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. Hello!

    I love, love, love your recipes. I plan to make this for Mother’s Day. For this rum cake, do you sift the flour?

    Thank you!!

  2. Shygirl317 says:

    Hi Sally!!! I am going to make this recipe it sounds delicious. I tried many of your recipes before turned out wonderful. Just curious if I left out the powdered sugar would it make a big difference. I realize I have everything but that in my cabinets lol. Thank you

  3. If you’re looking for a rum-y tasting cake this is NOT it. It tastes like a pound cake with just a hint of rum. FYI I used Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum. However, the texture is wonderful! It’s moist and airy and the orange zest is subtle and delicious. I would
    recommend soaking this cake with rum glaze instead of just the butter glaze topping. The topping just isn’t enough. I made this a second time and used a rum glaze of 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 water and 1/2 cup rum and boiled on stove for a few minutes. Poked holes at the bottom of the cake and poured half the glaze letting it soak in. Turned the cake over and repeat with the rest of the glaze. This made it perfection! I suppose you could also do the glaze butter topping that hardens in addition to soaking if you want to go all out. Otherwise the cake batter recipe is fantastic!

    1. Joyce M. White says:

      For your glaze did you use 1 cup regular white sugar or 1 cup confectioners sugar?

  4. Hi Sally is it possi le to use lemons instead of oranges? I’m asking because I’m allergic to oranges. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Hi Liz, you can use lemon zest instead or leave it out.

    2. How about adding Grand Marnier instead of orange zest?

  5. Hi Sally,
    Can you use Rum extract instead of Actual Rum? I don’t have any Rum on hand however I do have Rum extract.

    1. Definitely. For the icing, use milk instead of rum. In the cake, use more milk instead of the rum and add 1 teaspoon of rum extract.

      1. Thank you Sally! This cake turned out perfect! Keep up the great work love your blog!

  6. Lee Rosenthal says:

    can this be made as muffins? or miniloaves?

    1. Hi Lee, You should be able to make mini loaves using this recipe. The bake time will depend on the size of your pans.

  7. use this recipe, the cake cake out perfect, Had to drizzle rum over it to get a stronger effect. Can the nuts be added into the cake instead of on top??

    1. Hi Janice, You can try folding the chopped nuts into the batter when it’s combined in step 3.

  8. Love this cake

  9. Hi Sally! I love your recipes and how detailed they all are. I have a question, any tips on making it a guava rum cake? and would I have to change anything to make it into round cake pans?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sabrina, See the recipe notes for how to make this as a round layer cake. We haven’t tested this cake with guava but let us know if you try – it sounds delicious!

  10. The cake is fantastic!!!! I going to play with the icing. My family likes the traditional soaked Caribbean rum cake. As an FYI I made this for my son’s 21st b-day and he was in heaven. Thanks!

  11. Hi Sally,

    Silly question, I can only find this same pan but 9.5inches instead of 10. Any difference in baking time?

    Also, for the layer cake version-you suggested to follow your vanilla cake. The only difference is the buttermilk and rum measurements, and pecans, everything else remains the same?


    1. Hi Teresa, the batter should squeeze into a 9.5 inch Bundt pan. The bake time will be about the same. And yes, for the layer cake, everything else remains the same besides subbing in some rum and adding the pecans.

  12. Sally- where can I find the amazing cake stand you used? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, This wood slice cake stand is from Sur La Table, but unfortunately I don’t see it on their website anymore.

  13. I want to use rum extract instead of real rum- what can I replace the half cup of rum liquor with, in that case? Would oil work?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Vivian, If desired you can swap the rum in the cake and glaze for milk.

  14. First, I’d like to say thank you for answering people’s questions.
    I found these awesome pans online and was thinking Christmas Gifts. That’s how I happened across your recipe. What do you think? Could this be divided into these little pans and given as gifts? Would you do anything different?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, Absolutely, mini Bundt pans make beautiful gifts! No need to change the recipe, but I’m unsure of the baking time– it depends how big the mini Bundts are. You can use a toothpick to check for doneness.

  15. Hello!!
    For clarity purposes, am I using orange extract (liquid) or orange zest (looks like flakes in the bottle).

    1. Hi Ollie, you need fresh zest from an orange. Use a zester.

  16. It certainly tastes like rum, but it was disappointingly dry, considering the butter and rum in the recipe. When cutting into the cake, it crumbled a little, which is never a good sign. Perhaps it is my Caribbean roots, but I was expecting a much moister cake, which is typical for a rum cake. It did taste good and the pecans and glaze were a very nice touch, but I will have to play around with this recipe to get the moistness I’m looking for.

  17. Hi Sally,

    I want to try this cake for Christmas. I want to check if I can use Cake Flour instead of All Purpose Flour? Want this cake to be fluffy and crumbley so thought if this can be made with Cake Flur instead.

    1. Hi Dheeraj, I don’t recommend swapping in cake flour because it’s simply too light. All-purpose flour is strong enough to hold up all the liquid ingredients in this recipe.

  18. Hey ,

    Can I add soaked Dry Fruits in this batter ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sharu, Yes you can add some chopped dried fruit to the batter. Happy baking!

  19. Hi , can we use self raising flour instead of all purpose flour

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hema, The use of self rising flour would require additional recipe testing so we can’t confidently recommend how to use it. Because it has leaveners already added into it, it’s best to use a recipe that is written specifically for self rising flour.

      1. Thanks a lot

  20. Heather Lynn Sharpe says:

    How long can this cake sit out at room temp? I’m thinking of baking one on Christmas Eve and trying to figure in timing for the whole evening. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, You can store this cake covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. Enjoy!

  21. Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if I could add cocoa powder to the batter to make it chocolate flavoured. Would this result in a dryer cake? I was thinking of adding chocolate chunks too!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sasha, We haven’t tested a chocolate version of this cake and it would take additional testing to give you a confident answer (Unfortunately it’s not usually just an easy swap of just some flour for cocoa powder). You can definitely add chocolate chunks to the batter with no other changes. Let us know if you try anything!

  22. Made this for Christmas gathering with friends and was an instant hit. Texture of the cake was firm and nice. To make it moist, added extra rum glaze thru pouring on the cake before turning over to remove from pan and brushing on the surface of the cake. Really happy with the taste of rum on the cake.

  23. Hi, I made this cake exactly as described, while the taste is good but I find it a little dense and not as moist as I had hope, any suggestions? Thanks


  24. Hi Sally, I made this recipe for Christmas and it turned out perfectly! Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a Maple Walnut version, but I can find a recipe that looks as good as this one. Do you have any tips for adapting this cake (i.e. using maple syrup or extract instead of rum and orange)?


    1. Hi Erin, a maple walnut cake sounds fantastic. It would definitely require some testing to work in maple syrup and/or maple flavoring. You’d have to play around with the sugars and wet ingredients. It gets a little tricky when replacing dry sugar with a liquid sugar. If you try anything, let us know.

  25. Thanks Sally – I will for sure!

    1. I am looking to do the same thing. Did you ever try this Erin or Sally? Sally, every recipe of yours that I’ve tried has turned out delicious. I just wish you had more recipies with maple. It’s my family’s favorite!!

  26. A lot of work for no reward. The cake was dry, the glaze was nasty, the orange zest made the cake taste like an orange cake, not rum! I’m sure it was the baker’s, (my) fault. I would not recommend this recipe.

  27. Maria Riggio says:

    This cake was very dry.
    I will definitely NOT be making this again

  28. I loved this cake! and wish I had kept it ALL for myself (with the exception of a couple of slices, it was given as a get well gift to my in laws). Thank you for posting the gram measurements for the dry ingredients. If a cake is ‘dry’ it probably means that there was too much flour, volume measuring for flour is simply not accurate enough for cake recipes like this. The best investment I’ve made in my kitchen, other than a stand mixer, is my digital scale. It cuts down on dirty measuring cups and makes cake baking more accurate!

  29. Hi Sally,
    I wonder if the glaze would still suitable if I use lemon essence instead of vanila? My bf really love sourish taste..

  30. Love this cake I’ve made it a few times and each time it seems to get better. It tasted most delicious when I used measure for measure gluten free flour not sure if that made a difference. The most moist it came out was when my butter melted all the way into a mostly oily texture. I’ve never substituted butter for oil. I really love that your recipes has the weight because it makes each ingredient very accurate.

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