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Rum Cake: 3 Favorite, Homemade, Delicious Recipes

By
Sarah Ward
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When it comes to learning how to make rum cake, it's about more than just one recipe or type of rum. The history of rum cake goes back into Caribbean history. The variety of cakes made today showcases that rich, often mixed with dried fruit, history. Before you decide to make rum cake, it's time to learn about all the types of rum cake.

binwise beverage inventory demo rum cake

What Is Rum Cake?

The answer to the question of “what is rum cake” varies depending on where you’re asking about. Many different places have their own styles of what rum cake is. In the Caribbean, rum cakes are traditionally a holiday dessert. The Caribbean rum cakes are very similar to fruitcake, with the difference being a lighter texture. In Trinidad and Tobago, the fruit of the rum cake is preserved in cherry brandy. This gives it a vastly different flavor from a classic Caribbean rum cake. In Puerto Rico, rum cake is specifically a sponge cake, which serves to absorb the rum and make for a delicious flavor. And in the United States, while the Caribbean rum cake is quite popular, many companies have branched out to create their own versions. From glazed rum cakes to rum-infused cakes, the U.S. market for rum cakes varies quite a bit. 

A common factor in most rum cakes is the addition of dried fruit. In the Caribbean rum cakes, the dried fruit is generally soaked in rum for quite some time before being added to the dough. This practice is followed by many rum cake creators. In Puerto Rico and the U.S., however, rum cakes are often also made using fresh fruit. 

How to Make Rum Cake 

When it comes to how to make rum cake, the answer may depend on what you like in your rum cake. It’s a semi-versatile basic recipe, so there’s some room for experimentation. These recipe options don’t include the type of rum or liquor or the fruit options. While you can make a rum cake without fruit, it’s mainly left off here because it’s something that you have a lot of say over. That said, the main choice to make is whether you want to make your rum cake from scratch or with a boxed cake mix. 

Make Rum Cake From Scratch

If you want to make rum cake from scratch, there’s a great recipe from Gimme Some Oven. To give you an idea of what you’ll be getting into, the rum cake ingredients will be:

  • Cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Rum
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites

And for the sauce to glaze the cake, you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Water
  • White sugar
  • Rum

The Boxed Cake Mix Version

If that ingredient list is a bit daunting, there is an easier way. You can make a delicious rum cake using a boxed cake mix. For comparison, this simple recipe from Averie Cooks gives you a much shorter ingredient list. You’ll need:

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Vanilla pudding mix
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Dark rum
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt

Whichever route you choose, the other thing you’ll need to know is how to bake a Bundt cake. Following the instructions of whichever recipe you choose will have you enjoying your rum cake in no time at all. 

Rum Cake Ingredients 

The heart of a good rum cake lies in the beverage you use, and the fruits you infuse with the beverage of choice. While there are plenty of great classic rum cake recipes, there’s no rule that says you can’t find your own flavor. The following lists are just a few options, if you’re open to trial and error you can try whatever you’d like. 

For some liquor and other beverage options, a good starting list is:

  • Brandy
  • Cherry brandy
  • Dark rum of any variety
  • Medium sherry
  • Wine 
  • Whiskey
  • Orange-flavored liqueur
  • Apple juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Cherry juice

And when it comes to the fruits you can add in, that’s also really up to you. Some good starter options are:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Sour cherries
  • Raisins
  • Oranges

Most recipes will recommend using dried fruits, but if you do some digging you can also find ways to experiment with fresh fruits. 

The Best Rum Cake Recipe

When you Google the best rum cake recipe, you’ll find a lot of options. There are so many baking blogs, restaurants, and other places online boasting the best rum cake recipe or the most delicious rum cake ingredients. The truth is, every rum cake is delicious in its own way. And, for that matter, the best rum cake recipe for you will depend on your own personal taste. Maybe you like it dark, with lots of fruit. Maybe you prefer a lighter cake with a glaze that has some smaller dried fruits. 

All that said, if you want to try a great rum cake, you can’t go wrong with a traditional rum cake. This Caribbean rum soaked fruit cake is as classic as they come. It’ll take a bit more effort to make, but it’ll be oh so worth it.

Jamaican Rum Pound Cake

This great classic recipe is reminiscent of a traditional Caribbean rum cake. Another name for this style of cake is a Jamaican rum pound cake. These cakes go by many names, from pound cake to Christmas cake to rum cake. Whatever you call it, they’re all delicious. If you want to make a rum cake that is similar to a Caribbean rum cake, these are the cakes for you. A few recipes for this classic that you can try out come from Chelsea Bay as well as the blog, My Forking Life. These cakes will bring the taste of the Caribbean straight to your kitchen. 

binwise beverage inventory demo rum cake

How to Make Rum Cake: In Conclusion

Any of these recipes will be a great option to start with as you learn how to make rum cake. And, as you're baking, it can't hurt to start planning a Caribbean vacation to taste the real thing. Whichever rum cake you choose, happy baking!

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