This Buttered Rum Cake is a stellar choice for any special occasion. A buttery made-from-scratch cake embellished with pecans and then soaked with a sweet buttered rum sauce could only result in an impressive dessert. It's sure to get the party started.
Buttered Rum Cake
Rum cake is believed to have originated in the Caribbean islands, brought there by European settlers. It's thought that, what we know as rum cake today, was initially a rum soaked fruit cake steamed pudding. When I hear the term "buttered rum" I instantly think of chilly weather. Truth is, while it's a flavor that's perfectly suitable for fall and winter holidays, I've also known rum cake to be served at Easter and as a special summer dessert. Think island life for summer, and a tasty way to warm-up during the cooler months of the year. Due to this, it's become a year-round cake to bake when I want something special to serve.
Which Rum is Best to Use for Rum Cake?
I've made this cake and tested it with various bands of rum and I seem to always come back to a dark rum. I made this cake using Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum with it's subtle notes of caramel and vanilla making it a front runner. The key to choosing the right rum is, choose one you personally enjoy the flavor of, for the best end result. You may also like this recipe for Rum Punch from Creative Culinary.
Tips for Making Rum Cake
The addition of alcohol means this cake can be made up to one week in advance. Truthfully, I've kept it longer than that, and the flavor mellows a bit when it's made in advance.
- The most important thing about making buttered rum cake is patience. It takes some time, as in, several minutes, to soak the cake with the rum sauce, Be patient, and take it slow to prevent it from pooling all around the bottom. The goal is for the buttered rum to go into the cake.
- Use a long metal or wooden skewer to poke holes into the cake for the rum glaze. On the top, try to poke holes between the pecans so it still has a pretty presentation.
- I typically save a small amount of rum glaze and brush it all over the cake after soaking the top and bottom. It will harden just a tad in the fridge but, softens once it comes back to room temperature. It also gives the cake a pretty shine.
- If you're adverse to using alcohol, you can use buttered rum flavoring, instead.
- When baking cakes, use a quality pan either buttered and floured or sprayed with baking spray. Some of the coatings on pans don't take well to cooking spray and can actually cause the cake to stick.
- The vanilla pudding lends a beautiful texture and flavor to the batter of the cake.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Buttered Rum Cake
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk or whole milk
- ¼ cup dark rum
- Buttered Rum Glaze:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dark rum
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a bundt pan or liberally spray with baking spray. Sprinkle pecans evenly on bottom. Set aside.
- Using an electric mix, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high for 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt. A whisk works perfectly.
- Whisk together buttermilk and rum.
- With the mixer on low speed gradually add dry ingredients alternately with wet ingredients beginning and ending with flour. After all is added, beat just until fully combined stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes back clean.
- About 10 minutes before the cake is finished baking, make the buttered rum glaze.
- To make the glaze: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, water and pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium cooking for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add rum. Be careful the mixture may foam up. Continue to stir until foam dies down, placing back onto the stovetop with the heat turned off. Cook for 1 minute then set aside.
- When cake is finished baking, remove from the oven. Use a long thin skewer to poke holes over the bottom of the cake. Slowly pour ½ buttered rum glaze over bottom of cake allowing it to soak in between pours. Let cake sit for 1 hour to cool in the pan.
- Carefully turn cake onto a platter or stand. Use the same skewer to poke holes in the top of the cake. Try to poke between the pecans. Slowly pour remaining glaze into holes on top of cake. Be patient this will take several minutes. The slower you go, the more glaze goes into the cake and doesn't pool on platter. (It may be necessary to warm the glaze slightly before pouring onto the top.)
- Once cooled, cover and chill for at least 1 day. The rum flavor mellows the longer this cake proofs.