Caribbean Rum Cake, y’all! During the holidays, my dessert table ain’t complete without it. This beauty is unapologetically rum-soaked, buttery, flavorful, nutty, and extra moist. Rum cake is a traditional holiday dessert in a lot of the Caribbean islands. Served up as a dreamy, golden bundt cake that’s soaked in a rich rum glaze!

rum cake on large plate with glass of rum on the side

It’s that time of year when flour, sugar, and butter are abundant in many households. Or is it just mine? Ha. Holiday baking season will always be one of my favorite food-themed seasons. Cookies, cakes, pies, oh my! With that being said, rum cake is at the tippity top of my most beloved bakes during this time of year. If you’ve never had rum cake before, you’re in for a real good time!

What Is Caribbean Rum Cake 😍

There really isn’t a cake like it, peeps. It’s nutty and buttery, rich and flavorful, and infused with rum-soaked deliciousness! Rum cake is a traditional holiday delight in the Caribbean. There are a few different Caribbean-centered rum cakes: like Jamaican black rum cake and others that feature dried fruit, candied fruit, and rum-soaked fruit. This one is a golden bundt rum cake that you’ll LOVE!

More recipes: jamaican beef patties, my jerk meatballs in coconut curry sauce, succulent oxtail stew, my favorite lemon bundt cake, delicious chicken and waffles, creamy black-eyed peas, and crispy parmesan crusted chicken

caribbean rum cake sliced on large speckled plate

Ingredients Needed For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Pecans (or walnuts!): The nuttiness and texture that nuts add to this cake is so nice. I love using pecans, but walnuts are great, too.
  • All-purpose flour: Gotta have flour for this cake, big fan of Bob’s Red Mill, a coveted pantry staple. Please know that no other types of flour have been tested for this recipe except for gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
  • Granulated sugar: Good ole granulated sugar is needed.
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix: My secret ingredient! This is what makes this cake so lush and moist on top of deepening the vanilla flavor, so dreamy! 👌🏾
  • Baking powder: A leavening agent to add a lift to our bundt cake.
  • Salt: A touch of salt to provide balance.
  • Butter: For that classic, buttery richness…yes indeed.
  • Oil: I use vegetable oil, but canola oil works as well!
  • Eggs: Gotta have eggs to provide some structure.
  • Buttermilk: This one is another helper in the #teammoist department, feel free to use whole milk as a substitute, both are interchangeable here.
  • Rum: Use a good-quality, white or dark/aged rum. More on this, below.
  • Vanilla & almond extract: Both vanilla + almond flavors work so well together, and in my opinion, almond is superior to vanilla extract in baking. However, you can use all-vanilla extract if you do so prefer.
  • For the rum soak: butter, granulated + brown sugar, water, and rum.
caribbean rum cake on large speckled plate on top of beige linen

How To Make Caribbean Rum Cake

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously spray a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan with baking spray or grease well with butter. Then, if using pecans (or walnuts), evenly sprinkle the nuts along the bottom of the pan. Set bundt pan aside while you prepare the cake batter.
  2. Using a stand/handheld mixer, combine the flour, sugar, vanilla pudding mix, baking powder, salt, butter, and oil. Beat the mixture until all ingredients begin to come together, resembling sandy peas.
  3. On the lowest speed, add the eggs, one by one- waiting until each egg fully blends in before adding another. Then add the buttermilk (or milk), rum, and vanilla + almond extracts. Continue mixing until all ingredients have just combined and the batter is smooth- don’t over mix.
  4. Carefully empty the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
  5. Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes or until cake is done. Then remove from the oven and leave the cake in the pan while you prepare the rum soak.

The rum cake batter whips up in a breeze, I encourage licking the beater/bowl! 👅

slice of rum cake with vanilla ice cream on small white plate

Let’s Talk About The Rum Soak

  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, granulated sugar + brown sugar, and water. Cook, stirring often, until everything comes to a slight boil and thickens a bit, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Then shut off the heat, slowly add the rum into the pan, stirring well to combine. The rum soak should have a smooth, syrup-like consistency.
  3. While the cake is still in the pan, use a utensil (skewer/toothpick) to poke holes all over the cake. Carefully pour a little rum soak evenly over the cake, wait, and let the soak fully absorb into the cake. Then pour a little more, repeating process, until you’ve poured all the rum soak over the cake.
  4. Keep the cake in the pan and cover loosely with foil. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours- more preferably, overnight, to let the cake cool completely and absorb the rum soak. 
  5. When ready to serve, invert the cake onto a serving plate. Use a sharp knife to slice the rum cake into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream or pair alongside a cozy cup of coffee/tea, if desired. Enjoy! 

⇢ This rum soak/glaze is sensational, y’all. All that flavor soaks and seeps into the cake yielding a deeply fragrant, potent, and moist cake…SWOON 🤤

caribbean rum cake sliced into on large speckled plate

Best Rum For Rum Cake

I recommend using a good-quality white or dark rum. I’ve used Wray & Nephew (a popular Jamaican white rum) and Myers’s Dark (another Jamaican rum that is dark). While a white rum is okay to use, I do *highly recommend* using a dark/aged rum. This type of rum will add more nuance to your Caribbean rum cake as they tend to give a richer taste. Dark rums usually have a touch of sweetness with other notes that make it more complex.

Let It Soak, Let It Soak, Let It Soak

After you’ve poured all the rum soak into the cake ⇢ Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours- more preferably, overnight (about 8 hours), to let the cake cool completely and absorb the rum soak. Y’all, the longer the cake sits, the better. I noted 4 hours as the minimum, however, letting the rum cake sit overnight is the best.

Why? Because the soak will have more time to infuse the cake with heaps of rum-soaked, boozy flavor! Plus, all the different flavors will meld together and the cake will have completely cooled down, allowing everything to settle nicely. It’s just like how we marinate other foods to achieve maximum flavor 👌🏾

Rum Cake Tips & Tricks

I want the BEST rum cake for you…as such, here are my top tips + tricks to make sure that your rum cake comes out flawlessly ♡

Grease/butter the pan– Generously grease/butter your bundt pan mold very well. Even when you think you’ve done it good, go back and double grease every single nook, cranny, and crevice. We want a flawless cake release in the end.

Room temperature ingredients– The butter, eggs, and buttermilk/milk within this recipe (for the cake) need to be at room temperature. Room temp allows better blending within the batter and no coagulation. I like to leave these out on the counter the night before baking or a few hours before.

Eggs– Add the eggs, one by one- waiting until each egg fully blends in before adding another. Beat until each egg dissolves within the batter.

Let the cake rest/soak– Let the rum cake sit in the bundt pan until completely cool and to fully absorb the soak before inverting it onto a plate.

Storing Caribbean Rum Cake

Wrap leftover rum cake tightly in plastic wrap/foil or keep inside a covered cake dome/cake stand. Leftover cake will keep stored at room temperature on the counter for 3-4 days. Otherwise, freeze cake to last for up to 1 month, thaw in refrigerator. This cake keeps moist and stores like a dream!

caribbean rum cake cut into slices on large speckled plate with glass of rum on the side

So excited for you to try this Caribbean Rum Cake, friends. There’s no other dessert like this insanely good cake! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

Looking for more desserts? Peep these sweets:

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caribbean rum cake sliced on large speckled plate

Blow Ya Mind Caribbean Rum Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Desserts & Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Caribbean
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Description

Caribbean Rum Cake, y’all! During the holidays, my dessert table ain’t complete without it. This beauty is unapologetically rum-soaked, buttery, flavorful, nutty, and extra moist. Rum cake is a traditional holiday dessert in a lot of the Caribbean islands. Served up as a dreamy, golden bundt cake that’s soaked in a rich rum glaze!


Ingredients

Scale

For the rum cake:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), for bottom of pan- optional
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk (or whole milk), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup rum (I use Myers’s Rum)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For the rum soak/glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rum (I use Myers’s Rum)

Instructions

For the rum cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously spray a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan with baking spray or grease super well with butter. Then, if using pecans (or walnuts), evenly sprinkle the nuts along the bottom of the pan. Set bundt pan aside while you prepare the cake batter.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld electric mixer in a large bowl), combine the flour, sugar, vanilla pudding mix, baking powder, salt, butter, and oil.
  3. Beat the mixture together on the lowest speed, first, until all ingredients begin to come together. Then increase the speed as you see everything blending well, the mixture will look like sandy peas. No worries, as everything will smooth out in a bit.
  4. On the lowest speed, add the eggs, one by one- waiting until each egg fully blends in before adding another. Then add the buttermilk (or milk), rum, and vanilla + almond extracts. Continue mixing, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until all ingredients have just combined, and the batter is smooth- don’t over mix.
  5. Carefully empty the batter into the prepared bundt pan, use a utensil to smooth the top, as needed.
  6. Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and leave the cake in the pan while you prepare the rum soak.

For the rum soak/glaze:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, granulated sugar + brown sugar, and water. Cook the mixture, stirring often, until everything combines and thickens slightly. Let the mixture come up to a slight boil, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Then shut off the heat, leaving saucepan on burner, slowly add the rum into the pan, stirring well to combine. Due to the alcohol content, the mixture will bubble until the rum settles. The rum soak should have a smooth, syrup-like consistency.
  3. While the cake is still in the pan, use a long, thin tool (skewer, chopstick, etc.) to poke holes all over the cake. Carefully pour a little rum soak evenly over the cake, wait, and let the soak fully absorb into the cake. Then pour a little more, repeating this rhythm, until you’ve poured all the rum soak over the cake.
  4. Keep the cake in the pan and cover loosely with foil. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours- more preferably, overnight (about 8 hours), to let the cake cool completely and absorb the rum soak. 
  5. When ready to serve, invert the cake onto a serving plate. This rum cake is super moist and rum-soaked with rich flavor. Use a sharp knife to slice cake into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream or pair alongside a cozy cup of coffee/tea, if desired. Enjoy! 

Notes

  1. Storing: Wrap leftover rum cake tightly in plastic wrap/foil or keep inside a covered cake dome/cake stand. Leftover cake will keep stored at room temperature on the counter for 3-4 days. Otherwise, freeze cake to last for up to 1 month, thaw in refrigerator.
  2. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.