Go Back
A close up of a plate of food and a cup of coffee, with Bundt cake
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Caribbean Rum Cake

This is a delicious clone of the rum-soaked cake you may have had in the Caribbean Islands, or found in an Italian market during the holidays. It is just fantastic. Please be aware that due to the amount of rum in this recipe, it is definitely not recommended for anyone avoiding alcohol. See Notes for a lite version and one with no-alcohol.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting time at room temperature8 hrs
Total Time9 hrs 35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Caribbean, Italian
Servings: 16
Calories: 418kcal


  • 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (see NOTE 1)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup milk, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup rum, plain or spiced see NOTE 2
  • 2 teaspoons vanila extract
  • ¼ teaspoon butter-rum flavoring see NOTE 3

For the syrup:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup rum, plain or spiced see NOTE 2
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking powder, salt, butter, and oil and mix at mediu speed until everything is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.
  • Beat in the milk. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape the bowl thoroughly and beat briefly to incorporate.
  • Stir in the rum, vanilla, and butter-rum flavoring.
  • Prepare Bundt pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread it level with a spatula
  • Bake for 50- to 60-minutes. Test for doneness using a skewer, toothpick, or dry piece of ucooked spaghetti. It should come out clean when inserted into the center area of the cake. Do not overbake. Remove cake from the oven. Leave the cake in the pan while you prepare the syrup.
  • In a medium-size saucepan, combine the butter, water, sugar, salt, and rum. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer to cook—without stirring—for 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Using a long skewer or similar, poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 1/4 cup syrup over the cake, while it is still in the pan. Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again, until all the syrup has been absorbed. See NOTE 4.
  • Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap, allowing the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and for the syrup to soak into all of the cake.
  • When ready to serve, invert the cake over a serving plate. If it won't loosen to fall out of the pan easily, do not force it. Instead, tent the pan with foil, place it in the oven on the bottom rack and turn it on to 350 F. for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and now tip it onto the serving plate. Serve and enjoy!
  • If any of this amazing cake remains, put it in a cake saver OR wrap it securely in plastic wrap, storing it at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. You may confidently freeze for longer storage, up to one month.


1. Do not use sugar-free pudding mix. You can use a different flavor pudding mix if you want—banana, caramel, butterscotch, coconut, etc.
2. You can replace 1/4 cup of the rum (or see NOTE 5) with water if you are concerned about the alcohol content of the cake and or the syrup. In this case, increase the amount of butter-rum flavoring to 1/2 teaspoon, in the cake and add 1/4 teaspoon to the syrup, or to taste. I cannot guarantee that the alcohol will "bake out" of the cake. 
3. Butter-rum flavoring is available with the extracts and flavorings in most supermarkets.
4. Using all of the syrup results in a very moist cake. Yummy moist. If you want it less "rummy," use only half of the syrup.
5. Alcohol-free version: Substitute water for all of the rum, increasing the butter-rum flavoring up to to 1 1/2 teaspoons for the cake and 1/2 teaspoon for the syrup, adding it when you add the vanilla. 
6. Source: I found this recipe at King Arthur Flour, a wonderful company in Vermont, which I had the privilege of visiting several years ago and touring the test kitchen and store (oh my!). Love that place and all of the KAF products (including professional strength butter-rum flavoring). The recipe is now written exactly how I do it and I have marginally tweaked the ingredients to what I think is a perfect balance.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg