Rum Cake

It’s Christmas and this means that we are almost at the close of the year 2020. Traditionally there are many celebrations during the holiday season but like most things in 2020, we have adapted our gatherings to smaller groups and simpler celebrations than in past years as we observe and practice caution and forms of social distancing.

Here’s a little cake which is sure to bring much joy whether you are having company over or just making something special for yourself. It’s very simple to make and you do not have to be a seasoned baker to achieve success. If you are not a big fan of Christmas fruit cake but enjoy a cake which has some alcohol, this one is a great one to make. It’s not a cake for little kids as there is a rum syrup glaze, but it is one which many love.

Many years ago I stumbled on the recipe for Bacardi Rum cake. Some time later I tasted The Tortuga rum cake from the Cayman Islands and realized that they were identical. Both cakes use a boxed yellow cake mix imbibed in a syrup made with island rum. There are different types of flavored rums which can also be used as well a variety of pudding flavors besides the vanilla stated; each yielding a different flavor of rum cake. However, in my humble opinion the traditional vanilla and original dark gold rum is the best.

The secret is a store bought cake mix as the base and a few special additions which kick the ubiquitous cake up several notches. Although I sometimes make this cake from scratch using my own recipe for the cake, I thought I would share this recipe which Bacardi rum published many years ago as it seems to be the original. This rum cake is lightly boozy and definitely makes for a dessert which is tasty, festive and foolproof. I make no claims on this recipe, I am simply sharing a tried and true one which will be sure to bring joy to those who have a slice. 

Rum is added in two parts in this recipe first in the batter and then is added to a buttery syrup which is drizzled over the warm cake as a glaze. The chopped walnuts or pecans baked into the crust of the cake impart a lovely texture to the crust. The addition of a pudding mix to the cake batter makes for an amazingly moist cake which marries well with the rum syrup drizzle. If you’re looking for a perfect addition to your festive table, look no further as you will have a winner here for your special celebrations whether they be large or small.

Happy holidays and seasons greetings to you and yours. However you are able to spend this Christmas and New Years, I hope that you have moments of joy and hope. May the new year bring blessings and good health to you all.

Christmas rum cake

Rum cake


1 box yellow cake mix

1 3 1/4oz pack instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

4 eggs

¼ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup good rum


4oz butter (do not substitute)

¼ cup water

1 cup sugar

½ cup good dark rum


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or a 10” tube cake pan.

Sprinkle chopped nuts on the base.

In a bowl add the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, rum and water. 

Combine all the ingredients well to a smooth batter and pour into the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 60 minutes until golden.

While the cake is baking make the rum syrup.

Rum syrup 

In a medium pot, add the sugar, butter and water. Boil for 5 minutes stirring continuously. The syrup should thicken slightly.

Remove from the heat, add rum and combine.

Place the cake pan on a cooling rack.

Poke holes with a skewer all over the top of the warm cake.

Drizzle the rum syrup over the top in 3 parts allowing the syrup to absorb fully.

It may seem like too much liquid, but use all of it.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for half an hour. The liquid will also absorb fully during this time.

Invert cake onto a serving platter.

Mini rum cakes

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Denise says:

    I love your blog Unnie…. ❤️❤️❤️ I may not assimilate your recipes in entirety but pick and choose tips and processes to make my own mix and match…

    1. sharleebrun says:

      Thanks so much my dearest Unnie. That’s the idea that y-i can use them as a guideline and then add your touch if you’d like. ❤️❤️❤️

    2. sharleebrun says:

      I am so happy to hear from you. Cooking is a journey and it’s always nice to add your own touches and flavors to a recipe.❤️❤️

  2. Stephen says:

    Hello Sharon,
    I would like to try this. Is it cup cakes? Can you clarify the amount of the second ingredient? You wrote 1 3 1/4oz I’m not sure of the amount. For the good dark rhum trust me it will be Barbancourt

    1. sharleebrun says:

      Hi Stephen,
      The second ingredient is simply a box of pudding like jello vanilla pudding mix. Check the size of the box as you will need a 3 1/4oz box of the powder mix that you will add to the cake. The Barbancourt will be perfect for this. Enjoy!!

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