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Buttered Rum Cake

This Buttered Rum Cake recipe is a stellar choice for any special occasion. it features a buttery made-from-scratch cake that’s embellished with pecans and then soaked with a sweet buttered rum sauce. The combination could only result in an impressive dessert that’s sure to get the party started.

Buttered Rum Cake

Best Buttered Rum Cake Recipe

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. How to make the best ever Butter Rum Cake with rum glaze:

  • Flour – All purpose flour sifted with instant vanilla pudding, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Nuts – Roughly chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Butter – Unsalted butter, softened.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar.
  • Flavorings – Dark rum and vanilla extract.
  • Eggs – Four large eggs.
  • Milk – Buttermilk or whole milk.
  • Buttered Rum Glaze – Unsalted butter, granulated sugar, water, pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon and dark rum.
step-by-step images and ingredients for rum cake

Which Rum is Best to Use for Making a 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 that has a flavor you personally enjoy, for the best end result. You may also like this recipe for Rum Punch from Creative Culinary.

Buttered Rum Cake

How to Make the Best Southern Buttered Rum Cake Recipe

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 of the rum mellows a bit when it’s made in advance.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Buttered Rum Cake: All purpose flour, instant vanilla pudding mix, salt, baking powder, baking soda, dark rum, buttermilk, large eggs, granulated sugar, butter, chopped pecans and vanilla extract.
  • To make the Buttered Rum Glaze: Butter, chopped pecans, dark rum, granulated sugar, water, ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: A 12-14 cup Bundt pan, a stand mixer or a hand mixer, large bowl, small bowl, small saucepan, sharp knife and cutting board or nut chopper, measuring cups and spoons.
  • Please note: Pumpkin pie spice does NOT taste like pumpkin. It’s a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves or allspice. It’s delicious in this cake if you have it on hand. Otherwise, ground cinnamon will work perfectly.
  • When baking Bundt cakes, use a quality pan either buttered and floured or sprayed liberally 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 most important thing about making buttered rum cake is patience. It takes some time, as in several minutes, to soak the cake thoroughly with the rum sauce. Be patient, and take it slow to prevent it from pooling all around the bottom of the cake platter. The goal is for the buttered rum to go into the cake.
  • Does the alcohol cook out of rum cake? This cake will still have a small amount of alcohol content. If you’re averse to using alcohol, you can use buttered rum as a flavoring for the cake and glaze, instead.
  • How do you poke holes 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.
  • Do you frost a rum cake? 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.
  • Why is there pudding in the batter? The vanilla pudding lends a beautiful texture and flavor to the batter of the cake.
  • Store baked Buttered Rum Cake chilled for up to 1 week.
Buttered Rum Cake

More Southern Cake Recipes to Make

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Helpful Kitchen Items: 

Buttered Rum Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Chilling time1 day
Total Time1 day 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best-rum-cake, buttered-rum-cake, rum-cake
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 483kcal


  • 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
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • Buttered Rum Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 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 1/2 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.


You may also make this cake using buttered rum flavoring in place of alcohol. When doing so, use 1-2 tsp in the cake. For the glaze, use 1-2 tsp in place of rum. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 622IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. 5 stars
    This cake was a HUGE success. I made it for my daughter’s birthday. Now, my granddaughters are insisting they want it for their birthdays, too. They say it’s the best cake they’ve ever had. For those wanting to make this without alcohol, substitute flat cola and add rum flavoring.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe, it was delicious! I’ve tried a few recipes but this was exactly what I was looking for and tasted like the ones my family used to make.

  3. This cake looks excellent will definitely try it – is Myers Dark Rum the best or will White Rum work as well?
    I do have another question, can this recipe be made into Rum Balls? My mother always told me about Rum Balls NOT made w/Vanilla Wafers or any type of cookie. How could I turn this into balls instead of a cake?

    1. Dark rum is recommended for this cake but you could use white rum if that’s your preference. I’ve never turned this cake into Rum Balls, if you try it let us know how it goes.

      1. Melissa,
        Thanks for your response, sorry I didn’t ask this sooner, ie last Nov, when you 1st answered my message, but my phone crashed & I am just now rebuilding my on-line recipes.
        Do you perhaps have any idea how I might go about turning this recipe into rum balls or recommendations? I would assume it would need to be thicker than a cake mix, so I can form the balls or is there a pan I could use that would makes batter into the ball shape?

  4. 5 stars
    Made it ! Gluten free so probably not as good.
    My sauce clotted, but I strained it and added some Carmel to the sauce. So that didn’t suck ! Family Thrilled !!!
    And a little bit fluffyer. 😘

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thanks for letting us know about the gluten free version. I’m not sure what you mean by “clotted” but the quality of the butter might have been an issue there. Higher fat butter has less water so it tends to work best.

    1. I haven’t tested it, I make this recipe just as written. You could freeze half, if you’re wanting a smaller cake. If you try halving it, let us know how it goes!

      1. 5 stars
        I just made your Rum Cake recipe. Needed smaller cakes as we are serving small slices for a Hawaiian BD party. Made the full recipe and put in two small Bundt pans. Baked only 45 min. Perfect! I’m very happy with results.
        Trying to attach the picture I took. Also, love the leave-on button!

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