Rum Cake

Rum cake. It’s every bit as boozy and as brilliant as it sounds. Inspired by the old-fashioned rum cake made in the Caribbean with dark rum in all its magnificently spiced glory.

A rum cake in a grey bowl.

“Not too sweet, endlessly moist, and shamefully boozy.” That’s how the creator of this rum cake describes it and we’re not about to argue. Best keep it away from the kids, the mother-in-law, and the pious.–Renee Schettler

Do I have to refrigerate a rum cake?

As far as shelf-stable desserts go, rum cake is at the top of the list. Sugar and alcohol have been used for centuries, not just to make food more delicious but also to help things last longer. If you’re looking for a dessert that can be left out for a couple of hours and still remain as swoon-worthy as when you first made it, this is your answer.

Rum Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 1 H
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 12 to 16
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum. cookbook

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  • For the rum cake
  • For the rum glaze


Make the rum cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Generously butter a 10- to -12- cup Bundt pan. Add a tablespoon or so of flour to the pan, tilt and tap the pan to completely coat the inside with flour. Turn the pan upside down over the sink and tap to remove any excess flour. [Editor’s Note: The more thoroughly you butter and flour the pan now, the easier it will be to remove the cake from the pan.]

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, rum, and vanilla extract.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, add the cake flour, both sugars, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix on low for 1 minute or until there are no longer clumps of brown sugar. Add the softened butter and mix on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the egg and rum mixture to the dry ingredients in 4 to 6 batches, mixing everything after each addition for at least 10 to 15 seconds before adding the next addition to ensure everything is well combined before adding more. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue this process until all of the egg-rum mixture is incorporated and the batter is smooth and no streaks remain.

Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 70 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness. You want it to come out clean or with some dry crumbs clinging to it. If the toothpick has wet batter clinging to it, the cake’s not done. Let the cake cool completely in its pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Don’t remove the cake from the pan yet.

Make the rum glaze

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter and water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and add the rum.

While the cake is still in the pan, use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke holes all over the surface. Spoon half the glaze over the cake and let it soak into the cake.

To serve the rum cake

Once the glaze has soaked into the cake, remove the cake from the pan by placing the wire rack on top of the cake pan holding them tight together and then turning everything upside down. Remove the pan. Poke more holes in the top and sides of the cake with the toothpick or skewer. Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Ideally, patience will prevail and you’ll be able to let the cake rest for about an hour before slicing and serving. Originally published May 18, 2017.

Print RecipeBuy the Coconut. Ginger. Shrimp. Rum. cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This rum cake is moist and has a nice strong rum flavor. Top that off with being easy to make and it's almost perfect. I suggest beating the eggs before adding the other ingredients. It makes a more evenly blended mixture. Next time I’ll allow more time for the glaze to soak in while the cake is still in the pan. I will also use a little more than half the glaze while it's still in the pan. I would like more of the glaze to soak into the cake. This cake just slid right out of the pan. I served this with some rum-laced whipped cream (made with brown sugar) and some rum candied pecan pieces.

This rum cake was a huge success at a weekend event and received many kudos for its taste and texture. Rum was the star of this show. I'd definitely experiment with the amount based on one’s palate. One person raved that the cake hit just the right note in rum flavor without being too boozy, while another person gave a hoot after taking her first bite and declared it off-limits for children. It’s a moist, dense, not overly sweet cake. The crumb is very fine. One person compared the texture to that of a cake donut. I found the texture a bit too spongy for my taste, but I was the lone voice of dissent. Everyone else loved it.

I felt that the glaze was essential to balance the bite of the rum. Patience is a virtue when buttering and flouring the Bundt pan. For me, this is one of the longest steps in the process. In order to ensure an easy release after baking/cooling, I make sure to get butter in every nook and cranny. The more detailed the design of the pan, the more time this takes. I used a 10-cup Bundt pan.



  1. This cake screams for a pineapple/coconut “something” on the side…not a Pina Colada, unless cabs can be called! Maybe a pudding of sorts?

  2. Do you think using half Bacardi Dark and half Goslings 151 would be okay? It’s what I got! Obviously only for adults. I don’t want to make a whole cake and ruin it.

  3. This rum cake is sensational. I used a 12-cup Bundt pan and the cake rose to to fill the pan by about 2/3. The texture is a fine crumb and very easy to eat. I’d actually serve a bit of whipped heavy cream with it. It was far easier to coat my non-stick pan with cooking spray and dust it with flour than to laboriously apply butter to the pan. The cake slid out of the pan effortlessly. I think the instructions should say that once the softened butter is absorbed, the batter will mass on the flat beater. And I added the egg/rum liquid much more slowly than suggested, 6 to 8 additions, with thorough beating on a medium-low speed and frequent scraping with a rubber spatula between additions. Final batter was very creamy and smooth. My cake baked in 60 minutes flat. Cheers!

  4. You read my mind! I was just telling my daughter-in-law about those wonderful tortuga rum cakes. Do you think I can make it with GF 1:1 flour?? (A family member has Celiac.)

    1. Randi, lovely to hear that you love this sort of rum cake, too! I think that a 1:1 substitution would work perfectly fine. And just to be sure, I checked with someone I know who constantly bakes gluten-free and she, too, says she thinks substituting a GF flour blend would work just fine since most of the commercial GF flours work very well in cakes. She suggested that one tweak you might consider is increasing the leavening just a little bit—so maybe 2.5 tsp baking powder instead of 2 tsp. But honestly, she says, the recipe should work great even without that adjustment. Kindly let us know how it goes!

      1. Hi Renee,
        TY for all the info, truly appreciate it. I do find that the 1:1 flours create moister results, so that should work great with the rum. If it’s too moist, then we’ll just eat it with a spoon ! 🙂

          1. This is the 1st time I’ve become tipsy while tasting the batter! Yes, this is a rummy/boozy recipe as described. I read all the Reviews above and agree with all of them. I even tried to simmer the rum with the glaze recipe but that dark rum is strong stuff. Reducing the alcohol is a good idea. I used a 10 cup Nordic Ware Bundt Spring Pan and it released without a hitch. Not sure if I love the quality of the cake but I know it has to be sturdier to hold all the rum. The cake is good but I felt it needed a gooey element on top. I am going to make a thinned out cream cheese, flavored with lemon zest or coconut that I will drizzle on top like a Jackson Pollock painting.

          2. Heh, well, we did try to warn folks, Randi K, and I appreciate that you felt you had fair warning! I can see a cream cheese frosting with a touch of acidity being quite nice, love that idea!

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