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Black Cat Rum Cake. Courtesy photo.




Rum’s in the family
Nashua couple sells rum cakes made with old family recipe

01/19/17
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Peter and Paulette Vollheim are confident that once you try their rum cake, you’ll never want to bring a fruitcake to dinner parties or holiday gatherings again. 

For 25 years the Nashua couple has been making rum cakes for their family and friends using an old family recipe that dates back to the 1880s in southern Mississippi. Peter Vollheim said the demand for the cakes has been growing ever since. 
“People have told us it doesn’t taste like normal rum cake and that it’s better than any other they’ve had,” he said. “The flavor combination is quite unique. It’s buttery and sweet, but not overpowering. I think it’s something about the old southern recipe and the rum that’s used. The rum -— that’s our secret.” 
When Vollheim told his former business partner, Peter Stahl, who is now a restaurant owner, about how popular his and Paulette’s rum cakes had become, Stahl proposed that they team up and take the cakes to the next level. A few months ago the three of them officially launched Black Cat Rum Cake Company, designating the kitchen in Stahl’s Watertown, Mass., restaurant as their baking headquarters. Their motto, Vollheim said, is, “Don’t be a target of fruitcake ridicule. Give a Black Cat Rum Cake.” 
“Usually you get a fruitcake for Christmas and you don’t want it, so you stick it in the freezer and give it to someone else, and by the end of the year that thing has 200 miles on it,” he said. “Not our rum cake. Our rum cake gets devoured. When people try it, they don’t just try it; they eat it all.” 
Black Cat Rum Cake is available as a standard two-pound loaf, which is delivered in a tin pan with a plastic dome cover; “the heavy weight,” a two-and-a-half-pound gift loaf baked and presented in a wooden tray; and as 5-ounce “single shots,” similar to cupcakes, individually wrapped and sold by the dozen or half-dozen.   
There are all kinds of ways you can enjoy rum cake, and you don’t have to wait until the holidays to do it. You can eat it as you would a morning pastry on your way to work or with a cup of coffee. It also pairs well with wine, particularly port wines. 
“Some people cut them up into cubes and freeze them and eat them frozen,” Vollheim said. “At my house, I like to freeze whole slices from the loaf and put ice cream on top.” 
You can find Black Cat Rum Cake in Nashua at Bonhoeffer’s Cafe & Espresso, sold as loaves, slices and frozen cubes, and at Cava de Vino wine shop, sold as loaves and presented by Vollheim himself at some of the shop’s wine tastings. It’s also available online at blackcatrumcake.com. 





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