I’m not a big fan of boozy fruitcake, but when the holiday season rolls around, I’m always ready to indulge in a slice of a buttery rum cake. For this recipe, I adapted a basic pound cake recipe by substituting cake flour for some of the all-purpose flour and some vegetable oil for some of the butter. Buttermilk makes the cake tender, while a healthy portion of dark rum crafts the key flavor profile. I serve the cake with a luscious butter-rum sauce, drizzling some on top and serving the rest alongside. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or a big dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice is also not a bad idea!

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake, serving 12


Rum Cake

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (114 grams) cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (121 grams) buttermilk or 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream mixed with 2 ½ tablespoons (38 grams) whole milk
  • 2/3 cup (160 grams) dark rum, such as Mt. Gay or Myers’s
  • 11 tablespoons (156 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (71 grams) neutral vegetable oil, preferably safflower
  • 1 ¾ cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract

Buttery Rum Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • ½ cup (108 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (77 grams) heavy cream
  • Big pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) dark rum


Make the cake

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan well – I like to use shortening, because of its high fat content – and then dust it with flour, making sure you get every nook and cranny of the pan. If you prefer, you can use pan spray that has flour in it. 

2. In a large bowl, gently whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a small cup, stir together the buttermilk and rum; set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the oil and beat until combined. While continuing to beat at medium speed, gradually add the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until blended. While mixing at low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the buttermilk mixture in two additions and mixing just until blended.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl to ensure the batter is completely blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Make the sauce

6. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the rum and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring gently just until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the rum and simmer for another 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the sauce to a heatproof glass measure. Let the sauce cool for about 30 minutes before using (or store, covered, in the refrigerator).


7. Right before serving, heat up the sauce in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or until just warm. Drizzle about half of the sauce over the cake to serve, then serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Recommended Equipment:

Nordic Ware Pro Cast Original Bundt Pan, 12 Cup


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Tish Boyle
Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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