How to make it

  • Make burnt sugar liquid: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, slowly melt the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to stir it continuously to ensure even melting. When the sugar turns a dark caramel color (it will start smoking just at this point) remove the pan from the heat and slowly stream in the cream while continuing to stir (don't worry if mixture clumps.) Return pan to medium heat and stir until completely combined; cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring.
  • Transfer the burnt caramel mixture to a 2-cup heatproof glass measuring cup and add enough coconut milk to make 1 1/2 cups liquid. Add lemon juice. Using a small whisk, whisk to combine all, scraping any caramel that clings to the sides of the cup. Divide the mixture in half; set both portions aside.
  • Make the bundt cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, or, butter it thoroughly, dust with flour and knock out excess flour.
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add vanilla and beat for 5 more seconds.
  • Retrieve one of the reserved portions of burnt sugar liquid. Add flour mixture to standing mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the burnt sugar liquid, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen sides of cake from pan and turn it out onto the rack.
  • Make the caramel rum frosting: Put the butter, rum, confectioners' sugar and remaining portion of burnt sugar liquid in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts, scraping sides of bowl as necessary, until frosting is shiny and smooth. It will be a bit liquid, but will firm up in the refrigerator. Note: You can add more confectioners' sugar for a firmer frosting. You can also subsitute 1 tsp vanilla for the rum. We added both vanilla and rum, plus some salt for a salted caramel frosting effect.
  • Optional garnish: Place 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan. Add 1 tsp water and mix to make sugar the texture of damp sand. Cook over high heat until sugar dissolved and turns amber, stirring constantly. Pour caramel onto a sheet pan lined with a Silpat (or other silicone nonstick liner). Be sure to pour on the silpat rather thinly. Cool. Break into small shards. Note: Don't worry about the candy residue on the pan: just soak in hot water and it will easily dissolve.
  • Assemble cake: Using an offset spatula, spread slightly chilled frosting over the crown of the Bundt cake in a thick layer. Top with caramel shards. Let frosting set before serving. Cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (Note: If you are saving the cake for later, don't add the sugar shards until right before serving, or, they'll melt/soften in the cake saver.)

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