You know a dish was beyond just good when you can still recall the taste of it decades later. In this instance, I’m talking about a rum cake so amazing that my husband and I would trade manual labor just to procure one from a co-worker’s mother. Seriously. We’ve never acquired this particular rum cake recipe, but we’ve had fun trying to replicate it. August 16 is National Rum Day — celebrate with one of these yummy rum cake recipes.
Rum cake tastes like a tropical vacation
Every time we took delivery of a rum cake, we’d ask for the recipe, even though we knew it was hopeless. To this day, the recipe for that particular rum cake is a closely held family secret, and we’re too old to do the requisite manual labor. That hasn’t prevented us from trying to replicate it, however. Although we’ve never quite been able to create “it,” we’ve had an awful lot of fun trying along the way.
Rum cake is one of those desserts that let you taste and feel the warmth and fun of a tropical vacation all over again. One bite takes you back (even if you’ve never been!). Whether in the cold, dark New England winter or on a hot, humid summer night, this very moist, very rich cake is an indulgence and a mouthwatering memory for your tastebuds. As a bonus, August 16 is National Rum Day! So make an indulgent, delicious — and adults only, please — rum-based dessert to celebrate!
Rum cake recipes
All From Scratch Rum Cake
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
3/4 cup dark rum, divided
1/2 cup banana liqueur, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. Beat 1-1/2 cups butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until well-blended. Add lemon rind, incorporating completely. Gradually add 1/2 cup rum and 1/4 cup banana liqueur. Beat well. (Batter will look curdled.)
3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to batter alternately with whipping cream, beating well after each addition.
4. Pour batter into pan and bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. (Do not remove from pan.)
5. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup rum, 1/4 cup banana liqueur. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat, and cool 10 minutes.
6. Pierce cake multiple times with a skewer. Pour rum syrup evenly over cake. Let stand 45 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack. Dust with with powdered sugar before serving.
“Quick” Rum Cake
This version can also be made with chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding mix for a chocolate rum cake.
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 (3-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark rum, divided
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Mix in the eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil and 1/2 cup rum. Blend well.
3. Pour batter over chopped nuts in the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto serving plate.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum.
5. Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.
Mango Rum Cake
1 cup fresh peeled mango, diced
1/2 cup pureed ripe mango
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light rum
3 tablespoons water
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Arrange mango cubes in the bottom of the pan.
2. Whisk together the eggs, mango, butter, rum and water. Add cake mix and beat at medium speed for several minutes.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Loosen and remove from pan onto serving plate.