BY JUDY GELMAN AND VICKI LEVY KRUPP
Costco’s Book Club series provides insight
into a selected novel, as well as an
appropriate recipe to accompany
your own book club’s discussion.
THE RULES OF MAGIC, a pre-quel to Alice Hoffman’s
best-selling novel Practical
Magic, tells the story of the
Owens family, the target of
a warning that has been
handed down for centuries:
“Kno w that for our family,
love is a curse.” The curse
began in ;;;;, when
ancestor Maria Owens
was accused of witchery
for loving the wrong man.
Living in New York City in the ;;;;s,
Franny, Jet and Vincent Owens appear to
have unique powers. During visits to their
Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts
town where the Owens family has been
blamed for everything that has ever gone
wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin
to understand the truth of who they are. Back
in New York City, each begins a risky journey
as they try to escape the family curse.
The Rules Of Magic (Item #1187541, 10/10)
is available in most Costco warehouses,
along with food and drink to host an
unforgettable book club.
Baking up magic
Aunt Isabelle’s recipe for Chocolate
Tipsy Cake has been handed
down through the generations. “It’s the most chocolaty chocolate you’ll ever
taste,” says Franny, who
thinks of baking the cakes to
sell. But the high cost of the
and extra-fine aged rum—
causes her to reconsider.
Early alcohol-infused cakes
in the U.S. were often rum cakes.
Pirates sustained themselves
with rum cakes on Caribbean voyages, and rum later became popular as a replacement for vanilla
extract in the South. The alcohol is
behind the tipsy cake’s name.
A traditional tipsy cake, says cookbook
author and baking expert Nancie
McDermott, is a Southern version of a
British trifle, the classic dessert beloved
in England and Scotland. These grand
confections would typically be served in a
deep, footed glass bowl, filled with thin
layers of sponge cake or ladyfingers, each
layer drizzled with alcohol, covered with
rich custard and topped with whipped
cream and almonds.
The tipsy cake served up in The Rules
of Magic is made with chocolate and served
with ice cream—an unusual variation on
the traditional tipsy cake or trifle.
McDermott believes Aunt Isabelle’s cake is
AUNT ISABELLE’S CHOCOLATE
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more
for dusting the pan (see note)
1 cup freshly brewed co;ee
½ cup dark rum
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose ;our
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
CHOCOLATE RUM ICING
;/; cup semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half,
plus more as needed
2 tablespoons dark rum
Prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a
large Bundt pan, and dust with ;our or cocoa powder.
Place co;ee, dark rum, butter and cocoa powder in a
saucepan over medium heat, and whisk gently until
the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add
the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Place the ;our, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk
and vanilla. When the chocolate mixture has cooled,
stir it into the egg mixture. Add the ;our mixture and
whisk until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to
50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of
the cake comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.
Prepare the chocolate rum icing: Melt the chocolate
morsels in the top of a double boiler. Add butter,
milk and rum, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring
constantly. Add more milk to thin the sauce, if necessary. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to
When the cake has cooled, invert it onto a wire rack
placed over parchment or wax paper. Dust with con-
fectioner’s sugar, if desired. Drizzle with chocolate
rum icing. Makes 12 to 14 servings.
Recipe from Judy Gelman.
more akin to the boozy and delicious rum
cake, a classic vanilla pound cake liberally
anointed with rum.
“What her cake shares with a traditional tipsy cake is the power to intoxicate
and delight the guests,” adds McDermott.
Undoubtedly, there is something magical in Aunt Isabelle’s Chocolate Tipsy Cake,
which is baked with rum and topped with
a rum icing. It might just have the power to
transport you to another realm.
The Owens family enjoys the cake
served with vanilla ice cream. C
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp are
behind the cookbook and website The Book
Club Cookbook ( bookclubcookbook.com).