Velvety, buttery rum cake! Easy recipe, made with just a few simple ingredients and drenched in a sweet, sticky rum glaze. Feeds a crowd!

Rum cake drizzled with glaze and toasted pecans.

Today I am sharing my easy rum cake recipe!

Rum cake is such a great tradition for the holidays. Something about the warm, toasty, tropical flavor of rum just screams Christmas!

Whip this up for your dessert table, and display it proudly along with all the other special treats you’ve been working on all throughout the season. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ve got piles of pizzelles, biscotti, and fudge!

Rum cake recipe, baked in a spiral bundt pan and drizzled with buttery rum pecan glaze.

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What is rum cake?

This is a velvety, all-butter pound cake recipe, infused with the sweet flavor of rum and drizzled with a buttery rum glaze.

Why this is the best rum cake recipe

  1. Tastes amazing: It’s buttery as can be, with just the right touch of warm, toasty rum flavor.
  2. Few ingredients: You’ll only need a handful of basic pantry staples to make it.
  3. Easy to make: The method couldn’t be simpler!
  4. Feeds a crowd: This is a BIG cake! It serves a lot of people so it’s perfect for holiday entertaining.

What does rum cake taste like?

This cake bakes up so buttery and rich-tasting, with the warm, caramel-y flavor of rum. It’s moist and velvety, with a fine, even crumb. And the sweet glaze adds so much!

Ingredients

Ingredients for making rum cake, with text labels.

Butter

I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.

For a vegan or dairy-free rum cake recipe, use a plant-based product that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.

This recipe works best if you allow the butter to come to room temperature first. You can set it out on the counter a few hours ahead of making your recipe, or you can microwave it for 10 seconds, turn it over, and microwave it again for another 8 seconds.

Sugar

Sugar not only sweetens the cake, it also draws in moisture and helps it to brown.

I used light brown sugar in the cake and dark brown sugar in the glaze, just because that’s what I had enough of in my pantry. You can use all light or all dark, or you can just use regular white sugar.

Or sub for another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for granulated sugar it should work.

Eggs

Eggs build the cake’s structure and add richness. It’s best if they’re at room temperature, although I don’t find this to be critical.

Use large chicken eggs or a plant-based product that subs 1:1.

Rum

Rum adds a distinctive flavor to this cake. I used a black rum from Bermuda, but you could sub white rum or dark rum if you like.

Vanilla

Vanilla extract adds a subtly sweet flavor without being at all sugary.

For a more pronounced flavor, try using vanilla bean paste. You could also split a vanilla bean down the center lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add those.

Flour

I recommend using cake flour for this recipe. It’s very light and delicate, and it produces a fine, even crumb.

If you’re not familiar with this product, you can learn all about it here: What is Cake Flour?

Baking powder

Helps the cake to rise and be light and fluffy. Be sure to use baking powder, not baking soda.

Salt

Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful!

I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.

Nuts

This ingredient is optional. But I like the way a handful of toasted pecans contrasts with the velvety texture of the cake and compliments the flavors of butter, brown sugar, and rum.

Special equipment

  • Bundt pan: 12-cup capacity, or see below for other options.
  • Cooking spray and flour: To prep the pan.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For measuring ingredients accurately. Follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
  • Electric mixer: Either a stand mixer or a powerful handheld electric mixer.
  • Large mixing bowl: In which to mix up the batter.
  • Silicone spatula: Reaches and incorporates any ingredients that might be hiding from the mixer, and helps to get every bit of batter from the bowl!
  • Small pot: In which to make the glaze.
  • Whisk: To get the glaze nice and smooth.
  • Skewer: For testing the doneness of the cake and for poking holes for the glaze to sink down into.
  • Spoon: For drizzling the glaze onto the cake.

How to make rum cake

This recipe follows the traditional creaming method. It all comes together in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar

Place the soft butter and brown sugar in your mixing bowl.

Butter and light brown sugar, in the bowl of an electric mixer.

And whip them together until very pale and very fluffy. It should double in volume.

This usually takes no less than 5 full minutes, and it’s a very important step to get a cake that’s light and not too dense. So don’t skimp!

Step 2: Add eggs

Once your butter and sugar are creamed together and fluffy, you can start adding eggs.

Butter and brown sugar, creamed together until fluffy, and one egg.

Stir in one egg at a time, allowing each one to fully incorporate before adding the next.

Step 3: Add liquid ingredients

Next, stir in the rum and vanilla.

Adding liquid ingredients to rum cake batter.

Step 4: Add dry ingredients

And finally, the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Adding dry ingredients to rum cake batter.

It’s best not to overmix at this stage, or your cake could come out tough.

I like to stir the dry ingredients in until just barely combined. Sometimes there are still a few streaks of flour, but you can mix them in with your spatula as you’re transferring the batter to the pan.

Step 5: Bake

Make sure your bundt pan is liberally greased and dusted with flour. Nothing is more tragic than having a big, beautiful cake like this stick to the pan and break apart!

Be sure to pay extra attention to the “stem” in the middle. That one is always a bit of a troublemaker.

Liberally greased and floured bundt pan.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and get it right into the hot oven.

Unbaked rum cake in a spiral bundt pan.

You’ll know it’s done baking when it’s crusty on top and feels springy to the touch. A skewer inserted in the thickest part should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Step 6: Glaze

Melt the butter in a small pot.

Melting butter in a small stainless steel pot.

Then whisk in the brown sugar and rum.

Ingredients for making rum glaze in a small pot.

Bring it up to a boil and let it bubble for 2 minutes or so.

Boiling rum glaze in a small pot.

Then, poke holes all over the bottom of the cake.

Poking holes in the bottom of a rum cake with a bamboo skewer.

Spoon about half the warm glaze over. It will slowly sink into the cake, giving it a little extra sweetness and flavor.

Spooning glaze over rum cake.

Toss your toasted pecans into what’s left and then drizzle it on top, after you’ve inverted the cake onto a serving platter.

How to serve rum cake

This cake can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.

It’s nice with a little soft whipped cream on top or a scoop of ice cream.

I also love it as an afternoon pick-me-up, with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

Expert tips

Prep the pan: Don’t skimp on this step! There’s so much that goes into this cake, you’d hate for it to stick to the pan and break apart.

Measure accurately: It’s really important that the ingredients are measured precisely, especially for a recipe like this. The slightest bit off and it could completely change the flavor and texture. For the best possible results, follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.

Whip in lots of air: For the most melt-in-your-mouth, velvety texture, make sure you whip in plenty of air when creaming the butter and sugar together. The mixture should double in volume, and look very pale and fluffy.

Don’t overmix: Once you’ve added the flour, you want to be careful not to overmix or you could activate the natural glutens and end up with a tough cake. Just get it barely combined at this stage.

Don’t overbake: This is the number one cause of dry cake. Keep an eye on your cake as it’s baking. A few minutes before you think it will be done, flip on the oven light and view the cake through the window. If it doesn’t look wet in the middle, crack open the door slightly and give it a feel. It should feel springy. If so, give it the toothpick test. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cake is done.

Rum soaked cake, baked in a spiral bundt pan and drenched in a sticky sweet rum glaze.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this in a different-sized pan?


I’ve baked this rum cake in a 12-cup capacity bundt pan, but you can also halve the recipe and bake in (3) 6-inch pans, (2) 8-inch pans or 9-inch pans, a 9×13-inch pan, or as 24 cupcakes

Thinner, smaller cakes bake faster than thicker, bigger ones, so be sure to adjust the bake time as needed.

How to store?


This cake will keep for a few days at room temperature. I like to put it under a glass dome so it doesn’t dry out.

Wrapped tightly, it should last in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for a month or two. Thaw it at room temp and reheat it for a few seconds in the microwave, or in a 170-degree F oven until warmed through.

What is the serving size?


Bundt cakes are big! They can really feed a crowd.

This rum cake recipe will serve at least 16 people.

The nutritional info in the recipe card below reflects a serving size of 1/16th the whole cake.

Recipe for rum cake, prepared in a bundt pan and topped with glaze and toasted nuts.

A few more of my favorite Christmas recipes

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Rum cake drizzled with glaze and toasted pecans.
5 stars (2 ratings)

Rum Cake

Servings: 16 slices
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Velvety, buttery rum cake! Easy recipe, made with just a few simple ingredients and drenched in a sweet, sticky rum glaze. Feeds a crowd!

Ingredients

For the Rum Cake

For the Rum Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, (1 stick)
  • 1 cup (220 g) dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) rum
  • 1/3 cup (36.33 g) pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

Instructions
 

To Make the Rum Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and liberally grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.*
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed for at least 5 full minutes (the mixture should be very pale and fluffy).
  • Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and stir in the eggs (one at a time), allowing each one to fully incorporate before adding the next.
  • Stir in the rum and vanilla extract.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just barely combined.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake until the cake feels springy in the center and a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (approx. 70 to 80 minutes).

To Make the Rum Glaze

  • Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat.
  • Whisk in the brown sugar and rum.
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes.
  • Use a skewer to poke holes in the bottom of the cake, then spoon about half the glaze over, allowing it to soak in.
  • Invert the cake onto a serving platter, stir the pecans into the remaining glaze, and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Notes

*This recipe can be halved and baked in (3) 6-inch pans, (2) 8-inch pans or 9-inch pans, a 9×13-inch pan, or as 24 cupcakes.  Adjust bake time as needed.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 665kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 153mg, Sodium: 335mg, Potassium: 190mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 1154IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert, Snack
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