Spookie is my brother's godmother and has been a part of my life ever since I was born. A traveler, an adventurer and always filled with stories and a wink, she taught me how to cut cards during gin rummy and would call me a "Cheatin' Charlie" if I ever won a board game. Her humor and wit are only out-classed by her heart, and her deep abiding passion for all creatures--including two adorable rescue dogs named Minky and Scallywag--has always had a great effect on me.
Spookie didn't bake or cook, but she did have one go-to recipe: her rum cake. This was the most exotic, luscious, delicious cake that ever captured an eight year-old's mind. Using box cake mix, pudding straight from the pack and a few other odds and ends, this cake is sticky, sweet and completely delicious.
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
Sift the cake mix into a large bowl. Whisk together the pudding, eggs, oil, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of the dark rum in a separate large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the cake mix and mix until just blended, then pour half into the prepared Bundt pan. Add the cocoa and the remaining 1 tablespoon dark rum to the remaining half of the batter, then stir to blend and pour into the prepared Bundt pan.
Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a serving plate.
While the cake is sitting in the pan, make the glaze: Combine the sugar, butter, 1 tablespoon water and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened with large bubbles, about 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the dark rum. Drizzle the glaze over the top and sides of the cake while both are warm. Allow the cake to absorb the glaze and repeat until all the glaze is used.