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Rum cake recipe?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I first tried rum cake with vanilla ice cream at a wedding last summer and I am wanting to recreate it, though I don't have the recipe from the wedding caterers. I have found some basic recipes for it, but am wondering if there are any tips or tricks for making a good rum cake? Oh, and any tips on a good rum to use that is not too expensive?

post #2 of 12
If you can give me about a week, I have an excellent rum cake recipe that has been in the family for 4 generations. The rum we use is pricey though, Bacardi.
It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
post #3 of 12
The favored rum for baking is from Austria, called variously Stroh 80 or Stroh Original, is 160 proof, "spiced," and fantastically expensive.

Generally, you want to bake with a dark or amber rum for flavor. Actually Bacardi is reasonably priced as these things go. Still, for most purposes, a "spiced rum," such as Captain Morgan will do a creditable job either for flavoring in the batter, or for a rum syrup to soak the cake.

You didn't give enough information about the rum cake you had at the wedding. The more information you give, the closer we can take you.

There are a variety of types, the most famous of which is "baba au rhum." A baba is a yeast raised cake with a very open texture -- was yours like that? Any good cake can be profitably soaked with a rum syrup -- besides baba, pound cake, sponge cake, and angel food are all good candidates. You can even soak the individual layers in a layer cake then frost between and over.

As Popeye, sailorman and gourmand, once famously observed, "The woild is yer ersker."

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oooh, Gummy-Bear, that would be wonderful if you are willing to share your family recipe! And I agree with BLD, Bacardi is reasonable priced, at least for me if I know the recipe is a good one! Take as much time as you want, but I would love to try your recipe if you don't mind sharing! :lips:

BDL, I don't really know how to describe the cake I had very well. I guess texture-wise it was like a light pound cake, kind of a mix of a pound and an angel food cake - is that even possible? It wasn't so thick like a pound cake, but airier. It was made in a bundt pan, and definitely had some type of syrup soaked on the top, but even a sugar-y type of crystallization on the top as well, but I was guessing that came from the syrup soaked on top (but I could be wrong as I've never made a rum cake before). That is all I really remember of it, I hope that helps some!
post #5 of 12
It helps a lot. I believe you are a victim of baba au rhum the classic rum cake invented in France in the early 19th Century. Like a pound cake, but lighter -- yes. It's a yeast raised cake with egg. The yeast dough gives the cake enough structure to hold up to a good soaking without falling apart. In fact, it's the same type of dough used for savarin, another booze soaked cake traditionally made with dried fruit -- but different booze, different fruit.

Back to baba: They're traditionally made with dried currants mixed in -- remember Hagen Daz Rum Raisin? More or less traditional for restaurant serving and event catering is using miniature bundt pans to make single-serving cakes. Is that how you had it? The rum is usually added in the form of a syrup that is alcoholic enough to be adult, and sweet-spicy enough to enchant our inner child. Our drunken inner child. The traditional garnish is whipped cream, but ice cream will do. Oh yes, it will do.

I'll link you to a recipe by Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa" which looks classic, well written, and easy. I have two recipes, one for a huge quantity and the other has an incredibly over-complicated spiced syrup which is supposedly "original," but is mostly complicated and expensive -- so let's use hers.

Baba au Rhum by Ina Garten

A few last notes:

In the Garten recipe, above the picture, is a link to the recipe as pdf. That should make it easier to print out if you like to read the recipe while you cook.

Baba has an apocryphal history you may enjoy googling.

The currants (raisins) are optional. You can use any dried fruit or none. You're not a prisoner to tradition.

Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, or another inexpensive spiced rum make very good baking rums. Spiced rum actually is traditional, and Morgan's is as good as any without the complications of aging spices into booze, zesting various fruits, or the expense of buying Stroh's.

While we're cadging recipes from Food Network hosts, Emeril's looked pretty good too. With zesting, yet.

post #6 of 12
Hello BDL, if we make a spiced syrup (sugar, water, stick of cinnamon, whole cloves) and them add Bacardi Rum, do you think that that will be nice to soak the babas? What kind of spices do Captain Morgan Rum have? :talk:

A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
post #7 of 12
I taste cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla and orange peel in Captain Morgan. There may be other things as well.

Yes to spicing your own Bacardi.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

to paddle or not to paddle... attachment that is.

I took a look at the Barefoot Contessa's recipe and will definitely give it a try (though if Gummy-Bear posts the family recipe, I will give that one a try as well), but question now is - based on the Contessa's recipe - can I use a regular mixing... uh... mixers if I don't have a paddle attachment (as she says to use in her recipe)? Or will it ruin the cake? I don't currently have access to a paddle attachment for the mixer I have right now, but i really would like to try making a rum cake sometime in the near future. At the same time, I don't want to waste ingredients (esp. not rum!) if not using a paddle attachment will straight out ruin the cake.
post #9 of 12
Stay on a low speed. As long as your mixer is strong enough to handle the dough, you should be alright. I imagine there are even food processor workarounds, but I don't know them.

Good luck,
post #10 of 12
Really? :eek: I remember cringing when we bought it, but I'm 15 and don't purchase alcohol so I have no idea what's pricey and what isn't. Good to know though.

I'll get the recipe up here ASAP but the house is locked up since that part of my family is in Mexico and then I need to claw through a pile of cookbooks to find where I stashed the darn thing.

The recipe has been modified by one of the older generations so it uses some convenience foods. I'll check on it as soon as I can. Thanks for the patience.
-Gummy Bear
It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
It's a wonderful thing to be spoiled in the way of food.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi Gummy-Bear,


I know this thread is a couple years old, but I recently was asked to make a rum cake for a small get together and am out looking for a recipe again.  I would prefer a family tried and true recipe and you had offered your family recipe before, so I am wondering if you would mind still posting your recipe?  I did try the one BDL suggested and it was good, but I was wanting to try another one. 





post #12 of 12



This is no fancy modern day Rum cake, but it is original to several generations of mine. My Grandmother used to  make it for my birthday every year for a very long time. I love it the way it is but I'm sure you could add some of the extra flavors that might be missing from your original experience. There are no secrets here, just follow the recipe as written. I don't know what brand of light rum was used back in the day  but I always use Bacardi light rum. Please give this a try in it's original version and then try your hand at a modification if inclined. Please share any successes.


½ Cup Chopped Pecans

1 (18 ½ oz) Package Yellow Cake Mix

1 (3 ¾  oz) Package Vanilla Instant Pudding & Pie Filling Mix

½ Cup Light Rum

½ Cup Water

½ Cup vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

Hot Rum Glaze (see recipe below)


1.       Pre-heat oven to 325

2.       Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt Pan (or spray with Bakers Joy)

3.       Sprinkle chopped pecans over bottom of pan

4.       Combine cake mix, pudding mix, rum, water, oil and eggs;

Beat exactly 2 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer.

5.       Pour batter into pan; bake at 325 degrees for 50 -60 minutes

6.       Slowly pour hot rum glaze over hot cake (the glaze will cause the cake to settle)

7.       Allow cake to cool in pan 30 minutes before turning out.




Hot Rum Glaze


1 Cup Sugar

½ Cup Butter

¼ Cup Light Rum

¼ Cup Water

1.       Combine all ingredients; boil several minutes until slightly thickened. (Be careful not to allow it to boil over)

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