Caribbean Rum Cake: Bring the islands home to your house

RumCake

What is it about the tropics that makes people so relaxed? Everything proceeds at a much slower and more civilized pace. Wound-up businessmen trade ties for tan lines, and harried mavens literally let their hair down, braided in sparkling beads. Even my parents have had their share of island adventures…

I remember the year they went on a cruise to the Bahamas. My phone rang, to reveal sounds of reveling. It was my mother, calling from the shipboard pizza parlor, at midnight. “Just out for a snack,” she says. “Dad and Bert are having another beer,” she says.  Mind you now, at home in Massachusetts my parents have one cocktail per day, at 5 pm, and are in bed by 9:30.

Later, on a different trip, we found out they had been to visit the Bacardi factory in Puerto Rico. Several times. Including the tasting room. Ahem… several times! Do I begrudge them their fun? Absolutely not. We may give them a good ribbing about spending our inheritance on lobster and libations, but they earned every penny and every minute of it, so more power to them.

Once the sun and fun has been traded in for snow and sleet, it’s nice to bring back a taste of the tropics to our table. It jiggles the  senses and quite often brings back memories of stories yet untold, and we listen as Grammy and Papa make the kids squeal – “OMG, you did NOT!” Turning the tables is rollicking good fun, eh?

Our recipe for Caribbean Rum Cake mimics the Tortuga rum cakes that are so famous down in the little latitudes. Tortuga rum cake is amazingly moist and complex, and the recipe is a complete secret. Copy-cat recipes abound online, and by blending a hint of this one, and a touch of that one, we feel like we’ve come up with a real winner.

Our taste testers here were bowled over by this cake.  I will say it contains a FULL cup of rum, total; and could be NSFW (not safe for work) unless your office is pretty progressive. My boss, Matt, has already reminded me twice of his birthday while praising this cake.

Let’s see what you think of our Caribbean Rum Cake.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Spritz your Bundt pan well with cooking spray, and coat with a layer of toasted pecan meal. You can make your own pecan meal by toasting pecans in a dry skillet until they’re fragrant (about 8 minutes), and then pulsing them in a food processor until they’re finely ground.

This outer layer of pecans not only looks spectacular on the finished cake, it gives the crust a nice, subtle texture, as well.

For the cake you’ll need:

I’m a big fan of the two-stage method for cakes. Add all of your ingredients to the bowl, reserving half of the liquid. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the remaining liquid and beat for another minute or two until the batter is thick and smooth. The resulting cake has a very fine grain, and moist texture.

If you prefer, you can use the traditional creaming method for making the cake batter.

This recipe will make one full-sized Bundt cake or two smaller Bundt cakes.

Now, be a better planner than I was. If you’re making several cakes in one day, plan on using more than one oven. I had to squeeze these guys all in together, which thankfully worked out, but isn’t really a very good plan.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the edges of the pan. A toothpick isn’t really long enough to reach the center of the cake for testing, but an uncooked piece of spaghetti or a flat dry noodle works great!

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. DO NOT TURN THE CAKE OUT OF THE PAN!

While the cake sits for a bit, prepare the rum syrup. In a medium-sized saucepan mix:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white or golden rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Bring to a rolling boil and cook for about a minute or two, to reduce slightly.

If you’ve made a full-sized Bundt, you’ll be using all of the syrup on one cake. If you’d made smaller Bundts, divide the syrup up evenly. No need to measure; as long as all of the cakes get a pretty good soaking, you’re golden.

Allow the syrup to soak into the cake. Add more syrup, a bit at a time, until all of the syrup is used up.  Cover the cake with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight IN THE PAN.

The following morning, turn the cake out onto your serving dish or a cardboard cake round. The cake will be incredibly moist and tender by this time, so try to get it to the final serving platter without too many plate changes.

When I say incredibly moist, I really mean it, too. This cake is just shy of being a pudding cake. Only one or two taste testers felt it was too much, but most folks reveled in the velvety texture.

Deep breath now… mmmmmm… Feel those warm tropical breezes yet? I sure do.

Let me say once again, this cake is packed with rum. There’s just no getting around it, it’s this cake’s raison d’etre, it’s sole purpose for being. Invite the grownups over, make Carol’s Caramel Corn or Fudge Brownies for the kids, and enjoy the upside of being an adult. She-who-drives-the-carpool and he-who-pays-the-taxes deserve special treat sometimes, too! I’ll even check and see if my parents are free for the night!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Caribbean Rum Cake.

Print just the recipe

Check out our other grownup treats: Nutmeg Bites, Brandied Mince Tarts, and Harvey Wallbanger Cake. Oh, and don’t forget Chocolate Intemperance

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Sandra Alicante

    Goodness, I hope all the testers had someone else drive home, hic! The texture looks nice though.
    The Brits have a tradition at Christmas of a heavy fruit cake, made well in advance of the holiday. The reason is to let the cake mature – which involves ‘feeding’ it with alcohol every week…
    I hate alcohol, so hubby gets one all to himself:)
    HI Sandra,
    Believe me, we had tiny little slices, although I do know at least one person who went back for seconds! ;) . I hope your honey enjoys the cake. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. vibeguy

    What all are you counting as liquid for the “reserve half” – just the oil, milk and rum, or are you counting the eggs?
    Just the oil, milk and rum. The eggs would go in at the beginning with everything else. Thanks for asking! ~ MaryJane

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  3. ancameni

    Wow, i have been making the rum Cake for the last 3 years. One year, after our holiday party at work, my boss ate the leftover cake with some leftover custard. He is now convinced that this is the only way to eat the rum cake. I am so looking forward to trying this recipe.
    Oooh, that sounds wonderful. I’ll have to give it a try. ~ MaryJane

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  4. megahloo

    Do you have any suggestions for how to make rum cake alcohol free? I’m actually allergic to alcohol but love the moistness of rum cake… Thanks!
    Unfortunately, this cake relies so much on the rum, I’d say start by choosing another plain bundt cake recipe, add a bit of pudding or custard powder to the batter, and use a good flavored simple syrup for soaking. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
    1. ToFatLadies

      I know that this is a year late for a reply, but, If you take the rum and simmer it slowly the alcohol should evaporate out of it. I did this for my boyfriend as he was a recovering alcoholic. It’s better than the rum flavoring that you buy (which may have alcohol in them). Be careful because the alcohol could flame.

    2. Julianne Nielsen

      I googled how to remove alcohol in cooking. The page I found, whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/AlcoholCooking.htm, had a wonderful chart that showed all sorts of different ways of cooking, how long it cooked and how much alcohol is retained. Never was ALL the alcohol removed. Boiling the alcohol out would take 2.5 – 3 hours and then it would still retain some of the alcohol (5%).
      There was also a link to a chart listing substitutes for alcohol. For light or dark rum, you could substitute apple juice and other juices. Or a syrup made with almond flavoring.

    3. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Thanks for sharing this bit of science with us. I know I’ll be bookmarking it to share with others. ~ MJ

  5. nelll

    Surely if you’re baking the cake and boiling the rum for a couple of minutes, the alcohol cooks out?

    Really – is there any science on just how much of the alcohol is left when the cake is baked and the syrup is boiled? How long do you have to bake or boil alcohol before it evaporates?

    Or did anyone in the test kitchen ‘taste’ or ‘feel’ the alcohol while eating it?
    Oh, you can definitely taste and feel the alcohol in the cake cake. I’m sure that there is plenty of science behind how long it takes to cook off how much alcohol in books like McGee’s “On Food and Cooking”. Part of the tradition of this cake though is the rummy-ness of it and the fact that you feel a little naughty for eating a cake that could get you wobbly-kneed if you ate too much. ~ MaryJane

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  6. Anner

    If I make this in mini Bundt pans, what do you suggest I put the remaining batter (assuming there is leftover) in?
    I’d go with cupcake tins, for a personal sized treat. ~ MaryJane

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  7. sandra Alicante

    For Megahloo – I think you could make this really, really yummy by using a lemon syrup, like you would for a drizzle cake. It would have to be made with fresh lemons though.
    MJ – perhaps it would be worth a try making the cake with orange juice or pineapple juice for those who need to avoid the alcohol?
    If anyone does give the juice version a try, we’d love to hear how it comes out. Don’t forget, we have many wonderful bundt cake recipes on the site that don’t call for any booze at all. Making this particular cake with no rum would be rather like leaving the chocolate chips out of chocolate chip cookies. ~ MaryJane

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  8. savickers

    Do you know if this cake, like its little lattitude cousins, will keep for and extended period of time? I’d like to ship one to Madagascar – normally two to three weeks en route.
    I think it is definitely worth a try. I kept a piece of one on my counter for about 10 days to test it out, and it was just fine after that amount of time. ~ MaryJane

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  9. wingboy

    If I was home, I’d have this cake in the oven in a flash. It looks really good. I have a similar recipe but it depends on eggs, sugar and cream (custard) for the moistness. I like the idea of dusting the pan with pecan meal, but I’m thinking poppyseeds would also work. Thanks!
    I bet poppyseeds would be great. Light enough not to fall off, dark enough for some lovely contrast. Excellent idea! ~ MaryJane

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  10. kidpizza

    MEGAHLOO:
    Good afternoon. You can consider two items to give you a rum flavoring. One is “RUM EXTRACT” You can mix in a Syrup by TORANI & CO.. I believe they have a rum flavor. They are in San Francisco,CA. I have a few of their flavors but not rum. Check them out. Go to Google & ask for their website. Many stores carry this flavoring ingredient. I know Sam’s club does.

    I hope this helps. If you need to discuss this idea any further I am here to help you.

    Enjoy the rest of the day.

    ~KIDPIZZA.

    Reply
  11. Cindy Leigh

    Oh I’m so excited! I toured the Tortuga Rum place while on a cruise to the Cayman Islands in April! The cake samples there are extremely “rummy”, there’s a ton of alcohol and you are quite aware of it.
    I came home with a large bottle of coconut rum, and a sampler pack of 5 different flavored rums, including mango. This cake is calling out to me! Hmmm, maybe coconut rum, with some macadamia nuts thrown in? Pineapple?
    Man, oh man, that sounds amazing. Let us know which one you try and how it comes out. We’ll call it the Cindy Leigh Special! ~ MaryJane

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  12. vibeguy

    Darnedest thing. I started working on the cake at 5:00 with 750 mL of rum in the bottle, and at 5:25 I had 525 mL left, but now it’s 6:00 and . . .well, there was ice in the freezer, and Diet Coke in the fridge, and here’s this newly-opened bottle of rum, and I don’t want it to go*off*…

    This batter goes together like a gem – and licking the beater was totally awesome.
    Too funny. Never let a good bottle go to waist (pun intended) right? ~ MaryJane

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  13. Carole

    What could I use To substitute for the butter in the batter? Can’t have cholesterol. Can I use egg beaters???
    You can try on of the soy butters, just be sure to buy stick form, not spread form. I think Egg Beaters will work just fine too. ~ MaryJane

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  14. "Jane Dough"

    13 hours and 12 minutes later I am enjoying a slice of this wonderful cake for breakfast! When MaryJane said incredibly moist, she meant it. This cake has a wonderful texture (without being soggy) and flavor. We love the Caribbean so I had to try this recipe right away. Might just give these out for the holidays!!
    Woo hoo, you really know how to start the day off right! I thought I was being decadent with pumpkin pie for breakfast yesterday. Your friends and family will be lined up to get their cakes believe me! ~ MaryJane

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  15. MarshaJ

    This looks like a from-scratch version of the Bacardi rum cake that starts with yellow cake mix. I have been making this cake beginning in the seventies when Barcardi introduced it. There are some differences in technique for adding the rum glaze but it is basically the same. Since Duncan Hines recently raised the price of there cake mix by reducing the contents in the box (they think we didn’t notice that it was a price hike) they have messed up my old recipe. I am so glad to now have a scratch version to switch to. Thanks guys.

    Glad we could help you out Marsha. I have had a piece of the cake mix version, and this will really knock your socks off, if I do say so. ~ MaryJane

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  16. vibeguy

    I swear, if I never read “Cover the cake with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight IN THE PAN” again, it will still be too soon. Do you people *KNOW* how hard it is to ignore a cake sitting in the kitchen for 12 hours, let alone nearly 24? I’m sharing this with my trivia team tonight, and short of a platter of slices, there’s no way to hide sampling from a Bundt cake.

    One of my friends, who is FAR less responsible than I am, made the cake last night and Facebooked pictures of him having it *for breakfast*. *whine*
    A trivia team? You are SO lucky! I adore trivia. I say go with the platter of slices. No one will have to know. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. erolb1

    I’ll often bake a chocolate cake version of this, and since my chocolate cake recipe already has lots of butter, I use the following for the rum sauce:

    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup sugar
    2/3 cup rum (gold or dark works better with chocolate)

    Mix water and sugar, and heat until dissolved. (The microwave works well for this.) Let cool. Mix in rum.

    This version also has the advantage of soaking into the cake more easily than the version with butter and a larger amount of sugar.

    Reply
  18. vibeguy

    Wow. Boozy without a harshness. I really think the stick of butter in the syrup is the secret. Everyone raved and had seconds (or thirds). This is a gem. You think it’s a good candidate for freezing? I’m suspecting with the relatively high fat content and booze-sugar soak you coul easily keep single Saran-wrapped slices in a freezer bag for when the mood strikes. I look forward to making this time and again.
    Sure, it’s definitely freezer material! :) ~Amy

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  19. scottjl

    made this yesterday, could only wait about 8 hours before i had to try a slice. it is excellent. had some this morning with breakfast too. will definitely be making this again and already shared the recipe with several friends.

    was thinking of trying this out with “rumchata” instead of plain rum on my next cake.

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  20. gaa

    This cake sounds wonderful!! I love rum in baked goods. In fact, while I was reading the post and comments, I was wondering if you could use dark rum in the recipe instead of light or golden. (My favorite rum is Gosling’s Black Seal Rum from Bermuda. Dark n Stormy drinks are one of my favorite drinks and over the summer I found a killer recipe for Dark N Stormy cupcakes with black rum buttercream frosting. I digress …)

    Then I found the comment above from erolb1 about making a chocolate version of the cake using … dark rum!!! Erolb1, would you be willing to share that recipe with me??
    Whichever rum you decide to use, the results will be delicious. Using darker rum may change the color of the cake and glaze – but still be a wonderful taste treat. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  21. Rebecca

    Is there anything you can use instead of pudding mix/custard mix? I would love to make this with ingredients that are on hand. Of course, rum is on hand! Thanks.

    The pudding or custard mix is necessary for the texture of this cake, there isn’t really anything you can replace it with.-Jon

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  22. vintage_violette

    I second the request for a substitute for pudding mix or any sort of mix. I don’t like using mixes or commercial preparations in my baking and would rather use real ingredients and not some mysterious stuff full of sugar, artificial colors, and other weird ingredients. I want to control what goes into my baked goods :-)

    Pudding is mostly corn starch, right? Perhaps with some dry milk or egg product to make these mixes? Maybe I’ll experiment and find a substitute… The cake does look yummy, otherwise.
    Thanks all for the mix-free comments. If you do try subs, we’d love to hear how things come out. ~ MaryJane

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  23. Cindy leigh

    Ok, the “Pina Colada Tortuga Rum Cake” is In The oven.
    Here’s what I did:
    Added half a cup crushed pineapple, well drained. i had one quarter cup pineapple juice from that, and to that I added a scant 1/4 cup milk and a tbsp of dry milk just in case the milk aids any structure. Maybe that’s not necessary.
    For flavorings I used a few drops each of coconut emulsion, pineapple flavoring, and princess cake (just because I love that stuff so much) and some rum flavoring.
    Forthe rum, I used half coconut rum and half pineapple rum.
    I blended in about a half cup of quartered macadamia nuts and about six quartered maraschino cherries.
    Baking as directed.
    I will use the same flavored rums for the soaking sauce. I will decorate the top of the cake with halved cherries and macadamias. kicking myself now for not having that wide shaved coconut in my arsenal, that might look good on top too.
    Hmm,I just realized I have both pineapple juice powder and coconut powder in my pantry from KAF. Too bad I didn’t think of it earlier. Oh well,next experient maybe.

    The one drawback to making this before breakfast is well, you know, you need to sample the rum and the batter!!

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  24. Cindy Leigh

    Ok. Oh yeah. Wow.
    I put a few tbsp of the batter on a small ramekin so I could make a taster” .
    Glazed with the rum sauce and put in the freezer for 10 min to cool. My version is not as boozy as the actual cake sold In The Tortuga rum outlet, but that’s because I only put a tbsp over my “tester”. And theirs didn’t taste like it had butter or sugar in the glaze, just pure rum. Truth be told, this is better!
    I do note that mine didn’t have that creased ring that MJs photo does. Sort of like where it rises up and cracks? I like the look of that.
    I have to get out of the kitchen now before I eat the whole cake, which I made as a gift!

    All of these comments are really pushing me to make this cake sooner than later, I think I know what I will be doing tomorrow!-Jon

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  25. BenjaminAdams

    Made two mini versions of this cake this weekend. Absolutely amazing. If you think you want to make this recipe but are having doubts… just do it! Soooo good.

    I know I certainly want to make it, nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a little rum!-Jon

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  26. meermaid

    Question: Do you have to poke holes in the cake before you drown it in the syrup? I ask because I have a very similar recipe and that’s the only step your directions are missing. I think I will make your rum cake and bring it to my Craft Group’s Christmas Party… Do you think we’ll need to appoint a DD (Designated Driver).

    Though it is not required, you could poke some holes in your cake. It will just allow the syrup mixture to absorb a little faster! As far as having a DD or not…that would depend on how much cake you eat!-Jon

    Reply
  27. Cindy Leigh

    Oh my! We tasted this tonight after dinner. Our rule is, when we have fish for dinner once a week for our heath, its automatic dessert night. And tonight was fish night and I had no other dessert!
    This was SO good. Truth be told it was better than the sample I tried at the Tortuga Rum Factory. Theirs was too “rummy”, like it was soaked in 100% rum vs this simple syrup, butter, rum mixture.
    Great job, MJ!
    Now, I’ve got mango rum, mango flavoring,and dried mangoes from TraderJoes. Hmmm…..

    Sounds like the making of a mango rum cake!-Jon

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  28. shelley65

    Hi it’s Shelley in Paris (www.ParisBread.com)
    Since I can’t easily get packaged foods like you can in the States, I’d also be super happy for ‘real ingredient’ workaround for the pudding mix. If I make some actual pastry cream or some vanilla pudding from scratch, might that work? or sour cream/creme fraiche? (and then eliminate the milk). Any ideas would be appreciated …

    It will take some experimentation with this recipe to use a pudding or sour cream. Both would increase the moisture content in the recipe, also they would remove a dry ingredient from the cake. You will have to add a bit more flour to make up for this, though I am not so sure about the exact amount. If you have the time, please feel free to call our Baker’s Hotline so we can speak about this further!-Jon 1-802-649-3717

    Reply
  29. kidpizza

    SHELLEY65:
    Good day to you. THAT’S using your head!!! Shelley that is what needs to be done just make your pastry cream or a vanills style pudding & omit the milk.
    I can see your are very knowledgable about baking & baking science as well.

    Enjoy the rest of the day young lady.

    ~KIDPIZZA.
    thanks for adding your comments. I will say that we haven’t tested this recipe with using prepared pastry cream or pudding, so you may need to make more adjustments over a period of time. Best of luck with your experiments Shelly. ~ MaryJane

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  30. elkgrovejen

    I love, love, love the Tortuga cakes and always use up my duty free allowance buying the Tortuga rum when I’m in the Caribbean. I have a rum cake recipe that uses boxed cake mix and pudding… I’m so glad to find a from scratch version that looks positively scrumptious! I truly think the rum you use makes all of the difference, and a golden Jamaican rum is perfect here, I think it’s just a little smoother than the white.
    I think you will just love this cake then. Be sure to let us know what you think! ~ MaryJane

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  31. kkaschke

    Could this be made without the pecan flour, using regular flour instead? My brother in-law has nut allergies. I bet this would be good made with coconut rum. ;)

    I don’t see why not, though you certainly do not need to use the meal at all. Just make sure your pan is -very- well greased so that the cake does not stick.-Jon

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  32. daltstatt65

    Okay, please don’t kill me, but I hate rum. I mean, I really, really can’t even smell it without wanting to gag!

    I know it will have a different flavor, but would amaretto work?

    No rum, but amaretto sounds like yum! Enjoy the taste experiment! Irene @ KAF

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  33. pocohorse

    I would rather use the creaming method. Could you provide guidance to make it that way? Is this batter thin or thick? When I made this the first time the batter was thin & runny. The syrup really did not absorb into the cake but stayed near the edge. Thanks for the help.
    To use the creaming method, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. The batter is quite thick, not thin and pourable. Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

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  34. "Jane C"

    The rum cake was fantastic! I made it Wednesday for my party tonight (Saturday) and it was a huge hit. I will definitely make it again. Just followed the recipe, super easy and a wonderful flavor.
    Glad everyone loved it so much. Thanks for sharing so soon after your big event. ~ MaryJane

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  35. pocohorse

    I believe I have discovered what went wrong the first time (and part of the second time) I made this cake. I made it with it with Birds Custard powder and was very thin. I made it again today and I was very careful to measure accurately and it was very thin again. I added a box of pudding and it did thicken. It was much thicker than before but I could still pour it into the pan. It cooked up much better too. Maybe adding more custard powder than just a half cup would make it work. I’ll stick with the pudding from now on. I used the custard powder because I had it on hand. Thanks for your help.

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  36. kaf-sub-lpf526

    I have the cake in the oven now and it smells wonderful. I am going to mix up another and put it in mini bundt pans but I would like to use Disarono. Would you make the simple syrup with the liqueur or just use straight liqueur to soak the cake?

    Personally, I’d make the simple syrup with the liqueur – I’m thinking the straight liqueur might be a bit strong. Though if you like a strong alcohol flavor, go for it… Enjoy – PJH

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  37. r0cky

    I made this cake for our family’s Christmas dinner for tonight and it was a big hit! Have to say I was a bit concerned that the cake might be too sweet with the sugar and rum and pudding mix, or too rich with all the butter and vegetable oil… but it’s perfect! Surprisingly not too sweet and the booziness is just perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing or add anything else. Congrats and great, great job with this recipe!!

    Totally awesome cake, isn’t it, Rocky? So glad you enjoyed it – keep the faith, right? King Arthur always comes through for you… :) PJH

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  38. Vicky

    Hi, I would love to try this, but my family is a bit “tough” when it comes to baking with alcohol (they prefer their alcohol in a glass with some ice)… Would it work if I use the 1/2 cup for the cake and 1/2 cup of fruit juice for the syrup? As I have never tried this cake, I need expert taste bud to imagine this combo… :)
    Sure, try 1/2 cup pineapple juice! ~Amy

    Reply
  39. ellecarruth

    I want to try this recipe and desperately want to follow the directions. Im looking for butter rum flavoring and all i see at my grocery store is butter & nut extract or rum extract. Which one should i use?

    Go for the rum extract, Ellen, it’ll be closer in flavor. And sometime when you get a chance, try our butter-rum flavor – totally wonderful. Enjoy! PJH

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  40. EllyMae

    I made this cake and it’s so yummy! But it’s not the WOW I was hoping for! Also, my pecans were a dud :-( I toasted them then ground them, too wet; ground them then toasted, burned; used the stove top….$7.00 down in the trash :-( oh well the cake still turned out great! Now, to really make this POP I want to try mango (that’s been my “thing” lately) do I add dried mango to the cake? Add some pineapple? What would you suggest to really “spruce” up this cake! Thanks!

    Mangoes or pineapple would fit the theme of the cake quite well! As for your nuts, make sure they are cold before grinding them to prevent them from getting gummy.-Jon

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  41. EllyMae

    Last quick question! I’m making this cake again to take to a dessert contest! I’m going to do the mango version. I am going to use butter rum flavoring BUT use a mango rum and mango! Here’s my question, do I use fresh mango or dried? I’m worried about using fresh due to the liquid in the fruit and I don’t want anything to go mushy but I can only find dried mango in slices, not cubes :-/ Thoughts?? Thanks again I LOVE all of the blogs!!!
    Well, a couple of things come to mind. Yes, the fresh mango is going to be very wet and will probably cause the cake to flop. How about steeping dried mango slices in the milk to flavor it? Then, process the softened mango in the food processor and adding a bit of that “pulp” to the batter. Lastly, if you grated dried mango on a microplaner, you might be able to add some to the pecan coating. Good luck and be sure to let us know how it goes! ~ MaryJane

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  42. Jeeps

    I must confess that I’m new to baking from scratch. I’ve made a bunch Coconut Rum Cakes using boxed cake mixes, adding the required vanilla instant pudding and then including coconut powder, coconut oil, unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut rum. I think my family would LOVE this cake if I incorporated the unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut rum to make it a REAL tropical treat for the adults. Would I need to make adjustments to the wet ingredients with the cup of shredded coconut?

    BTW: I usually use bamboo skewers, which are inexpensive, really handy to have in the kitchen and do a great job for testing and poking holes in bundt cakes. I think that I would go ahead and poke a few holes in this cake to “help” the rum syrup saturate the cake more thoroughly :)
    You should be able to add the coconut without making any adjustments. Enjoy! ~Amy

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  43. Ann

    I looked everywhere but did not find a temperature/time for baking. I tried 375 and it took 55 minutes, what did you use?

    I believe the time and temperature are on the recipe itself. We bake ours at 325 for 50-55 minutes, though it can take longer as it is quite moist!-Jon

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  44. Daria

    If I choose to use the creaming method as opposed to the two-stage method, will I end up with a different kind of cake? To be specific, how will the crumb of the cake differ?

    Also, I’ve seen other rum cake recipes that required a whole cup of pudding mix, a little more oil, and a little more milk. Do you think that makes a big difference?

    The two stage method will makes a cake with very fine grain and moist texture – it typically takes less time and dishes than the creaming method.
    Using the creaming method for the two stage suggested may create bigger air pockets and the cake may be tougher or drier than it’s two-stage cousin. The proof will be in the pudding (or cake) results regarding other recipes and their ingredients. We hope you make several cakes to determine which one meets your taste and texture preferences. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  45. ask

    If you are dividing this batter evenly into two smaller bunt pans, how long do you bake them for? I have inherited two of these pans but have been afraid to use them as I can’t seem to find information on the baking time. Thanks!

    Same baking temperature, shorter baking time. Only fill the pans 2/3 full. Regular size Bundt pans bake from 35 minutes to an hour. Smaller Bundt pans 15 to 35 minutes. Bundt muffin pans 12-20 minutes. It may be best to do a bake, test with a cake tester or other gadget and take notes about the time that works best for your size pan. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  46. EMILY

    HOW MANY CALORIES DOES THIS HAVE ALSO I NEED THE FAT, CARBS, PROTEIN AND FIBER SO THEN I CAN SEE HOW WW POINTS THANKS

    We do not have that information, but you can list the amounts and ingredients on Weight Watchers and it will pop up those statistics. Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  47. Candis

    Do you have a wheat free or gluten free version o this rum cake?

    No we don’t, but you can take the gluten free vanilla cake recipe and bake it in a a bundt pan. Follow the directions for the rum syrup. Make sure all the alcohol is GF.

    Reply
  48. Polly Miles

    One of my family members is allergic to pecans…can you recommend another nut? Thanks, this sounds yummy.

    Almond flour works perfectly, or you can skip the nuts and just use wheat flour. Both work quite well!-Jon

    Reply
  49. Kim Stagliano

    Baking right now – can’t wait to try it. Of course, once I realized I had to let it sit overnight, I had to bake another cake for tonight’s dinner. Cake! Cake! Cake! Thank you, KAF!

    Reply
  50. Lorna

    I can’t get it to absorb even half the liquid – it’s just pooling on top!
    Hi Lorna,
    Did you poke lots of deep holes all over the cake? That really helps. Also, give the liquid time to absorb. It takes plenty of time, so be patient. ~ MJ

    Reply
  51. Cindy

    Just found this recipe and cannot wait to try! Do not have a food processor and not sure blender is up to grinding pecans. Suggestions?
    thanks so much!

    Cindy
    Hi Cindy,
    Check the health food section/gluten free section of your grocery store. They may have pre-ground nut flours you can use. ~ MJ

    Reply
  52. Natacha

    I don’t have a bundt pan. Can I use a regular 10′ pan?
    The recipe should work with any of the following pans: 2 (9″) round cake pans, 9″ x 3″ angel-cake pan or tube pan, 10″ x 2-1/2″ springform pan, or a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pan. ~Amy

    Reply
  53. Laura

    Baked this for my son in the army. Shipped it in the pan WELL wrapped in saran wrap and zip lock. He says this is now his favorite cake. He froze it and has a piece when he needs a pick-me-up. Unfortuantly I didnt get to taste it. Must bake one for myself.

    Even the baker deserves a treat! Thank you both for your service – Irene@KAF

    Reply
  54. Sara

    Any success in making this in other flavors? Perhaps lime or coconut? Not sure if adding some lime zest for lime or substituting coconut rum for coconut are enough to make those flavors come through.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We made this with rum for island fun, but welcome your results using other flavors. You’ll want to flavor both the cake and the syrup for best results. Enjoy the journey – Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  55. Ryan

    Ahhh this looks so fabulous. I remember having a tiny slice of tortuga rum cake that my parents had when I was about 15 and have been wanting to make some ever since!
    Approximately how long do you think this will last? Andwwould refrigeration make it last longer since its so moist?
    Also, do you think homemade pudding mix would work just as well here?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, hard to give an exact shelf life for this cake (it never hangs around longer than a day in my house). However, under refrigeration it should last for about a week. As for the pudding mix, if it is a dry blend then it should work fine. Jon@KAF

  56. Mamie

    How readily does this cake come out of pan after sitting over night? Have never had luck removing when allowed to sit too long.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Mamie,
      I’ve been making this cake for awhile now, as well as some other bakers, and it comes out just fine. Loosen it first with a long bladed spatula and you should be fine. ~ MJ

  57. Camille

    Hi thanks sooo much for posting! I live in the Caribbean and enjoy this cake so much and have always wanted to try…Just one question. I am banking this cake tomorrow. I actually found a similar receipe and then found yours. That receipe calls for 1 3/4 cups flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch, whereas your receipe calls for 2 cups flour. I am a baking newbie….I really want this cake as moist as possible. Do you think if I use cornstarch it will make it less moist or too dense I am not sure why they substituted corn starch.

    Thanks again for posting. I will definitely review and let you know how it turns out :)

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Camille,
      Great question. The other recipe is trying to mimic a cake flour, which is fine for many cakes. However, this particular cake really needs the added support that you get from all-purpose flour. Happy baking! ~ MJ

    1. PJ Hamel

      Joe, sorry about that – it was in the recipe, but not in the blog post. That’s 325°F. Thanks for the “nudge”! PJH

  58. Stephanie Mankins

    LIke others, I was wondering how to make this without the pudding mix (I’m lactose intolerant).
    I found this homemade vanilla pudding mix on browneyedbaker.com, and am going to try to substitute the nonfat dry milk powder with dry soymilk powder. I’ll let you know how it turns out!!

    DIY INSTANT VANILLA PUDDING MIX

    yield: 20 to 25 servings (enough for 5 batches of pudding) prep time: 5 minutes cook time: 10 minutes total time: 15 minutes
    INGREDIENTS:
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ¾ cup cornstarch
    ¾ cup nonfat dry milk powder
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 whole vanilla beans

    DIRECTIONS:
    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, milk powder, and salt; set aside.

    2. Split open the vanilla beans and use the back of a knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the sugar mixture, and again whisk well to evenly combine, using a fork or the back of the spoon to break up any chunks of vanilla bean seeds. Cut the empty vanilla bean pods into two or three pieces each.

    3. Place the vanilla bean pieces into an airtight container or jar, and add the sugar mixture. Seal it, and then give it a few good shakes to distribute the vanilla bean pieces evenly. Store in a cool, dry place.

    To make pudding: Combine 2 cups of milk with ½ cup of the instant pudding mix in a medium saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 3 to 5 minutes). Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

    (Recipe adapted from Always Order Dessert)
    http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/04/17/diy-homemade-instant-vanilla-pudding-mix/

    Thanks!

    Reply
  59. Sissyc

    Were you supposed to make the pudding before you put it into the mix?
    I don’t know what I did wrong but the cake tested done and was slightly pulled away from the pan. When I took it out of the oven, it keeps shrinking and shrinking. Right now it’s locating in the rum glaze mixture but it doesn’t look too great. There’s probably about an inch gap all the way around the pan and the cake only is about halfway up the pan. In the oven it was at the top of the pan

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      No, the pudding goes into the cake dry, Sissy. Sounds as though it may have been too thin a batter, somehow; it rose, but now it’s shrinking. I think it would be helpful if you’d call our baker’s hotline to talk this over – 855-371-BAKE (2253). I’m sure they can help you diagnose what went wrong here… PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I made this 2X in just 10 days! You will need the smaller box for 1/2 cup. My first batch, I used spiced rum and the second batch, I used dark rum. I preferred the second batch. It had a stronger rum flavor. This us the BEST cake ever! I am making it every year right about this time. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, I don’t see why it couldn’t (though in all honesty, it never lasted long enough to try)! Just make sure to let it soak well before freezing in plastic wrap. Also, it will need several hours to come to room temperature. Jon@KAF

  60. Maria Aguirre

    Made this cake and let it set overnight. I had a lot of problems getting the cake out of the pan. The majority of it stuck to the top. Of course if I remove the cake after 1/2 hour , it comes out perfectly -just does not taste as smoothe as letting it sit over night. Any suggessetions?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Maria, I don’t think it gains anything by resting in the pan vs. resting it out of the pan; but if you’d really like to leave it in the pan overnight, next day, heat it briefly in a 350°F oven (5 to 10 minutes or so?); it should release easily. Good luck – PJH

  61. Audrey Dunkley

    Hi from Across the pond

    My name is Audrey.

    I’ve just printed off your rum cake recipe to try as a change from our traditional jamaican rich fruit cake. We don;t have instant vanilla pudding mix over here in the UK. Can I make it without or is there an alternative ingredient that can be used? Oops, just scrolled up and found the homemade mix to try.

    Not that I expect this cake to last very long, but how long can you store the cake for?

    As you guys say over in the US, happy holidays every one.

    Audrey.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Audrey, Hi from the other side of the pond! Do you have Bird’s custard mix? That would be a substitute, too, I believe. The cake stays good for probably just about a week at room temperature (if it lasts that long!) – perhaps longer, though no guarantees. And – I’d wish you happy holidays, British style, but not sure what that would be… How about a bit of Dickens, “God bless us everyone”? :) PJH

  62. Amy

    Well, the cake is delicious and very moist. BUT, although I followed the directions to the letter, and greased and floured my nonstick bundt pan meticulously, I lost a big chunk of the cake when I inverted it onto a serving plate the next day. This is the first time I have let a cake sit overnight in the pan, and the first time so much has remained stuck in the pan. What might I have done differently to get the cake to release cleanly?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Amy, it’s hard to say what might have gone wrong, as there are so many variables. In my experience, there’s simply not a 100% guarantee bundt cakes will release all in once piece, no matter how carefully you grease and flour the pan. Personally, I like to loosen the sides and edges with a flexible spatula as much as possible; wait about 10 minutes, then gently turn it out onto a rack. I know the blog says to cool it in the pan overnight; but maybe that works when you grease the pan and then use nut meal (as the blog says), rather than flour? Sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer – perhaps a chat with the folks at our Baker’s Hotline would help – 855-371-BAKE (2253). Thanks for letting us know how it turned out, anyway – PJH

  63. Sandie

    I was never a fan of rum cake as it was always wet and too strong with rum. Now this one will be my go to recipe. I did not use the rum syrup as the rum baked into the cake was great! This cake is so moist and full of rum. Someone please tell my husband I traded him in for the rum cake! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      You are too funny Sandy! I didn’t get to make my cake yet but I’ll tell my husband to be on the lookout! ~ MJ

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, I am not sure how that liqueur will work in replacement for rum as it contains homogenized cream. However, you can certainly give it a try and report back to us! Jon@KAF

  64. Janene

    I was wondering about a substitution for the pecans due to an allergy? I still want the textural effect-do you think toasted coconut would work well? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I have made this cake many times and can not say enough good things about it. You will love it even without the pecans. I know because I have made it both ways. The pecans add just a little trace of flavor verses texture. The soaking syrup moistens the pecans too much to offer any texture. You could try using coconut but I would stay away from toasted coconut. It may brown too much? You will love this cake! Elisabeth@KAF

  65. MaryJo

    I want to make this for a bake sale fund-raiser, but I have the Bundt duet pan which only holds a total of 5 cups of batter (2 1/2 cups per cake). Can I successfully cut the recipe in half?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You should be able to rather easily! The recipe will work best if cut in half and measured by weight. Happy baking! Jon@KAF

  66. maryjobo

    I made this recipe last night and I tell you what–it is killer! I made it for a bake sale fundraiser today and only kept back 2 cupcakes. I don’t like to use mixes so I needed a substitute for the instant vanilla pudding mix. While other comments here have mentioned homemade pudding mix recipes found online, all of those recipes include dry milk and if you look at a box of pudding mix in the store, there’s no milk–it’s mostly sugar and cornstarch. So I decided to use 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of corn starch, 1 tablespoon of potato flour, and I increased the vanilla extract in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon. It worked great and everybody at the bake sale went nuts over the flavor. I asked my husband (who doesn’t eat desserts) for his opinion of the cake. He took a small bite of one of the cupcakes, closed his eyes as he chewed, then opened them and got a huge silly grin on his face and asked if he could have the rest of the cupcake. Thanks for developing this recipe!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Thank you so much for sharing your substitution. I’m going to re-copy it here so folks can see it even easier.

      for the pudding mix use 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of corn starch, 1 tablespoon of potato flour, and I increased the vanilla extract in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon. It worked great.

      I’m glad it was a hit at the bake sale and with your hubs! ~ MJ

  67. Maggie

    Well, I am in the tropics. Hello from Barbados, where our wedding cakes and Christmas cakes are rum cakes (with fruit). We do have this version as well, but I’ve never thought of making it – until now. I’ll be making this soon!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While we haven’t yet tried this cake with gluten free flours, I suspect it wouldn’t work well without additional changes. ~Jaydl@KAF

  68. Jackie

    When I’ve visited the Islands and purchased rum cakes, I’ve always purchased the flavored ones – chocolate, coffee, lemon, banana, etc. Can you provide guidance on turning this into a flavored rum cake? How much of the flavoring ingredient would you add, and which ingredient would you use for each of those flavors?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Jackie, I would suggest to call our Baker’s Hotline so that we can help with this question. You many many options for flavorings and the amount added will changed based on the type of flavoring. Out number is 855 371 2253! Jon@KAF

  69. Michael

    Someone about 2 years ago asked about a substitute for butter, said can’t have cholesterol, so why not use stick margarine? I have substituted applesauce for butter and margarine a few times in cake recipes and they came out perfect. Also has anyone tried spiced rum in this recipe? I have dark Philippine rum (Tanduay) and some spiced rum on hand. Also do you think I could mix rum with the sugar that is melted under the flan (makes a caramel sauce) in a Cuban flan recipe. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You should be able to add a few tablespoons of rum to your flan recipe. We don’t have a flan recipe online to point you toward, but Epicurious does have a flan recipe which uses rum.~Jaydl@KAF

  70. Goreti

    I made this recently and substituted the rum fro Rumchata and made it as a layer cake. Instead of using the syrup, I filled it with caramelized apples and frosted with cinnamon frosting. It was so delicious that my daughter has asked me to make it again. This time for her boyfriend’s birthday cake. Looks like I will be making it often.

    Reply
  71. Ruth cary

    I love the rum cakes from the Carribean and was anxious to try to make one. Only problem was we had spiced rum and thought I’d give that a try in the cake. When I started to make it I couldn’t find my vanilla pudding mix so I used a chocolate pudding mix instead. I may try coconut, banana or lime as they are some of the flavors of the cakes we saw in cruises.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Wow, great ideas Ruth! We’ll stay tuned for the results of your experiments with the recipe. Can’t wait to hear about them! ~ MJ

  72. Todd H

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have a go to recipe for Rum Cake that I have been making for years and this is going to take it’s place from now on. I have a friend who has a condo on Grand Cayman and I have eaten my share of the Tortuga Rum Cakes and this cake is as good and maybe even better than those cakes. I had to make my own Almond flour which was a little more coarse then regular Almond flour, but other than that, the cake was spot on. I love this cake.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Wow, I am so flattered Todd! That is some high praise indeed and I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipe. My husband just said last night that we haven’t had enough rum cake lately, so this is just one more sign that I need to make it again. ~ MJ

  73. Jessica

    This cake is delicious, I’m making them for the holidays. Quick question, how do I store them…in or out of the frig? Can I keep it in a plastic container?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      For long term storage, freeze the cakes airtight. For serving, you can keep on the counter in a plastic bag or container for 3-4 days. ~ MJ

  74. Dan

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE people! FOLLOW a RECIPE any RECIPE “EXACTLY” as written FIRST!!! Then and ONLY then can you correctly critique or rate it..alterations are great, and I’m all for that and would love to hear how they turned out. But you can’t rate a recipe accurately if you haven’t followed it to a ‘t’.

    Reply
  75. Dan

    O and forgot to mention this cake is SPOT on, just returned from Bahamas and was determined to make my own, everyone REALLY REALLY LOVED this…thank you very much for sharing this recipe!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this recipe and found it authentic! Thanks for letting us know. Barb@KAF

  76. VinXpert

    @erolb1
    Care to share your chocolate rum cake recipe? I’m sure there are many who would like it; I know my husband would! Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  77. Cathey

    This cake is the real deal!! This cake is a huge hit when I make it and everyone says its just like the Carribean rum cake everyone loves!!

    Reply
  78. Carol Owens

    I have made the other Tortuga rum cake a few times but I live at 3500 feet and have trouble with cakes falling. I try to not beat them as much as called for and cut back on the baking powder or soda a little but darn- they look so good and then fwoomp! I have sometimes used a mix instead because there are high altitude adjustments in the directions. Can you give some suggestions for your recipe? I’m sure not at sea level.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure Carol. We have a great source on our site called High Altitude Adjustments. Take a peek! This cake is amazing and it is tradition that someone on our Team will make it during our busy season to get us through those harder days! Elisabeth@KAF

  79. Silvana Gallagher

    Can this recipe be made into cupcakes. Can paper cups be used or should the tins be buttered and floured? Has anyone tried this? What would the bake time adjust to? Thanks

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi there,
      Unfortunately, this recipe will not work well as cupcakes. The syrup would make the little cakes too wet, and they would not hold up well. Sorry, this one’s best as a bundt. ~ MJ

    1. PJ Hamel

      Sure, Channy – you just won’t get the same results. Our flour is monitored closely for protein level and overall quality, and I feel uneasy guaranteeing the recipe if you don’t use KAF. Good luck – PJH

  80. Grace

    Would like to make this recipe to give to several ( 6 or 7) of our neighbors. I read your comment that it can’t be made into cupcakes due to the moistness, but was hoping small loaf pans would work. Otherwise, I guess using a bundt pan and giving slices will have to do. It sounds delicious and if it turns out anything like the original Tortuga Rum Cake, the neighbors might just hear how good it was.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  81. Regina W.

    Happy Holidays!

    Can you substitute the rem for RumChata? If so would the measurements be the same?
    Thank you in advance.

    -Regina

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Regina- While we have not tried that substitution and those ingredients aren’t exactly equivalent in their make up, it looks like one or two other baker’s have given it a try with success. If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know how it goes. Happy baking and happy holidays! Jocelyn@KAF

  82. elvie

    Excellent rum cak.I have been baking different rum cakes this will be my most favorite⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You may certainly omit the nut flour, but you’ll want to dust the pan with flour to ease release. The recipe needs a pan that holds 10-12 cups, so if you have a glass pan that holds that amount, you may use it. With glass, you’ll reduce the heat by 25 degrees. Give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 1-855-371-2253 with more questions. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

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