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Rum Cake

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This boozy, buttery rum cake is guaranteed to be the life of the party.

Rum Cake

My grandmother loved to bake and was famous for her rum cake. It was the star of every family gathering, and it was impossible for anyone to walk through her kitchen without sneaking just one more thin slice. Although she kept the recipe a closely guarded secret, upon discovering my interest in cooking, she revealed that it was actually a Duncan Hines cake mix doctored up with instant vanilla pudding, butter, and lots of rum. Who knew?! These days, keeping the recipe a secret would be hard, as it’s all over the internet (just google “Bacardi rum cake”). I’ve always wanted to recreate her cake from scratch, so I came up with this recipe, which is hardly any more work than the semi-homemade version. My grandmother might beg to differ, but I believe my scratch-made version comes pretty close to her original.

“This is one of the most exquisite cakes I’ve ever made.”

Jocelyn

Rum cake is a traditional Caribbean dessert that dates back to the days of sugar plantations, as rum is a liquor made from sugarcane. The most well-known version of Caribbean rum cake, known as black cake because of its intensely dark color, is a fruitcake made from a variety of dried fruits soaked in rum for several weeks or even months before being baked. This lighter version is made by soaking a moist butter cake in a syrup of butter, sugar, and dark rum, giving it a rich, boozy flavor. There’s almost a cup of rum in the cake, so it’s definitely not for young kids or anyone avoiding alcohol. For a similar cake that’s booze-free, try my Kentucky butter cake.

What you’ll need To Make Rum Cake

ingredients to make rum cake from scratch

Step-by-Step Instructions

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 an electric 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 cake

Beat 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 cake

Increase 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 cake

Mix 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 cake

Add 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 cake

Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan.

batter in greased and floured Bundt pan

Bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

baked rum cake cooling on rack

While the cake bakes, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.

melted butter, sugar, and water in pot

Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil; then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.

boiling syrup

Remove from the heat and stir in the rum.

adding rum

It will thicken as it sits.

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 skewer

Brush or spoon half of the glaze over the cake and let it soak in.

brushing the glaze over the rum cake

Invert the cake onto a platter. Brush or spoon the remaining glaze over the top and sides of the cake.

brushing glaze on rum cake

Let the cake cool completely before serving.

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 boozy, buttery rum cake is guaranteed to be the life of the party.

Servings: One 10-inch Bundt Cake, 16 servings
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 70 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2½ cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off (see note)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

For the Glaze

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • Generous pinch of salt

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour. (Alternatively, grease the pan with butter and then dust with flour.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, rum, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
  3. Place the cake flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric 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. (The mixture will look a bit like cookie dough.)
  4. Add a 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 and bottom 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 pan and smooth the top. Bake for 65 to 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 bakes, 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 the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum and salt.
  8. Using a toothpick or thin skewer, poke holes all over the bottom of the cake about ½-inch apart, going about ¾ 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 a cake platter. 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 cool completely before serving.
  9. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in a cake dome or covered container at room temperature. It can also be frozen 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.
  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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Comments

  • Hi. How do I make the glaze taste less sweet and have less rum taste?

    • — Abigail on December 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Abigail, I would switch the amounts for the rum and water and reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup.

      • — Jenn on December 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • I just made this Rum Cake Recipe last night and WOW!!!! My Fiancé and I LOVE it! I will be making it for Christmas! Not for children is CORRECT, lol!

    • — Trina on December 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen. I plan on making this rum cake next week but I’m just wondering how to make it last more than 1 day? Would storing it in the fridge make it last for a few days?

    • — Pam on December 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Pam, you can probably get away with making it 2 days ahead as it’s really moist. If you want to extend that for another day or so, I’d store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Just bring it to room temp before serving.

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2023
      • Reply
    • Has anyone tried this with king Arthur gluten free cup for cup flour? I would love to make gluten free?

      • — Amanda on December 27, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Amanda, it looks like one reader mentioned that they used gluten-free flour and had success with it. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

        • — Jenn on December 28, 2023
        • Reply
  • I just made this today and it is DELISH! The best rum cake I have had and super easy to make!!!!! (I am not a baker at all and this was so helpful!) my family loved it!

    • — Dina on December 6, 2023
    • Reply

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