This insanely delicious upside-down Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake pays homage to a traditional Island rum cake. The cake is moist, flavorful, sweet, and sent over the edge when paired with the rum sauce!

Today is my mom’s 64th birthday!

But shhhhhh…don’t let her know that I told you how young she is, ha! I couldn’t think of a better way than this cake to celebrate such a special woman. If you’ve been keeping up with my Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve done IG stories with mom dukes. You guys seem to love our shenanigans, scratch that, you guys love my mom’s shenanigans. It’s ok though, I get it. She’s a funny lady, I’ll give her that. Her crazy and wild personality is why people always seem to fall in love with her. Mama is over the top, colorful, and says whatever comes to mind. The complete opposite of me…I seriously don’t know how I came from her. That thick West Indian accent is what hits people first. I’m telling you, that’s how she ropes people in and then you can’t stop talking to her. She’s annoyingly infectious.

Even though we’re completely opposite personality wise, we couldn’t be more alike. I always say our sense of humor is what glues us together. My mom and I possess this super weird, devious, and hysterical sense of humor. We literally laugh and make jokes about the same things. Before I even say something, she often finishes my joke. Whenever I’m down, I can always count on her to send me rolling into a laughing fit so hard that I can’t breathe! Just the other day we were in a store and she started making fun of someone that kept following us. We were both laughing so hard that we had to separate in the damn store to keep from getting kicked out. Ah, those are good times with that nut!

Each year no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I am, I try my best to do something special for her birthday. It’s the very least I can do after all that she’s done for me. She’s my partner in crime and rides for me like no other. Seriously, if I dislike someone, so does she. If I’m going through something, she takes that on and it disrupts her own self like it does mine. When someone does me wrong, she’s ready to go after them. Maybe that’s just a mother’s love I suppose. Either way, I’m eternally grateful for this woman, even when she gets on every single last one of my nerves.

I really didn’t want to bake her a traditional birthday cake with the unoriginal buttercream frosting. For those who don’t know, my family is West Indian. My mom is from the US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas to be exact. There is no food quite like Caribbean food. The spices, the flavor, the taste; Island food is the best food in my opinion. But since we don’t live in the Islands, we have to go the extra mile to get that feeling of being back home. Even though I wasn’t raised in St. Thomas, like my mom, Island food always makes me feel at home and connected to my West Indian culture. Give me a plate of curry goat, stew chicken, or my Grandma’s pig tail soup and I’m in heaven.

I personally love traditional Caribbean rum cake and I knew that I wanted to create a similar recipe. Usually, Caribbean rum cake is made in a bundt cake pan. It’s also typically moist, has great flavor with walnuts and such. All of those elements I love, however, I wanted to develop a sort of riff off of the traditional one. Not to mention one that mom loved. Because if I’m being real with you, she’s one picky person. And even though I’m her daughter, she will flat out tell me if something is terrible, ha! So the pressure was on to create a Caribbean rum cake that we both loved.

Friends, when I tell you how happy I am with this cake, please know that I say that with a face gleaming with pride! I am in love with this cake for so many reasons. This Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake is easy, insanely delicious, and all the other tasty words inserted here. One of the main things I love with this recipe is the fact that it’s a somewhat simple cake made in one pan. There’s no layering cakes and frosting and all that jazz. Which basically means the quicker you get to eat it! The top of this rum cake has a beautifully caramelized layer of brown sugar, butter, rum, sweetened coconut flakes, and walnuts. You’re instantly hit with this melt-in-your-mouth sensation and then you get the moist and flavorful cake. Ugh, it’s divine. Seriously, no exaggeration!

Not only is the cake absolutely amazing, but so is this epic rum sauce! It’s insanely good and you’ll want to guzzle it down all by itself. Everyone loved the rum cake and rum sauce together with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. This Upside Down Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake is definitely begging to be on your table peeps. It’s the perfect cake to make with little fuss and a whole ton of flavor. My mom loved this cake so much that I’ve already made it three times already and I hope you enjoy it too!

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Upside Down Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Caribbean


This insanely delicious upside-down Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake pays homage to a traditional Island rum cake. The cake is moist, flavorful, sweet, and sent over the edge when paired with the rum sauce!


  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • For the Rum Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2 tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • *Optional: vanilla ice cream, toasted coconut flakes.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. For topping: add coconut flakes and walnuts to bottom of prepared pan. Spread evenly.
  3. Topping instructions cont’d- In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, cooking until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rum, you will see it sizzle- this is normal. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture over coconut/walnuts in cake pan.
  4. For the cake: In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Be sure to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until combined. Add in vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the milk- beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, careful not to over mix batter. Then fold in sour cream by hand with a spatula.
  6. Spread batter evenly over coconut/walnut mixture.
  7. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan before inverting cake onto a plate.
  8. For the Rum Sauce: In a medium sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring sauce constantly. Let sauce cool to room temperature before pouring over cake. Sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat sauce in microwave as necessary as it will harden in the refrigerator.
  9. Enjoy!