Global Cuisine: Rum Cake

By Jessica Knutzon, Co-editor

Traditionally rum cake is known for being a traditional Caribbean holiday-season dessert. The recipes vary from region to region, including variations that include walnuts, raisins, sultanas, and other dried fruits.

Tortuga is notably the most famous prepackaged rum cake brand. The company started in 1984 in the Cayman Islands and ships its products to 70 countries and over 100 cruise ships. Clearly, people love rum cake!

Growing up, my mom would prepare rum cake during Christmas for the neighbors — everyone always devoured the cake and asked for more. Today, I make own version of rum cake for my friends during final exams because it does not hurt to have a sweet treat when your life is in chaos. Below please find my not-so-secret recipe. It is the easiest, least-from-scratch recipe in the world, but I promise your guests will love it. Enjoy in moderation!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 package of yellow cake mix (18.25 ounces)
  • 1 package of instant pudding mix (vanilla, 3.5 ounces)
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of rum (I prefer Bacardi gold for this recipe)

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar (white)
  • ½ cup rum
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons of butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients (cake mix and instant pudding mix).
  3. In another bowl, use a mixer to mix the wet ingredients (rum, coconut oil, water, eggs). When it’s frothy, it’s ready.
  4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients until well blended.
  5. Spray Pam, or any other grease you prefer to use, along the bottom and all the edges of a Bundt cake/tube pan.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until done. Baking times vary depending on the oven, so be sure to check on the cake. I usually test it with a fork at 35 minutes: if the mix is no longer sticking to the fork, it is ready.
  7. When there are about 15 minutes left for the cake to bake, make the glaze:
    1. Cook the sugar, water and butter on high heat. Bring it to a boil.
    2. Reduce the heat and keep cooking until it has a syrup consistency. This should take 10-15 minutes.
    3. Remove from the heat and add the rum.
  8. Take the cake out of the oven when it is ready. Use a fork to poke some holes in the cake and slowly pour the glaze over the cake so it seeps into the cake. Leave about one quarter of the glaze in the pan.
  9. Put a plate on top the cake pan, flip it over and when the cake is on the plate, poke some more holes at the top of the cake and pour the rest of the place on top.

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