As you may be aware, Thanksgiving is this Thursday. In light of this, I’m releasing this week’s recipe post a couple days early. If you’re looking for another dessert for your Thanksgiving dinner, you’re in luck! This rum cake is a real crowd pleaser. I made it for a dinner party this past weekend, and there was none left at the end of the night (the uneaten cake was split between some of the party goers and taken home). Multiple slices were had and a new favorite was declared by some. In short, it was pretty popular.
I first made this cake years ago for a family pig roast. I wanted to make a Puerto Rican dessert to go along with our Puerto Rican food, and this was the first thing that my dad thought of. I wasn’t quite the baker I am now at the time, so it helped that the recipe I found called for boxed cake mix. Even now, though, I don’t think I would change it because the boxed cake mix is consistent every time and gives you peace of mind when you have about a million other things to do to get ready for whatever occasion you plan to serve this for. The instant vanilla pudding is a stroke of genius because it makes the cake soft and moist.
In the past, I’ve always bought the cheapest rum I could find, but this time I used a slightly better bottle (thanks to my neighbor who served as my rum runner). If you just want your cake to taste really boozy, then use the cheap rum. If you’re interested in adding a different flavor, then find a mid-range bottle of rum to work with. You can also adjust the spices to include cloves, allspice, and/or ginger (anything you would put in a pumpkin pie). Normally this cake is made without the spices, but the cinnamon fits in too well to be left out.
You will need the following ingredients:
For the cake:
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup cold water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup dark rum
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
For the glaze:
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark rum
For baking ambiance:
- I’m going with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons for this one. Nothing gets you amped up for your upcoming festivities like singing along to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” at the top of your voice while chopping nuts and beating cake mix. Try it, you’ll like it.
Let’s get baking!
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly in the bottom of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding powder, eggs, water, vegetable oil, rum, and cinnamon. Beat the whole mess on medium speed (or just with a wooden spoon), scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into the bundt pan on top of the pecans. Shake the pan and drop it on the counter 5 times to release any air bubbles.
Bake the cake for an hour, checking it with a toothpick after 50 minutes to make sure you don’t overcook it.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once it’s melted, stir in the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Stir the glaze continuously while boiling for 5 minutes. If it tries to boil over, decrease the heat a little bit. After the 5 minutes are up, decrease the heat to low and stir in the rum (it will return to a boil). Cook for about a minute more to cook off some of the alcohol.
Leave the glaze to cool for 5 minutes. While it’s cooling, poke the bottom of the cake all over with a toothpick or barbecue skewer. This will help the cake to absorb the glaze. When it’s cool enough to handle, spoon enough glaze over the cake to cover it. Leave this alone until it soaks in.
Repeat this process until you have used about half of the glaze. At that point, leave the cake to soak twice as long as you think it needs to. After that, you can flip it onto your serving dish of choice.
Spoon and/or brush the remaining glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in in stages like you did on the bottom.
That’s all there is to it. Slice and serve and try not to get knocked over by the compliments!
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Spiced Rum Cake