Guest Jax Cassidy and Golden Rum Cake!

Jax Cassidy

I met Jax Cassidy last month when she accompanied her friend KC Burn to my RWA chapter for a workshop.  She gave her own presentation Saturday, and if her skills in the kitchen are as good as her speaking skills, this is gonna be one amazing cake.   Jax followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings—finding Mr. Right was just an added bonus. She writes contemporary,  paranormal, and young adult romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, an award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent. She is represented by Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.

Get us drunk, Jax! 

Cooking, Rum, and Then Some

My love of food was unavoidable and started at a very young age. I came from a family of restaurateurs that could be traced back to many generations. Although I never got to meet my grandparents, they owned a French-Vietnamese café in Vietnam where my mother learned the business. My father stumbled into it and was a chef in the military. He cooked for ambassadors, political figureheads, and diplomats which impressed his superiors so much that he was awarded a special chef’s license from the American Embassy. However, he decided to retire from his position, and many years later, our family would open a restaurant of our own in Orlando.

Operating a restaurant is a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears. The hours are long and you’re on your feet for a majority of the day. When you’re trying to juggle school with a full-time job, it’s very stressful—but looking back, I loved every moment of it. I also learned many invaluable lessons from the hands-on experience. Believe it or not, I never wanted to cook. I let my siblings have the “secret” recipes passed on from generations because I had no interest in ever cooking or opening my own restaurant.

Funny how life works. When I went away to college, I had no one to cook for me. Yes, I was spoiled since both my parents always prepared the meals, and if they weren’t around, the chef would cook for me. What do you suppose happened? I went out and spent a ton of money on cookware and lugged it back to the apartment.

Believe me, I had no clue what I was doing…. but something strange happened. While I was frustrated and trying out what the heck I bought, I recalled bits and pieces of ingredients in my head. I started to recall all the times I stood by my parents when they cooked and how they would recite the cooking tips.  Everything just stuck with me.  Maybe it’s hereditary? Cooking skills? Haha… I laughed over it too but I think there’s some truth to it. Otherwise, how could I explain why every meal turned out perfectly on my first try?

You know what the most shocking part was? During all those days of cooking for myself, I discovered that cooking was an art form.

I feel blessed. Cooking came naturally for me like painting, sewing, or writing. Sure, anyone can learn to cook, but I learned that it’s more than just throwing things together and praying that it tastes good. I really believe that you can breathe life into your entrees. That’s what my parents had tried to teach me. Unless you have a love and passion for cooking…the meal you eat will reflect your current emotions, negatively or positively. Food, like anything else needs balance and harmony. When you put some care into your cooking, you can taste it in every single bite. I guarantee it.

Someday I’d like to open my own restaurant. But until that day comes, I love experimenting with other people’s recipes and trying to add my own spin. One of the most successful projects is the Golden Rum Cake—YUM! I got it from All Recipes but it has been a total hit with everyone I’ve given it to because I tend to go crazy on the butter and rum…It’s such a simple recipe and you can pretty much substitute it for sugar free or low calorie ingredients but it won’t disappoint! Try it, and let me know if it works for you.

Golden Rum Cake

GOLDEN RUM CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (your choice if you want nuts)
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (Pillsbury has the pudding mix in it)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (I substituted with Coconut Rum)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (Don’t skimp on the good rum for the glaze or same per above)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan. (If you want nuts-YUCK)
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil and 1/2 cup rum. Blend well. Pour batter over chopped nuts in the pan.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto serving plate. Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.

  4. To make the glaze: in a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum. The best thing to do is to pour the rum in slowly over the sink because it might fizzle up, depending on the rum brand!

What do you think, Chicklet Readers?  Have you ever made a meal that had everyone smiling because you were happy?  Or  made folks wonder if you were feeling okay?  Tell us about it.

Golden Rum Cake
Recipe Type: Traditional
Cuisine: Dessert
Author: Jax Cassidy | Chicklets in the Kitchen
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Ingredients
  • * 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • * 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (Pillsbury has the pudding mix in it)
  • * 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • * 4 eggs
  • * 1/2 cup water
  • * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • * 1/2 cup dark rum (I substituted with Coconut Rum)
  • * 1/2 cup butter
  • * 1/4 cup water
  • * 1 cup white sugar
  • * 1/2 cup dark rum (Don’t skimp on the good rum for the glaze or same per above)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan. (If you want nuts)
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil and 1/2 cup rum. Blend well. Pour batter over chopped nuts in the pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto serving plate. Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.
  4. To make the glaze: in a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum. The best thing to do is to pour the rum in slowly over the sink because it might fizzle up, depending on the rum brand!

 

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20 thoughts on “Guest Jax Cassidy and Golden Rum Cake!

  1. What a neat story, Jax! Thanks for being part of Chicklets today.

    My family knows when I’m stressed because it’s leftovers all the way! Or eggs. Easy but still tasty. 🙂

  2. Hi Jax,

    Thank you for being here today. Your cake sounds delicious. I’m not much of a cook, but I do love to bake!

    The best meal I’ve ever made was shortly after I’d married my husband. I’d wanted to surprise him. Until then, he’d done all the meal preps. Exquisite dinners and the like. I’d wanted to repay him in kind. So, I was in that gooey-lovey-live-is-perfect mood, when I came up with the recipe.

    Sure enough, he loved the dinner. What made my day was when he asked where I’d learned the recipe. For a non-cook, that kind of question is a home-run!

    Can’t wait to try out your recipe! Thanks again!

  3. Abigail–You can’t go wrong with eggs! Thanks for letting me talk about cooking. I had planned on providing a juicy recipe for a popular Vietnamese dish but decided that desserts would be quick and easy. I know this recipe is simple but it is seriously G-O-O-D!

    Mary–That is the sweetest thing your husband did! That’s one of my prerequisites in finding a Mr. Jax. I’m lucky mine is excellent in the kitchen so I’m pretty spoiled. 🙂

  4. When I’m stressed – I bake.

    This year I’ve been addicted to cheesy grits with spicy shrimp. OMG it’s heaven.

    Jax I’m impressed you took it on yourself to be willing to fail. I think that’s the only way we learn. Especially when you’re talking cooking. I’ve never made a rum cake, but I think I’m going to change that this weekend. 🙂

    • Failing is what makes you work hard to succeed. I like challenges and I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I tackle something I think is impossible to do. 🙂

  5. Oooh, that sounds delicious!! I love that you go crazy with the butter and the rum – no wonder it’s fantastic! I love that your family had such a great influence on you even when you weren’t realize it was happening. I bet it really brings them a lot of joy to know how much you appreciated what you learned and to see you getting pleasure from what they taught you. Thank you so much for sharing your story and you recipe! 🙂

    • Everything needs more butter and rum! LOL

      My parents are very happy that I learned to cook traditional food. They thought I’d been oblivious but when I fix them some soul food, they are delighted about it–even if they don’t outright compliment me….I know they are proud.

  6. Jax,
    What a wonderful story. It sounds like cooking is in your blood! The rum cake recipe sounds heavenly, and not too difficult, which is perfect for me 🙂 I can’t wait to try it, especially since my husband loves rum.

  7. Hi Jax! Your rum cake sounds divine. I just love the idea of the recipes/skills coming back to you little by little, like magic. 🙂 I hope you realize your dream of opening your own restaurant one day.

  8. Love your story, Jax. Even now, after all these years, comments about cooking from my mom and grandmother come back to me. And i can’t wait to try the rum cake. When my elder son graduated from high school, he wanted a rum cake for his reception. It was wonderful, but I long ago I lost that receipe. This one looks absolutely yummy. Thanks for sharing

    Hope your restaurant dream is realized one day.

  9. Jax artistry is reflected in everything she does. She has a wonderful gift in graphics, web design, writing, speaking…and now that I know this translates to cooking, well that’s a secret we won’t let her keep. The way to a writer’s heart is through flavor! But can’t we just cut to the rum? LOL!

  10. Sorry I’m late to the party, Jax! I’m so glad you came by and shared this recipe. I’ve never made a rum cake, but always wanted to. Your recipe sounds easy and incredibly yummy! 🙂

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