LOCAL FLAVOR: Helen Terrill's Rum Cake

Carla Core Brown

For nearly eleven years, I had the HONOR of living right next door to two of Pawhuska’s finest, quite praiseworthy community members, Oren and Helen Terrill. The opportunity to experience their kindness, their generosity, and their integrity was priceless and held all the ingredients of which happy memories are made.

Each Christmas we shared our friendly tradition of exchanging homemade treats and every New Year’s Eve, I would prepare for them a party basket filled with hats, horns, and party goodies. The tradition never grew old. To paraphrase the late John F. Kennedy, “Geography made us neighbors. Time made us friends.”

Nearly every Christmas, Mrs. Terrill would bake her ravishingly delectable RUM CAKE. This is the kind of indulgent cake you want to keep hidden away from others or should you decide to offer a slice, you secretly hope your guest will decline.


1 cup chopped pecans, 1-box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, 1 large box of vanilla instant pudding, ½ cup oil, ½ cup rum, and 4 eggs.

**Grease and flour a Bundt pan then line with nuts. Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and rum (she always used a little extra rum). Add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

While the cake is still warm, prick the cake and drizzle the glaze.

GLAZE: ½ cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, ¼ cup rum, 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar to thicken. Bring everything EXCEPT FOR THE RUM to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 5 minutes. Add the rum. Let the glaze come back up to a boil again. Remove from stovetop and drizzle over cake that has cooled about 10 minutes… is still warm but not hot.

Now, how’s that for a little LOCAL FLAVOR?