer and reshape cake. Garnish with cherries and almonds if desired. Spoon rum sauce over the cake until absorbed. Chill over night.

Monsignor notes that he likes to use a basting tube and inject sauce into the cake and, he adds, he sometimes subsitutes regular maraschino cherries for candied cherries which are hard to quarter. You can toast almonds by putting them on a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, he notes.

Rum Sauce:
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 cup water
– 1/3 cup dark rum

Directions: Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat slightly and boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.


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