Rum Cake

This Rum Cake is out of this world, y’all! It’s rich, tender, buttery, and full of rum flavor. It’s not like you’re downing a shot of rum or anything, but it’s definitely boozy! Great for the holidays, special occasions, or any time you feel like you deserve a grown-up treat. I’ve shared a recipe before for a delicious pineapple rum cake, but consider this the OG. Doesn’t have pineapple or cherries, but you can add totally add them if you want to!

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A slice of rum cake being held up on a cake server, with the rest of the cake visible on a plate and a bottle of rum in the background

If you go talk with someone from the Caribbean and bring up the topic of rum cake, I bet my bottom dollar they’ll tell you it’s a family tradition. It’s like asking if the sky is blue – of course, they have a rum cake recipe! It’s such a cornerstone of their culture. And let me tell ya, down here in the South, we’ve got a real sweet spot for it too. I can hardly pass up the chance to try anyone’s rum cake!

This version is a lighter take on the traditional Caribbean rum cake tho, a.k.a black cake. That’s a dense, moist cake loaded with dried fruits that have been soaking in rum or wine for days on end, sometimes even weeks. This one is made by simply poking holes in a vanilla bundt cake and drenching it with a rum butter syrup. It’s quicker and easier to make, but just as tasty!

The Heart & Soul Of Rum Cake

Cuisine Inspiration: Caribbean
Primary Cooking Method: Baking
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Rich, buttery rum with a hint of vanilla
Skill Level: Beginner

Sweet Spots

  • Boozy Balance: This cake has that perfect boozy kick, but it ain’t gonna knock you off your feet. Just a heads up – it’s definitely not one for the kiddos or for those skipping alcohol.
  • Ease of Baking: Don’t let the fancy name fool ya, boo – this cake is as easy as ABC to whip up. Even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen, the steps are super easy and forgiving.
  • Unbeatable Taste: Forget about store-bought rum cakes that taste like they’ve been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long. This homemade version is miles ahead in flavor, with a freshness and richness you just can’t buy.
  • Moist & Dense: Ever had a cake so dry it needed a gallon of milk just to get it down? Well, this ain’t it! Thanks to that rum butter sauce, every bite of this cake is moist and dense, just as a proper Caribbean rum cake should be.

Ingredients to make Rum Cake

for the cake

  • Unsalted Butter: Make sure it’s room temperature, y’all. It creams better that way.
  • Vegetable Oil: Helps keep our cake super moist.
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix: Be sure it’s the instant kind, not the cook-and-serve. This is my secret weapon for added moisture and flavor.
  • Granulated & Light Brown Sugar: Brings the perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor from the brown sugar.
  • Baking Powder & Fine Sea Salt: For lift and flavor balancing. Can’t have one without the other.
  • Cake Flour: It’s all about that tender crumb! All-purpose flour can work, but cake flour’s the MVP for a reason.
  • Large Eggs: Essential for structure and richness.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds that classic, sweet flavor. Don’t skimp on the good stuff!
  • Milk: Room temp, please. Helps everything mix smoothly.
  • Dark Rum: It ain’t a rum cake without it! Here’s where your favorite rum gets to shine.

for the rum butter syrup

  • Unsalted Butter: Because butter makes everything better.
  • Water & Sugar: To create that syrupy goodness.
  • Rum (Again): Some folks swear by Bacardi, but any white rum you’ve got will do just fine.
  • A Pinch of Fine Sea Salt: Just to balance out the sweetness.
Overhead shot of ingredients to make rum cake on the table before mixing

How to make Rum Cake

step 1: mix the cake batter

  1. Add butter, oil, pudding mix, sugars, baking powder, and salt to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high until evenly mixed and fully hydrated.
  2. Reduce speed and add flour in 2 additions. Beat until thick and smooth. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each egg. 
  4. Add vanilla, milk, and rum, and mix until smooth. The batter will be thinnish.  
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake until golden brown and the cake starts pulling away from the edge of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.
A step by step image collage on how to make rum cake with mixng the batter and baking the cake

step 2: make the rum butter syrup

  1. Combine all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat and cook until the mixture thickens and reduces.
A step by step image collage on how to make rum cake with cooking the rum butter syrup

step 3: pour the syrup over the bottom of the cake and let it sit

  1. Poke holes all around the cake using a skewer.
  2. Slowly pour the syrup all over the bottom of the cake, allowing it to soak up.
  3. Cover it and let it sit for a couple hours to fully soak.
  4. Turn out the cake onto a platter and serve!
A step by step image collage on how to make rum cake with poking holes all around the cake, pouring the syrup over the holes, and covering the cake to let it rest

Tips for making the best rum soaked cake

  1. Tap Away the Air Bubbles: After pouring your batter into the Bundt pan, give it a firm yet gentle tap on the counter. This little jiggle helps release any trapped air bubbles, ensuring your cake comes out super smooth.
  2. Be Patient: Once that syrup hits the cake, it’s tempting to cut a slice right away. But trust me boo, the longer you let it sit, the more incredible it tastes!
  3. Measure Your Flour Well: Nobody wants a rum cake that could double as a doorstop. To keep things light and airy, measure your flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife.
  4. Warm Cake, Warm Syrup: For that syrup to really seep into every nook and cranny, pour it over the cake while it’s still warm. That’s how the cake soaks up all that boozy, buttery goodness!
  • Go Alcohol-Free: If you wanna keep things non-boozy, you can swap out the rum for a non-alcoholic rum alternative. These days, there are some pretty decent options out there that can give you the rum flavor without the alcohol content!
  • Add Some Crunch: Throw some chopped nuts like pecans or almonds into the pan before you add the batter. They’ll bake into a crunchy, tasty layer.
  • Leave the Pudding Mix Out: You can totally make the cake without it. Just know it might come out a bit drier and not as sweet. It’s still going to be tasty tho!
  • Coffee Kick: For a richer, deeper flavor, try replacing some of the milk with strong brewed coffee or espresso. It’ll give this rum cake recipe an extra layer of complexity.
A slice of rum cake being held up on a cake server, with the rest of the cake visible in the background

What to serve with this easy rum cake

  • A slice of rich rum cake crowned with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream… Pure bliss, if you ask me!
  • Ain’t nothing like a bit of fresh fruit or a dab of strawberry sauce to cut through the cake’s richness.
  • Why not pair it with vanilla ice cream, cookie butter ice cream, or coffee ice cream? Or something like a lemonade sorbet? Almost any cool treat works with this cake, y’all!
  • And for those moments when you’re just sitting back, relaxing, a slice of this rum cake alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea is just about perfect.

How to store Rum Cake

After the cake has fully soaked in all that rummy goodness and you’ve had your first (or second!) slice, you’ll want to keep it fresh. Wrap it up tight in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or you can store it in an airtight container. This keeps the air out and the moisture in.

How long will Rum Cake last?

On the counter, your cake will stay delicious for about 5 days. If you’ve got leftovers after that, pop it into the fridge. In there, it’ll keep well for up to a week.

Can I freeze Caribbean rum cake?

This easy rum cake freezes like a charm! Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then again in foil, or place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can hang out in the freezer for up to 3 months and still come out tasting great.

A slice of golden-brown rum cake on a plate, with the rest of the cake in the background, showcasing a moist and airy crumb texture.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use light rum instead of dark rum for the cake batter?

Absolutely, boo! You can use light rum if that’s what you have on hand. Dark rum does bring a deeper, more molasses-y flavor to the cake, but light rum will still give you that nice rummy kick.

Will this cake make me drunk?

It sure won’t! While there’s a good bit of rum in this cake, the amount you consume in a slice (especially with most of the alcohol cooking off during baking) isn’t enough to have that effect.

How do I know when the syrup is ready?

It’s ready when it has thickened slightly – it should coat the back of a spoon but still be pourable.

Closeup of a rum cake on a white plate with silver forks and a white mug in the background

I love me some Rum Cake! It’s got it all – moistness, a gentle boozy note, and that buttery goodness that’ll have you coming back for seconds. It’s perfect for any get-together or just a treat for yourself. So, give it a whirl, and enjoy the smiles it brings. Happy baking, boos!

More Boozy Cake recipes

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Closeup of a slice of golden-brown rum cake on a white plate, with the rest of the cake in the background

Rum Cake

This Rum Cake is one word.. BOMB! With a moist, soft crumb and a drizzle of Rum Buter syrup (waay better than glaze) you'll have a hard time sharing it!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk room temperature
  • ½ cup dark rum

For the Rum Butter Syrup:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • Pinch fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 12-inch Bundt pan by spraying liberally with nonstick baking spray.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, oil, pudding mix, sugars, baking powder, and salt and beat on high for 3 minutes, until evenly mixed and fully hydrated.
  • Reduce speed and add flour in 2 additions and beat until thick and smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each egg.
  • Add vanilla, milk, and rum, and mix until smooth. Batter will be thinnish.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and cake starts pulling away from the edge of the pan, about 50-55 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and cook until the mixture thickens and reduces, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Using a skewer, poke holes all around cake. Slowly pour the syrup all over the bottom of the cake, allowing it to soak up. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours to fully soak.
  • Turn out cake onto platter and serve.

Notes

  • Tap Away the Air Bubbles: After pouring your batter into the Bundt pan, give it a firm yet gentle tap on the counter. This little jiggle helps release any trapped air bubbles, ensuring your cake comes out super smooth.
  • Be Patient: Once that syrup hits the cake, it’s tempting to cut a slice right away. But trust me boo, the longer you let it sit, the more incredible it tastes!
  • Measure Your Flour Well: Nobody wants a rum cake that could double as a doorstop. To keep things light and airy, measure your flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife.
  • Warm Cake, Warm Syrup: For that syrup to really seep into every nook and cranny, pour it over the cake while it’s still warm. That’s how the cake soaks up all that boozy, buttery goodness!

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
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Filed Under:  Oven, Pound Cakes

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