This handmade rum cake is moist, exceptionally buttery, and flavored with rum, plus it’s created from scratch without the support of a cake mix. Serve it warm or cold with a nice butter rum glaze. Rum cake doesn’t need to be made for a specific occasion, although it’s a nice addition to any holiday table.

This cake is exceptionally buttery and I believe, even if you’re not a fan of rum-flavored desserts, you will fall in love with this dessert. It’s basically a yellow cake with some rum flavor, and then you pour over a rum glaze to soak into the cake. The cake isn’t quite a soft crumb cake, but it is quite dense, like a pound cake. It is in a league of its own.

History of the Rum Cake

The rum cake originated in the United Kingdom and is widely enjoyed in Europe and North America and is typically served during the Christmas season. Historians believe it goes back centuries, as far as 200 B.C., when Greeks flavored their cakes with wine. Another thought is that the Romans came up with the idea of preserving their cakes with alcohol to make them last longer.

close up of a butter rum raisin cake
A close up of a butter rum raisin Bundt cake.

Today, most people associate rum cake with the Caribbean or Trinidad. These variations usually incorporate black rum, as well as fruits like raisins or dried apricots that have been steeped in rum to intensify the flavor. Warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are also present. Because the alcohol helps to balance flavors, they aren’t excessively sweet.

What I like most about this Butter Rum Cake

  • I will always love a recipe when it uses from-scratch ingredients or real ingredients. I like knowing that I know every ingredient that goes into this cake.
  • I really appreciate how the rum glaze keeps the cake moist on the inside while adding a beautiful glaze layer on the outside.
  • I like that I can omit the alcohol and make it alcohol-free by just adding rum flavoring to the cake batter and glaze.

Does Butter Rum Cake Contain Alcohol

Although there is rum in both the cake and the sauce, much of it gets cooked off during the baking and heating process. However, the common belief that “all” of the alcohol cooks off during baking isn’t entirely accurate. The longer something is cooked and the higher the temperature, the more alcohol evaporates.

When creating the rum cake sauce, use a pan with a broad surface area to ensure that the maximum amount of alcohol cooks out. The greater the surface area exposed to heat, the more alcohol will be cooked off. The alcohol should evaporate in a sauce that is simmering or boiling at 172 degrees F for 20-30 seconds.

Bottle of Golden rum
Bottle of Golden rum

Can I make butter rum cake alcohol free?

Yes. If you want to make an alcohol-free version, leave out the Rum and add 1 teaspoon of rum extract to the cake batter instead. I believe it has the same flavor as the original, just without the alcohol.

Top 5 rums to use in rum cake

  • Bacardi Gold: offers a very sweet and smooth flavor that won’t overpower your recipe.
  • Bacardi Black: this is the darkest rum by Bacardi and will give you an added depth of flavor to your recipe.
  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum: A dark, rich color, brown spices are added to this smooth and sweet rum to make it a great choice for your recipe. I find this works well with rum cake because of the spices that are already in the cake.
  • Malibu Coconut Rum: If you like a nutty coconut flavor, this is the rum for you. It has a sweet, smooth, and fresh flavor that is a great addition to your recipe.
  • Myer’s Rum Platinum White- this rum has nice caramel notes which pair nicely in cakes, especially when accompanied with pecans or walnuts. This will add a lot of depth of flavor to your cake.

When it comes to rum, it’s all about personal preference. What flavor do you prefer, whether you prefer a stronger flavor, a flavor with spices, or a flavor with coconut? I prefer a coconut rum or spiced rum flavor since it adds additional flavor accents.

What is a Bundt Pan?

A bundt pan is a thick-walled pan with a beautiful indentation wall that forms a design on the outside while your golden outer cake bakes. Coffee cakes and sweet cakes are commonly baked in this pan. I know that technically you may use it for angel food cake, but I don’t recommend it because the rising volume of angel food cake requires a flat sided pan. This is the Bundt pan I like to use. This is the one I like to use for special occasions

homemade Bundt cake in a Bundt pan
homemade Bundt cake in a Bundt pan

Rum cake Ingredients

Flour- I like to use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. You want flour that is sturdy enough to hold up all the liquid ingredients.

Baking Powder- In this recipe, you will use 2 to 12 teaspoons of baking powder; in a yellow cake or chocolate cake, you will need a lot of leavening because the cake will rise a lot.

Salt- Salt will help to enhance and balance the flavor of this cake.

Vanilla Extract- I like to use pure vanilla extract, but you can use an artificial vanilla flavor. It enhances the flavor of this cake. Using vanilla extract in baking gives it some great flavor. Without it, baking can be flat and bland.

Butter: This is a very buttery cake, so there is a lot of butter in this cake.

Orange zest: I love a cake with orange zest in it. It gives it such a nice citrus flavor, and then when you add the rum and brown sugar, it rounds out the flavors nicely.

Sugars:  I like to use brown sugar as the main sweetener in this cake, and just a little bit of granulated sugar. They pair great together.

Rum: In this recipe, I use rum instead of a large amount of milk. If you’re using rum like in this recipe, I recommend spiced rum, coconut rum, or dark rum. If you wanted an alcohol free version, you would just add the milk in place of the rum and add 1-2 teaspoons of rum flavoring.

Eggs, sour cream, and milk: there is quite a bit of liquid in this recipe. Five eggs, sour cream, and milk add a lot of moisture to your cake.

Pecans: What I like most in a cake is a little bit of crunch or texture. Pecans line the bottom of the Bundt cake pan, which, once cooked, ends up being the top.

How to grease your Bundt pan

We have all been there. You’ve baked a Bundt cake. You’ve put all the work into the cake. You’ve baked it and waited for it to cool, and now you want it to come out of the pan only for it to be completely stuck inside or only half the cake comes out. I’m here to help you so this doesn’t happen.

Coat the pan with fat: Using a pastry brush or using your fingers, brush the Bundt pan with melted butter, making sure to get into all of the details of your pan. There can be a lot, depending on the pan you are using.

Add Flour: sprinkle evenly in the bottom of the pan using around ¼ of a cup

Cover with plastic wrap: I like to use this method because it’s not as messy as other methods. Cover the top of the Bundt pan with the plastic wrap, being sure the wrap has sealed around the pan. Then shake it until you are sure all areas are covered in the flour.

Empty excess flour: remove the plastic wrap and discard any of the flour that is remaining from dusting the pan.

A close up shot of a freshly baked bundt cake soaking in some rum.
A close up shot of a freshly baked bundt cake soaking in some rum.

Butter Rum Cake

This handmade rum cake is moist, exceptionally buttery, and flavored with rum, plusit's created from scratch without the support of a cake mix.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine carribean, jamaican, United Kingdom
Servings 12 servings
Calories 240 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 bundt pan required

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups butter room temperature
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • ½ cup rum or spiced rum alcohol free use 1-2 tsp rum flavoring
  • ½ cup milk if alcohol free add an additional 1/2 cup

Butter Rum Icing

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp rum or spiced rum
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch Bundt Pan. Evenly spread pecans into the bottom of the bundt pan.

Cake

  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. With a standup mixer or handheld mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and orange zest together until cream this usually takes about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined ( the mixture will look like it has seperated but it will combine better once the flour and dry ingredients have been combined.
  • Put the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin mixing on low speed. Slowly pour in the rum and milk (if you doing the alcohol free version add your milk and rum flavoring here). Slowly Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the batter is completely combined. Batter will be quite thick.
  • Spoon the cake batter evenly over the pecans.
  • Bake for 55-70 minutes you will know it is done when a tooth pick is inserted and it comes out clean. This is quite a large cake and can take a little longer to be cooked so don't be concerned if it take longer then expected.
  • Allow to cool for at least 45 minutes I like to let it cool for a couple of hours before removing it from the bundt pan

Glaze

  • Melt the butter with the rum in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in vanilla, salt, and confectioners sugar. Before you slice the cake pour the glaze over the top it quickly thicken and set as it cools.
Keyword Cake, Rum

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram or Facebook #tiannaskitchen