Rum Cake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This is my homemade version of the famous Duncan Hines rum cake that my grandmother was known near and far for.

Rum Cake

My grandmother, or “Nonny” as I called her, loved to bake and was known near and far for her fabulous Rum Cake. The cake was the hit of every family gathering and no one ever passed through her kitchen without sneaking a thin slice. She baked the cake well into her eighties; and even when she became too frail to make it herself, my grandfather would stand by her side in the kitchen to lend a hand mixing the batter, unmolding the cake, and pouring the hot rum glaze over top.

My Nonny kept the recipe as a closely guarded secret but when I became interested in cooking, she revealed to me that it was a Duncan Hines cake mix doctored up with instant vanilla pudding, butter, and lots of rum. Who knew?! (It’d be hard to keep the recipe a secret anymore; it’s a pretty well-known recipe that’s all over the Internet — just google Bacardi Rum Cake).

I’ve always wanted to recreate the cake from scratch so I came up with this recipe, which is hardly any more work than the semi-homemade version. My grandmother would probably say it’s not as good as hers, but I think it comes pretty close. 😂

What you’ll need To Make Rum Cake

ingredients to make rum cake from scratch

How to make Rum Cake

Begin by combining the eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

Eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract and almond extract in a mixing bowl to make rum cake

Whisk and set aside.

whisked liquid ingredients in mixing bowl to make rum cake

Combine the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

The flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer to make rum cake

Beat on low speed to combine.

Flour, sugars, baking powder and salt mixed together in mixer to make rum cake

Add the butter.

adding the butter to the mixer to make rum cakeBeat for a few minutes until combined.

Butter mixed in with other ingredients in mixer to make rum cake

Add one-third of the liquid ingredients and mix on low to combine.

Adding a third of the liquid ingredients to the mixer to make rum cakeIncrease the speed to medium and beat for two minutes more.

Batter in mixer after beating for two minutes to make rum cake

Add another third of the liquid.

Another third of liquid added to batter in the mixer to make rum cakeMix on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes.

batter after being mixed for two minutes for rum cakeAdd the remaining liquid.

continuing to add liquid ingredients to batter to make rum cake Beat and scrape as before.

finished batter in the mixer for rum cakeTransfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan.

batter in greased and floured Bundt pan

Bake the cake for 65-75 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

baked rum cake cooling on rack

Let the cake cool on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

melting the butter for the rum cake glaze

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil; then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.

bubbling glaze for rum cakeRemove from the heat and stir in the rum.

finished hot glaze for rum cake

Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the bottom of the cake.

poking holes in the bottom of the rum cake with a skewerBrush or spoon half of the glaze over the cake and let it soak in.

brushing the glaze over the rum cakeInvert the cake onto the rack. Brush or spoon the remaining glaze over the top and sides of the cake.

brushing the glaze over the top of the rum cake

Let the cake cool for about an hour before transferring to a serving platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

rum cake on serving platter

The cake portion of this recipe is based on a recipe from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri. I changed the process, replaced the all-purpose flour with cake flour, swapped the white rum for dark rum and omitted the almonds. The glaze recipe is from my grandmother.

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Rum Cake

This is my homemade version of the famous Duncan Hines rum cake that my grandmother was known near and far for.

Servings: One 10-inch Bundt Cake, 16 servings
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife, plus 1 tablespoon more for flouring the pan (see note)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

For the Glaze

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter. Add a tablespoon of flour to the pan; rotate and shake the pan until it is evenly coated with flour, then tap out any excess flour over the sink.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract and almond extract in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place the cake flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to combine. Add the butter and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Add one-third of the liquid ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add another third of the liquid and mix on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes, then stop the mixer and scrape again. Add the remaining liquid and beat and scrape as before.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted halfway between the central tube and side of the pan comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cake on a rack for ten minutes.
  7. While the cake cools, make the glaze. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum.
  8. Using a toothpick or thin skewer, poke holes all over the bottom of the cake about 1/2-inch apart, going about 3/4 of the way down (you will feel like you are butchering the cake; don't worry, it will be fine). Brush half of the glaze over the cake and let it soak in. If the glaze pools on the surface, poke more holes to help it sink in. Invert the cake onto the rack. For easy clean-up, slide a piece of foil or parchment under the rack. Gradually brush the remaining glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake, letting it soak in as you go. (Go slowly so that the glaze gets absorbed, rather than drips off the sides.) Let sit for at least one hour before carefully transferring the cake to a platter for serving. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen (without the glaze) for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)
  10. Note: It's important to use cake flour in this recipe. All-purpose flour will make the cake dry and dense.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Calories: 438
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 56 g
  • Sugar: 39 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 145 mg
  • Cholesterol: 127 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jen,

    I plan on making this cake but my sister has a nut allergy. What can I replace the almond extract with? Also, does this contain alcohol after you bake it?

    Thanks,
    Julia

    • — Julia on June 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Julia, You can replace the rum extract with additional vanilla extract. And the alcohol will bake off, but the rum flavor will remain. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Jenn, do not like almond extract
    What can I use instead?

    • — Carol Winkelman on May 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, you can just replace it with an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I made this recipe and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe.

    • — Juliet Allen on April 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • This cake was AMAZING!! I made using dark brown sugar instead of light and it still turned out great. It was a hit with my parents and my in-laws. Will be making again for sure.

    • — Johnson on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I know you said to use cake flour, but we’re gluten free in our house so I used a GF blend. We also try to stay away from refined sugar, so I used coconut sugar for the white and the brown. It wasn’t exactly what I expected (all the coconut sugar gave it kind of a burnt caramel flavor and it was pretty fluffy), but it was good. Used a mix of Appletons and Bumbu. I’ll definitely make it again, and maybe splurge on the real sugar next time 🙂

    • — Bethany on April 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just wondering if I could mix the batter up the day before, keep it in the refrigerator over night and then bake it the next day? Was also wanting to do
    that with the carrot cake also. I am
    going to be running short on time
    and thought maybe this might save me some time. What do you think?

    • — Amanda on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Amanda, Unfortunately, it won’t work to make the batter in advance as the cake won’t rise well when you go to bake it. If you’d like, you can mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and then combine them and proceed with the recipe when you’re ready to bake it. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Is this good for kids?

    • — rose on March 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on March 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • This cake was absolutely amazing! It disappeared in short order, because it was delicious, light and especially moist. Jenn’s recipe is easy (which is what we love about all of her goof-proof recipes), but more than that, the finished product is second to none.

    Jenn suggest a dark rum, and I would absolutely agree. Using a dark rum is essential. I have been a rum drinker for years, and my favourite rums are either dark amber or just plain very dark rums, such as Captain Morgan or especially Kracken. Sailor Jerry is a great darker amber rum as well, but what I can honestly say is that you CAN taste the rum in the cake, and it makes a huge difference using the dark rum. If you have ever been to the Caribbean, you will have seen the famous and ubiquitous Tartuga rum cake in the bright yellow box. This recipe of Jenn’s is every bit as good, and frankly I think better, than this famous rum cake. You’ll love this cake if you love a good rum cake.

    • — Eric Jones on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Put finely chopped pecans in bottom, great recipe, thank you.

    • — Wendy on January 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • I wish there were a way to attach a photo. This cake is not only delicious, it’s beautiful.
    1) I made it with light rum and served it with macerated strawberries
    2) dusted with powdered sugar from presentation
    3) instead of “painting” the glaze before tipping over I poured by tablespoons. I made it before and this method worked better.
    4) YUM!!

    • — Heather on January 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I went through such a debacle over this cake and it was worth it.

    On flipping the cake, it broke (my fault), and after about 1 minute of silently freaking out I decided to just increase the amount of simple syrup and thicken it, thereby “gluing” the cake together from the outside… and somehow I pulled it off. Cover it with powdered sugar, melted white chocolate and white chocolate chips and no one can see its broken top. In fact, it turned out absolutely gorgeous.

    Overall, people loved the cake and I thought the texture was great, dense yet fluffy and moist. Flavour was good; not as “rummy” as I would like but I didn’t have dark rum so that’s to be expected. Quite tasty, slightly boozy and good with homemade whipped cream.

    • — Corrine on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • I was just about to review this cake (which I love) when I saw your review. I was going to highlight in my review that using a dark rum is essential. I have been a rum drinker for years, and my favourite rums are either dark amber or just plain very dark rums, such as Captain Morgan or especially Kracken. Sailor Jerry is a great darker amber rum as well, but what I can honestly say is that you CAN taste the rum in the cake, and it makes a huge difference using the dark rum. If you have ever been to the Caribbean, you will have seen the famous and ubiquitous Tartuga rum cake in the bright yellow box. This recipe of Jenn’s is every bit as good, and frankly I think better, than this famous rum cake. So, my recommendation is try it once more with Kracken; you’ll love it if you love a good rum cake!

      • — Eric Jones on January 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this for Christmas and added some rum soaked raisins. It was amazing!!

    • — Bea on December 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • I felt it turned out dense still. It smelled great and honestly the batter tasted so good! But the flavor just wasn’t there when I served it and I couldn’t swallow because it was dry. I poked so many holes in it and topped with glaze generously. With that said, I converted to making cupcakes for COVID reasons; so that could have been it.

    • — Anna R Hodges on December 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • What is the calorie count for this cake, per slice?

    • — Barbara Hunt-Elkins on December 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I just added all the nutritional info for the cake. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! I’ve made this rum cake 3x previously with 6 cup and 12 cup bundt pans. It turned out well every time. If I use a pan for 12 small bundt cakes and reduce the baking time, do you think it would still work? I also love you french apple cake recipe by the way and made it numerous times for the family. Thank you.

    • — Regina on December 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like this! Yes, I do think you could make mini bundts with this.

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2020
      • Reply
    • Hi Regina! I plan on using a 6 cup pan. What bake time do you use? Thanks!!

      • — Adriann on December 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been baking it for my family for a couple of years now. They all love it, ask for it at family dinners and even show disappointment when I make a different dessert :). I follow the recipe exactly as written, and it comes out perfectly each time.
    I was wondering, would a bit of ground ginger be a good addition to this? Thanks!

    • — Aida on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad your family enjoys it, Aida! Sure, I think a little ground ginger would work nicely here.

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is a great recipe! I added a cup of chopped pecans in the bottom of the bundt pan. Will definitely make this again. It’s much better than the recipe with the cake mix. Thank you for sharing!

    • — Vicki on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can this cake be frozen? It sounds delicious!

    • — Marcia Raches on October 31, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, but I’d probably hold off on glazing until after the cake is defrosted. I think it will look better that way.

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2020
      • Reply

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