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.
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.
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.
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.
More Southern Cake Recipes to Make
- Turn pantry ingredients into this Million Dollar Pound Cake.
- Coconut Cream Cake is lush and delicious.
- Banana Pudding Cake features three layers of banana pudding goodness.
- Pig Pickin' Cake is a year-round favorite.
- Classic Hummingbird Cake is a Southern staple created by Mrs. Wiggins from right here in my neck of the woods North Carolina.
- My recipe for Italian Cream Cake is the only one you'll ever need.
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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 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon 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 teaspoon 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.
Have you tried this with gluten-free flour? Three out of seven in my family have either a gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy.
I haven't but would love to know if you try it! My thought is, that if you've had success baking with gluten free flour when baking other cakes this one should work equally as well.
I just made this for Thanksgiving and used Salted Caramel Whiskey instead of rum and it is delicious!!
what happens if you don't have rum cuz I don't buy it
That's the whole premise of this cake and the flavor profile. You could try to adapt using rum extract, otherwise you'll have a pound cake. That's not a bad thing, it's just not what this recipe was designed to be.
I used bourbon and it was Delicious! Bourbon also goes with this flavor profile 👍🏻
I made this and already gave it an excellent review. It is fabulous! BUT I have a question about the instructions. The instructions for making the glaze say, “Remove from heat and add the rum…Continue to stir…placing back onto the stovetop WITH THE HEAT TURNED OFF.” Then it says to COOK 1 minute. Is the heat supposed to be turned back on even though it says to put on the stove with heat turned off?
What I did was put it back on the hot burner with the flame OFF, and just stirred for 1 minute.
Hi Evelyn, perhaps the word cook is confusing you. The ambient heat from a hot burner should be ample to finish cooking the sauce. I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks.
Oh my, this is delicious! Made it yesterday and just had first piece. I don’t like sickly-sweet desserts where all you taste is sugar. This cake is just perfect. It is pretty dense but moist and rich. My husband said, “It’s GOOD!”
Cannot find a bundt pan anywhere. What other pan would work?
A tube pan would work, or you could divide the batter into 2 loaf pans. In either instance, the bake time may need adjusting.
This cake is so delicious!! I have made it several times!
I just need some ideas on how to dress it up for serving!!
Thank you Evelyn!
Love the Butter Rum cake .I made it today it's delicious. Wish I could send you a picture.
I'm so happy you loved it, thanks!
Try your local thrift or consignment stores. There are usually some there at a fraction of the cost of a new one.
I very rarely leave comments on recipes that I find. Simply because most are usually so-so, but not this one. This is a super great cake!! I am definitely going to make this again and again!!! Everyone LOVED it. Thank you for the recipe!!! If you are looking for a real deal great butter rum cake, you found it.
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I had to make a few substitutions, with what I had on hand at home. I had light cream, but no milk or buttermilk, and I had French vanilla putting mix. I looked for dark rum, and wasn’t sure which one to get, so I used Bacardi black room, thinking that’s pretty dark! (I was also a wee heavy-handed with it!) This cake turned out so moist and delicious, I think it’s the best cake I’ve ever made! My family absolutely loves it, and wants me to make it again and again! I have pictures, but don’t know how to post them on here, but it looks exactly like the ones featured!
Hi Jerianne, I'm so happy you loved this cake, thank you!
I made this today. It was a hit with my family! Easy to follow recipe. I will definitely keep making it. 😌 Thanks!
Thanks so much!
Absolutely beautiful cake and it was delicious... I used spiced rum from Barbados...for the glaze I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg... amazing
Can this cake be made in a loaf Pan?
Not in one loaf pan. It would work in two.
I would like to make this in a tube pan. Would the bake time be longer? I’ve made this a couple times in my Bundt pan (delicious) but would like to try to tube pan. Thanks
The bake time shouldn't be longer.
I poked lots of holes and very slowly poured the rum mixture into them Very slowly. I did walk away for a couple of minutes, while the sugar, butter, water was cooking and it was boiling by the time I returned. It didn't burn or anything. I forgot the cinnamon, so added it then. Took it off the burner and put the rum in. It didn't bubble up. I hope I didn't mess anything up. Seems like a lot of liquid, but as I'm looking, it does seem to be absorbing. I've made rum cakes before, but I don't remember the recipe I've used and chose yours. I use Stroh 160 proof rum from Austria. It's kind of butterscotchy and has alway been a hit. I cut the rum by 1/4 with water, just in case it may have been too strong, but I wish I hadn't now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can continue to make eaters happy with this! Looking forward to eating it. It's 3pm and will be serving it tonight. Hope that won't be too soon. At least it will have time to cool.
Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Robin, I like your choice of rum with butterscotch undertones! Not to worry, it absorbs into the cake, patience is key with this yummy cake giving it time to do so. I've never felt the need to cut the rum with water but, if it's to your taste, then it's a win. Remember, it does mellow as it sits so, it may be even better tomorrow and the next day. If it lasts that long. I hope you love it!
I never had rum cake before but this cake was delicious! I also add raisins! my husband loves it as well! I will be following you! I am sure you have many others to share and I love to bake! happy New Year 2021! Judy
I'm so happy you enjoyed this cake, thank you!
Melissa, I hope that you are doing well in this difficult time during this pandemic.
Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I made this cake and it came out
exactly like your and it was delicious. I am learning how to cook with your recipes.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of Health, Peace and love!
Hi Angie, thank you for such a sweet note. I hope all is well with you and yours. I'm so happy you loved this cake, it's a personal favorite. Merry Christmas and Happy 2021 to you!
Do you know if a 10 cup Bundt pan is large enough?
This should work in a 10-12 cup bundt pan.
This is definitely the best rum cake recipe out there. The flavor is amazing, and the cake comes out so moist. My Father in Law used to gift my husband and I a rum cake from a local bakery every year for Christmas. When we moved out of state, I missed the tradition and started hunting for the right recipe online. Most are the cheats with cake mix (don’t do it, you can always tell). I found this recipe and made it last year when my father in law came to visit. He said this recipe was so much better than the bakeries!
Wow, I consider that high praise, thanks so much!
Love your site!
Thanks so much for visiting!
This has now become a family favorite, whatever function I’m invited to I’m asked to bring the rum cake.
It’s moist with rich flavors.
Awesome, thank you!
This is such a festive holiday dessert. I have been making variations of it for many years, and it is always a hit. My favorite twist on the recipe is to switch butterscotch pudding for the vanilla. It really complements the rum! And as Melissa mentions, it gets better over several days. Before serving, I pipe rosettes of hard sauce around the perimeter, and garnish the center with a holly sprig.
I love the way you garnish your cake, thanks for sharing!
I made this delicious rum cake and it was a HUGE HIT with my family. Now I want to make it for my coworkers and was wondering if mini loaf pans would work? What are you thoughts on this idea?
Hi Jann, you can make this in any size you like. The assembling would be the same but the baking time will need to be adjusted depending on the size of the pans and if they're ceramic, silicone or metal. Let us know if you try it!
I was just wondering if you could use a good quality yellow cake mix such as Duncan Hines without the pudding in it? I make a Sherry Wine Cake an old family favorite very very similar to this rum cake and it is delicious.
I cant wait though to try this cake!
Hi Rose, there are many rum cake recipes on the internet using a cake mix. This one is designed to be made from scratch.
Can this cake be frozen
Yes, it can be.
Love your recipes
Thanks so much!
How does one poke holes and pour the glaze into the holes in the bottom of the pan while the cake is still in the pan????
It's actually quite simple as the bottom is fully accessible as you can see in the step-by-step images provided. Are you perhaps confused as to what the bottom and the top of a cake is? The bottom is exposed and once the cake is flipped that's the top. Pretty important to know.
I take the handle of a wood spoon and poke holes. I don’t use a thick handle but I do poke a lot of holes. Then slowly pour about half the mixture in the holes.