Get in the holiday spirit with a rum soaked cake made from scratch. This classic Caribbean dessert is popular around Christmas. It’s easy to make in a bundt pan and then soaked in a bold rum syrup. You’ll love the moist texture and rich, buttery flavor!

slices of homemade rum cake leaning on each other and bundt cake.

Who else loves a little boozy kick in their desserts? Then this homemade rum cake is for you! It has rum stirred into the batter, then, after the cake is baked, a rum butter sauce is poured over the top. As you can imagine, this creates a strong flavor and moist texture. However, my favorite part about this dessert is that it tastes even better the next day!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • LOTS of flavor. There is a healthy pour of rum in the batter and the glaze. There is no doubt you will taste it!
  • Easy to make. For such an impactful flavor, rum cake is relatively simple to prepare.
  • Can be baked a day or two before serving. The beauty of using alcohol in baking is that it often acts as a preservative to keep baked goods fresher longer. In other words, bake the cake today and it will taste just as good, if not better, tomorrow!
  • Versatile. Add whatever mix-ins you please into the batter. You can also use a variety of different baking pans!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make rum soaked cake.
  • Rum: Caribbean rum is typically the rum of choice, but I suggest using your favorite! I prefer Kraken, Myer’s or Goslings, but spiced rums are good options too.
  • Buttermilk: For a tender texture, use buttermilk. Its acidity helps the cake rise while its fat content provides moisture.
  • Eggs: This recipe uses whole eggs and egg yolks for a rich taste.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter that is room temperature. Different brands of salted butter have different amounts of salt so its best to add it separately.
  • Baking powder and soda: These leavening agents help the cake rise! Check that they are fresh and not expired for best results.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Add some mix-ins. Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, after mixing in the flour. Raisins or currants would also taste good!

Use a different pan. This recipe also works for two 8-inch round pans or two 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pans. Baking time will vary.

Make it chocolate. Replace 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. You can also pour chocolate ganache over the cake before serving. You may also like my chocolate rum balls.

Make mini bundts! Fill each cavity two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes (yields 10 to 12).

How to Make Rum Soaked Cake

photo collage demonstrating how to make rum cake batter in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer.
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Stir together liquid ingredients: rum, buttermilk and vanilla.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Alternate adding dry ingredients and liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
photo collage demonstrating how to make butter rum syrup in a sauce pan and soak it on rum cake in bundt pan.
  1. Pour batter into a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350℉ for 45 to 55 minutes.
  2. Make the rum glaze. Melt butter with heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted add sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum.
  3. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use a skewer or chopstick to poke holes. Pour half the mixture over the holes.
  4. Invert cake onto a wire rack and brush remaining rum mixture over the outside of the cake. Cool completely before serving.

Expert Tips

Use room temperature ingredients. Not only are they easier to mix, but they create a smoother batter. As a result, the cake has a better texture!

Let the syrup cook long enough to thicken. This guarantees that the sugar is dissolved and the syrup won’t be too thin, which can water down the cake.

Invert the cake before returning it to the pan and poking the holes. This is just a good step to make sure it comes out of the pan no problem. I suggest using my magic cake pan release to prevent any sticking.

Let it soak. The longer the rum syrup has to soak into the cake, the better it will taste. I usually wait a day or two before cutting into it!

slice of rum soaked cake on a plate with fork taking a bite.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead the rum sauce and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Reheat in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until warm. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or rum. The cake may also be baked and prepared a day or two before serving. The alcohol acts as a preservative to keep the cake fresh longer!

Store rum cake covered at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks Make sure the cake is completely cooled to prevent excess moisture from being trapped.

Freeze for up to 3 months. After it has cooled completely, wrap the cake (or slices) in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Freeze and, when ready to eat, defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.

Recipe FAQ

Is rum soaked cake alcoholic?

Not really. Most of the alcohol is cooked off in the baking process. That being said, there is still a minimal amount remaining particularly in the glaze.

What kind of rum should I use?

Dark rum is best. I suggest Kraken, Myers or Gosling’s. You could also try a spiced rum!

Can I use rum extract instead of rum?

Yes, but it won’t taste quite the same. For the cake, increase buttermilk to 1 cup and add 1 tablespoon rum extract. Make the simple syrup as directed and add 1 tablespoon of rum extract here as well.

Can I substitute the buttermilk?

Yes, place 1 1/2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add milk and fill to the 1/2 cup mark. Stir and let the mixture sit 10 minutes before using in the recipe.

rum soaked cake with slices cut next to a plate with a slice.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

pinterest graphic for rum soaked cake.

Get the Recipe: Homemade Rum Soaked Cake

Treat yourself to a boozy dessert this Christmas. Soaked in a butter rum syrup, this bundt cake tastes even better the next day!
5 (15 ratings)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 ½ cups (312 g) all purpose flour, properly measured
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) dark rum
  • ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature

Glaze

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dark rum
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 12-cup bundt cake pan and set aside.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together rum, buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add half the rum-buttermilk mixture and mix just until combined. Repeat, then end with remaining flour mixture. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Transfer batter to prepared bundt cake pan. Bake at 350℉ for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out with little to no crumbs.
  • To make the glaze, melt the butter with the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the sugar and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened and sugar is dissolved, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the rum.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it on a wire rack just to make sure it comes out of the pan without a problem. Place the cake back in the pan and skewer the top, poking holes 1 inch apart all over the top.
  • While the cake is still warm and in the pan, pour half the glaze mixture over the top. If it pools at all, poke a few more holes to help the sauce soak in. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack or serving plate. Use a pastry brush to brush the remainder of the sauce over the outside of the cake. Let it soak in before applying more to prevent it from dripping down the sides.
  • Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. Typically it tastes best the day after it's baked.

Notes

Dark rum is best. I suggest Kraken, Myers or Gosling’s.
Buttermilk substitute: Place 1 1/2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Add milk and fill to the 1/2 cup mark. Stir and let the mixture sit 10 minutes before using.
Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Once the cake has cooled, wrap the whole thing (or slices) in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Freeze and, when ready to eat, defrost in the refrigerator.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 574kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 171mg, Sodium: 163mg, Potassium: 149mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 47g, Vitamin A: 943IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 2mg

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