Caribbean Rum Cake with Rum Glaze

This rum cake is great as a festive holiday treat, but it’s so tasty you may want to make it year-round. I used three different rums for extra flavor in my cake, but if you can only go with one type of rum, I recommend a spiced or dark rum for best results. I use a blend of half pecans and half walnuts in my cake, but you can substitute a different variety of nuts if you prefer (almonds or macadamias  would be tasty additions), or simply skip them altogether if you don’t care for nuts or if you have allergies.

Rum cake base:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup rum (preferably dark or spiced rum)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pecan or almond flour, for dusting baking pan (regular flour can be substituted for those with nut allergies)

Rum soaking syrup:

  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rum (spiced rum recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Rum glaze:

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons rum (light or spiced rum recommended)
  • milk (to thin the glaze)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place all of the cake ingredients except the rum, vanilla, and butter-rum flavor in a bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the bowl after one minute. Add the rum, vanilla, and flavor to the batter and beat at low speed for another minute.
  3. Spritz a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the pecan or almond flour and turn the pan to coat evenly. Evenly spread chopped nuts in bottom of floured pan. Set aside. When ready, pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread level with a spatula.
  4. Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes. When done, the cake will test clean on a cake tester.
  5. Leave the cake in the pan to cool slightly while you make the soaking syrup.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, except vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  7. Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.
  8. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and soak in the syrup. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake and invert onto your serving plate. If the cake won’t release, place it in the oven, turn the oven to 350°F, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes, to soften the syrup. Remove from the oven, and tip the cake onto the serving plate.
  9. To glaze the cake prior to serving, stir together sifted confectioner’s sugar and rum, then mix in enough milk to make a stiff glaze. Drizzle glaze over cake in an irregular pattern, and allow glaze to set before serving.
  10. Serve with hot coffee or tea. The cake is very moist, fragrant and potent.
  11. Wrap securely (or place under a cake cover) and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.

Cook’s Notes:

  • You can try a different flavor pudding mix if desired: banana, caramel, butterscotch, coconut, etc.
  • Bundt cakes can be difficult to test properly with a short toothpick- use a long skewer to test for doneness (in a pinch, a single piece of dry spaghetti also works as a cake tester).
  • You can use mini-Bundt pans if you like to make mini-rum cakes. How many cakes this recipe will make depends on the design and size of the pan you use, but it will likely make between 14-16 cakes (you can divide the recipe in half if you wish). For best results, fill each well about 2/3 of the way full. Smaller cakes will bake faster, so check for doneness around 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.