Rum Cake

Rum Cake
Every Christmas my grandmother made her famous rum cake. The thing I most remember about it, other than how incredibly good it was, was the process of getting the rum. We lived in a dry county, meaning there was nowhere to buy alcohol. Driving to the next county was the reasonable solution, but my grandmother always had her brother-in-law bring her rum from a few hundred miles away. I’m sure somehow that made all the sense in the world. Anyway, we can readily procure our own rum, so that point of interest is now moot.

That still leaves us with an incredible cake. It is moist and sweet and just, well, wonderful. It has the added bonus of being so very simple. I’m not sure of the origin of the recipe, as my grandmother’s recipe box mostly contains scraps of paper with recipes scribbled on them. In any case, it is a permanent part of my recipe collection. I just call it Memaw’s Rum Cake.

Recently, I made one of these delicious cakes for a Christmas gift. With Quinn’s help (he is an engineer after all), we boxed it up very, very securely and sent it on its way to a friend in Virginia. It thankfully arrived safe and sound. I’m not sure how long it survived once it got there, since we were told that it more than occasionally “called to him.” It’s nice to share family traditions with others, no matter how quickly they are gobbled up.

Rum Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes


For the cake:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package yellow cake mix (18.5 ounces)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.75 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (e.g. canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup rum

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease/flour/spray a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. Sprinkle nuts in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  3. Mix together cake mix and remaining ingredients. Pour batter into pan over nuts.
  4. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan.
  5. Invert cooled cake onto serving plate. Prick all over the top of the cake with a toothpick.

To make the glaze:

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and gradually add rum while continuing to stir.
  2. Drizzle part of the glaze over cake. Allow cake to absorb the glaze. Repeat with remaining glaze until all used.


As an alternative for the glaze, use 3/4 cup sugar and add 1/4 cup corn syrup to help prevent the granulated sugar from crystallizing.

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