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Made from scratch without the crutch of cake mix, this homemade rum cake is perfectly moist, extra buttery, and flavored with rum. Top with boozy butter rum glaze and serve warm or cold. Rum cake doesn’t require a special occasion, but it’s perfect for the holidays!

rum cake on wood cake stand

I’ve had many requests for rum cake and I’m so excited to finally share my version with you! This is my 100% homemade rum Bundt cake and it’s even better than it looks and sounds.

This Rum Cake Is:

  • Completely from scratch
  • Very buttery and moist
  • Lightly flavored with rum
  • Heavily flavored with butter rum glaze
  • Filled with brown sugar, orange, and buttery flavors
  • Not as dense as pound cake, not as soft as white cake (in between!)
  • Delicious warm + delicious cold
  • Topped with butter rum glaze
slice of rum cake

Totally From Scratch

Instead of using cake mix and pudding mix, I took a look at some of my from-scratch Bundt cakes. Like vanilla cake and white cake, I have a standard Bundt cake recipe that I use for different flavors including chai cinnamon swirl Bundt cake and cranberry orange Bundt cake. Both are some of the best cakes I’ve ever made because they’re easy, insanely buttery, extra moist, and dense… without being too heavy.

With a quality base recipe like this, the options are endless. Rum cake, let’s go!

rum cake batter

Rum Cake Ingredients

Because they’re so large, Bundt cakes have a tendency to dry out. To avoid this, it’s important to use the careful ratio and ingredients listed below.

  • Flour: We use sturdy all-purpose flour as the base of this Bundt cake. It’s strong enough to hold up all the liquid ingredients. I don’t recommend swapping in cake flour because it’s simply too light.
  • Baking Powder: 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder is more than we use for a typical cake, but it’s needed to help this hefty cake rise.
  • Salt + Vanilla Extract: Both salt and vanilla extract add flavor.
  • Butter: This is a very buttery cake, so expect a lot of butter!
  • Orange Zest: Trust me on this. Orange, rum, and brown sugar are a trio you need in your baking. The orange zest adds a fleck of background flavor without competing with the rum. My husband, who isn’t usually super descriptive besides the simple “it’s good”, complimented the delicious orange flavor.
  • Sugars: Paired with orange and rum, brown sugar is definitely welcome. We use brown sugar as the primary sweetener, with just a touch of granulated sugar.
  • Rum: We’re replacing most of the liquid with rum. You need 1/2 cup of regular, dark, or spiced rum. I tested with several and they’re all fantastic. We really liked the cakes with dark or spiced rum best. It does not need to be a fancy rum!
  • Eggs, Sour Cream, + Milk: 5 eggs, sour cream, and milk add moisture. It’s a lot of volume but remember, we want a mega moist cake with a buttery crumb.
  • Pecans: Perhaps the best part of all, pecans line the bottom (which ends up being the top) of the Bundt cake pan. This added texture, paired with the butter, rum, brown sugar, orange, and butter rum glaze, is completely unforgettable– probably the best part of this cake.
rum cake batter in bundt pan
collage of 2 rum cake bundt images
rum cake icing in a bowl and rum cake with icing on top

Before You Bundt

  • Bundt Pan: Use a large Bundt pan that holds 10-12 cup capacity. I love this one and this one. Both are nonstick, but I always grease it with nonstick spray just to be safe. The Bundt cake releases so easily.
  • Curdled Ingredients: The wet ingredients will look somewhat curdled before you add the dry ingredients– this is due to the ranging temperatures and textures of the ingredients. It’s normal. The butter may be warmer than the eggs, the sour cream may be colder than the butter, etc. It will all come together when the dry ingredients are added.
rum cake bundt on cake stand

Butter Rum Glaze

Let’s finish this beauty off with a butter rum glaze that sets. (Meaning: it won’t stay drippy and wet.) Like the brown butter icing I use on my brown butter apple blondies, we’ll whip this up with some heat. Melt butter with a little rum in a small saucepan or microwave, then stir in vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of salt. The icing is thin at first, but thickens as it cools.

In fact, you might notice two different consistencies of the glaze in these photos. (2 test cakes, same cake + glaze recipe.) I drizzled the glazes on the cakes, but the thicker glaze had cooled for 10 minutes.

Thick or thin, warm or cool, this butter rum glaze is liquid gold. It would be incredible on my iced oatmeal cookies and peach Bundt cake, too.

overhead image of rum cake
rum cake slice on a plate

Can You Taste the Alcohol?

The cake itself has 1/2 cup of rum in the batter. It has a light rum flavor and the alcohol bakes out. You’re also not consuming the entire cake (well, hopefully not!), so don’t expect to get tipsy off of 1 or 2 slices. The butter rum glaze, however, has a fairly strong rum flavor. It’s not cooked, so the alcohol is there. Again, you aren’t consuming the entire cake and 1-2 spoonfuls of glaze won’t get you tipsy.

Use your best judgement serving to minors, pregnant women, or anyone abstaining from alcohol.

Want to skip the alcohol altogether? Replace the rum in the cake and the glaze with milk.

Print
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rum cake bundt on cake stand

Homemade Butter Rum Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Made from scratch without the crutch of cake mix, this homemade rum cake is perfectly moist, extra buttery, and flavored with rum. Top with boozy butter rum glaze and serve warm or cold. Review recipe notes prior to beginning.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (130g) finely chopped pecans
  • 3 cups (375gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated sugar
  • zest from 1/2 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoonpure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) rum or spiced rum*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature

Butter Rum Icing

  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) rum or spiced rum*
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • small pinch of salt (a bit less than 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch Bundt pan. Spoon pecans evenly into the bundt pan.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and orange zest together until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look curdled; that’s ok– it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin mixing on low speed. As the mixer runs, slowly pour in the rum and milk. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the batter is completely combined. Batter is thick.
  4. Pour/spoon the cake batter evenly over the pecans.
  5. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don’t be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven. Mine always takes about 55 minutes.
  6. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 45 minutes to 2 hours inside the pan. Then, invert the slightly cooled Bundt cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. (You can glaze and serve it while warm, or wait for it to cool completely.)
  7. Make the glaze: Melt the butter with the rum in a small saucepan over medium heat. If using the microwave, melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the rum. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle warm glaze over cake before slicing and serving. Glaze quickly thickens and sets as it cools. If desired, serve with maraschino cherries.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the entire cake ahead of time (before topping with icing). Cover cooled cake and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before icing and serving. Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if desired) before icing and serving.
  2. Sour Cream: You can use 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Just as moist and delicious!
  3. Rum: Use your favorite rum including light rum, dark rum, or spiced rum. See How Alcoholic is This Rum Cake above the recipe. If desired, swap the rum in the cake and glaze for milk.
  4. Pecans and/or Orange Zest: Both are optional, but add incredible flavor. I don’t recommend leaving out either. Replace the pecans with walnuts, if desired.
  5. Layer Cake: Use my vanilla cake recipe and replace 1/2 cup of buttermilk with 1/2 cup of rum. (Use 1 cup buttermilk + 1/2 cup rum.) Sprinkle the bottom of each lined cake pan with 1/3 cup chopped pecans before adding the batter. Replace 2-3 Tablespoons of milk in the frosting with rum.

Keywords: rum cake, bundt cake, pecans, Christmas cake

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made this last night for friends and it was a big hit! Everyone raved about the subtle flavours and the crystalline texture of the glaze, although I’m not sure if that was right or an accident!

  2. My husband has issues with dairy – the sour cream I can do, but was thinking about subbing almond milk for the milk. Any thoughts on whether that would crash the recipe?

    1. Hi Kim, A non dairy milk such as almond milk should work in this cake batter.

  3. My friend just opened a distillery, selling the most amazing Salted Caramel Vodka.. is it possible to replace the rum with this vodka, or will this not work? Thank you!

    1. Hi Emily! That sounds amazing – you may miss some of the deep rum flavor, but let us know if you give it a try!

    1. Hi Angela! You really want the rich flavor that a dark rum offers for this cake – we suggest sticking with dark!

  4. Hello! I love every recipe of yours that I have tried. I am looking forward to making this bundt cake next, but what would you suggest if I wanted to make mini ones with a mini bundt cake tray?

    1. Hi Katie! We’re unsure of the baking time– it depends how big the mini Bundts are. You can use a toothpick to check for doneness.

    1. Hi Aditi, We haven’t tested this recipe with any egg substitutes but let us know if you try any. If you are interested here are all of our egg free recipes.

  5. Hi can rum soaked raisins be added to this recipe at all? Making for someone who loves rum and raisin ice-cream? thanks

    1. Hi Ric, we can’t see why not. We’d recommend about 1 cup of rum-soaked raisins. Let us know how it turns out!

  6. The cake was delicious. I tried putting the rum soaked raisins in, only half a cup in the end and they sank to the bottom/top of the cake but still tasted amazing. Will be making this cake again. Great recipe. Thank you!

  7. For anyone wishing to add the rum soaked raisins, and I’m one of you, I suggest tossing them in a bit of flour prior to folding into the batter. This works with other recipes I’ve added raisins (and berries) to.
    I’m going to try and will give feedback. Making for someone who can’t have the nuts but loves raisins.

  8. So I’m on the hunt to find a way to make rum cake cupcakes! I’m not sure if the best way is to convert this recipe or to use a yellow cupcake recipe and put some rum twists on it. What do you suggest?

  9. Any recommendations for greasing the pan? I had horrible experience with Bundt cake sticking in the past. I just ordered the Alanon non stick , hoping for better. Should I use Pam, Pam for baking or butter to grease the pan. Thank you

    1. Hi Dianne, you can use any of those products to grease the pan — just do so heavily!

    2. I know this is a really late response but mine slid out perfectly. What I did was melt some shortening in the microwave and brushed the entire bundt pan. Cake slid right out no problem. Hope this helps.

  10. I am a great fan if your recipes, I am looking to try this out for Christmas. I was wondering what type of milk as it wasn’t specified ( buttermilk, 3% , evaporated, condensed 2% ).
    Thank you

    1. Hi Ruby, whole milk will produce the most tender cake, but a lower fat or non-dairy milk will work in a pinch. We don’t recommend using evaporated or condensed milk.

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