Homemade Butter Rum Cake

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.

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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, plus extra cooling
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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.


  • 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


  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.


  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


  1. Thank you Sally. I haven’t been able to find a from scratch rum cake recipe.
    Could you add rum to the cake after it has baked like traditional rum cakes? If so I’m wondering how that would be done.

    1. You could definitely brush the warm cake (after inverting) with rum before glazing. Yum!

    2. Jim in Estonia says:

      So, I made this delicious cake…sort of. I also fell in love with the spiced chai recipe as well. I thought, “what the heck, why not both?” OMG…perfection. My mother used to make a bundt pan rum cake similar to this for me. But she was the old box of pudding and Duncan Hines school. This blows it away. I know she would love it.

  2. Hi Sally –
    I only have bourbon and don’t want to buy rum if I can do this same cake with bourbon. Can I sub out the rum for bourbon?

    THANK YOU for so many great recipes, plus the how-to’s and the why-to’s, too. Love your work.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Absolutely! You may replace the rum in the cake and glaze with the same amount of bourbon.

  3. Can this cake be baked in a tube pan

    1. Definitely!

  4. I’d like to make this recipe, but don’t have a Bundt pan. Could I make it in cupcakes or a 9 x 13?

    1. Hi Lora, the cake will be very dense and won’t rise much in a 9×13 pan. How about 2 loaf pans? Of if you’d like a 9×13 inch pan rum cake, I recommend my white cake recipe. Follow the 9×13 inch pan instructions. Add orange zest and replace 1/2 of the milk with rum.

  5. So excited to try this for Christmas dinner! It should fit right in with egg nog and cookies. Your recipes always turn out perfectly Sally and I love love love how you explain why ingredients are important or optional. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  6. Can this Rum Cake be put into mini bundt . If so what the baking time …Ty

    1. Absolutely! I’m unsure of the baking time– it depends how big the mini Bundts are. You can use a toothpick to check for doneness.

  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! To anyone wondering about glazing the cake with a rum simple syrup after baking. You will not regret this step!

    And I thought I had made he ultimate rum pound cake recipe!

  8. Can the recipe be poured into loaf pans instead of a bundt pan? Multiple small loaf pans or two larger ones?

    1. I can’t see why not! I’m unsure of the bake time for smaller pans.

  9. Hi Sally

    Instead of orange zest could I use orange extract? I don’t want to go back out to into the Christmas madness!!! How much would I use?

    1. Hi Alexis! Absolutely. I recommend only 1/2 teaspoon. You don’t want its flavor to over-power anything else.

  10. Delicious cake! I baked it for 50 minutes and it turned out perfect!

  11. Could brandy be used instead? Thanks so much!

    1. Absolutely.

  12. My Christmas dinner guest list just went up by two and I needed something else for dessert. The two new people were also here for Thanksgiving so I didn’t want to repeat desserts. I thought “let’s see what Sally has!” Not only is there a bundt cake recipe and I am really loving bundt cakes right now but I also get to use up liquor before we move! It’s a win win!
    Thanks Sally!

  13. I made this today and my husband said it’s the best cake I’ve ever baked. It came out amazing.

    1. I’m thrilled that you tried it and that your husband enjoyed it so much, Stephanie!

  14. I made this today to bring to a Christmas Eve gathering. It’s beautiful and is going to be a hit! I’d love to share a picture-I sliced it and am presenting in a round, glass platter. Thank you, Sally!

  15. Melanie Gluss says:

    Just had to try this cake. Can’t wait to taste tonight!!

  16. I am wondering what I did wrong?? I made the cake to bring to a friends for Christmas dinner and it was very dry! I was so disappointed. I reviewed the recipe and I followed it just as written but something didn’t work. I baked for 55 min but wondering if 45 – 50 would have been better? Also, what rack are you baking at in the oven? I LOVE your website and have made so many amazing things, can’t wait to perfect this one!

    1. Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for trying this cake recipe and I’m happy to help if you decide to try it again. Follow the recipe exactly and bake the cake on the center or lower rack. Begin checking for doneness at 45 minutes because it sounds like your oven works quickly! Also, I think you will find this post very helpful: How to Prevent a Dry or Dense Cake.

  17. Thanks so much Sally. I received a lot of compliments on Christmas. Definitely making it again!!!!

  18. Made this for Christmas dessert. It was a huge hit and the next day the cake tasted even better!

  19. Excelente!! Bravo!!! Everybody loved it! Thank you for sharing With Us, Happy New Year !!

  20. I made this recipe as a last-minute add-on to my Christmas baking and HOLY COW! It is so delicious. I made it with spiced rum which added incredible flavor and while it was amazing warm, we preferred it served cold with fresh whipped cream. And you’re right, the pecans are the best part of an already amazing cake. Another winner, Sally!

  21. Wow! This cake is amazing! I made it today for a New Year’s party and it was a hit! I substituted chopped toasted almonds for pecans and the flavor was fantastic. Will definitely make is cake again. Thank you for another winner Sally!

  22. Hi, Sally!
    I am an experienced home baker and LOVE your site! I made this cake yesterday exactly as noted (correct ratios, pan size, etc) except I kept the rum out of the glaze and substituted milk. The flavor profile was good. I baked it 50 minutes, and I think that it was slightly overdone (dry and darker than your sample, not burnt in any way), so I recommend checking it at 45 minutes. I LOVE the orange flavor. Next time, I am going to do your orange bundt, check early, and add a cinnamon streusel to the center (making sure as you note, not to have it touch the sides of the pan.

  23. I knew I had to make this cake for my mom as soon as you published this recipe. She’s not a fan of overly sweet “American” desserts but this is right up her alley. I made it to bring to New Year’s Day dinner and it was fabulous! I ended up using the exact rum you have pictured here too and the rum flavor is phenomenal without being overwhelming. I baked it for exactly 55 minutes but I think I could have baked it a little less. It was still so yummy! Loved the addition of the orange zest and pecans and the rum glaze was literally the icing on the cake!

  24. My mother and I both made this cake. The flavor was good but we both thought it was very dense and a bit dry. This is the first recipe of Sally’s that I was disappointed in. I bake a lot and use many of her recipes. Everything else I have made has been great.

  25. Hi Sally, is this recipe ok to use with 9” springform pan? If so, any changes to baking time? Cheers.

    1. Jeannie, The volume of a springform pan is similar to the volume of a Bundt pan (cake pan sizes) but I haven’t tested it so I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed!

  26. Gloria Pierce says:

    Been looking for a good rum cake recipe. This cake is awesome. So glad I made it. It was a big hit. Will definitely be making it again and again!!!!!

  27. Hi Sally,
    Is it possible that the icing recipe might be a bit off? I followed the recipe to the T and the icing turned out to be super thick and hard and was not flowy. I tried again with 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and it did the trick.

    1. Hi Gaana, the icing solidifies quickly so if it’s not drizzled on top shortly after heating it, it will become a little hard. Sifting the confectioners’ sugar always helps, too!

  28. Thank you so much for the recipe! Do you think it would be ok to halve the recipe and still bake in the Bundt pan? Or should I switch to a regular cake pan? There’s only two of us, so this would be a lot of cake! Also we were thinking about adding chocolate chips and/or fruit in the middle, do you think that would work? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Jennifer! Best way to reduce the size of this recipe is to halve it and bake in a loaf pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time in a loaf pan, but you can use a toothpick to test for doneness. Same oven temperature. For halving the 5 eggs–use 2 eggs, then beat a 3rd egg and use half of that beaten egg mixture. Feel free to add some chocolate chips or chopped fruit to the batter.

    2. Diana Johnston says:

      Hi Sally, wondering if I could make a large recipe of this by multiplying everything by 10. . I have a large family. Lol. Also, could I add the Frosting to the cakes and then freeze it with the frosting on. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks

  29. Hi Sally! A regular visitor of your page, I absolutely love your recipes and seeing the comments above, I’ll be making this cake in a regular loaf pan and hence, halving the recipe. I was just wondering, since it is not a Bundt pan and regular loaf pan, is it possible to line the pecans/ walnuts at the top of the batter of the pan? Since this way they will be on top? However the cake will rise this way so I don’t know how to achieve the closest result to the one mentioned in your recipe.


    1. Hi Megha, You can certainly try to just sprinkle them on top. Make sure they are chopped to very small pieces so that they don’t sink in the batter.

  30. Michelle McMillan says:

    Hi Sally!!! I love your recipes & have used many of them during this crazy quarantine time. I do have a question about this recipe though….I’d love to make this more of a tropical flavour (and serve with berries ), I would like to use coconut flavoured rum and crushed pineapple in the recipe. Could you suggest the best way to do this, as the pineapple, even drained, does supply some extra moisture?
    Thank you! I look forward to your suggestions

    1. Thank you, Michelle! That does sound delicious but adding pineapple would require additional recipe testing. Let me know if you try it!

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