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A perfect celebratory dessert for the holidays! This easy Rum Cake recipe starts with a box of cake mix for a moist, flavorful and quick yellow Bundt cake that’s topped with pecans and soaked with a rich, butter-rum glaze. The old-fashioned treat has been a favorite for generations!

Side shot of a slice of pecan topped rum cake recipe served on a little white plate

Rum Cake Recipe​​​​​​​

I have vivid memories of my mom and my grandmother preparing this Christmas cake throughout my childhood. It’s a perfect holiday dessert because you can make it in advance (and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated), it’s easy (since it takes advantage of a boxed cake mix), and it feels festive and celebratory — thanks to plenty of butter rum glaze!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ It would also be ideal for Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve.​​​​​​​

What does rum cake taste like?

The base of the recipe is a golden yellow cake mix made with vanilla pudding and a touch of Caribbean rum. The cake itself doesn’t have a strong rum flavor at all — instead, it’s just a really moist, fluffy golden Bundt cake with a rich vanilla flavor and a toasty, crunchy pecan topping.

The warm cake soaks up a buttery rum glaze, which gives it that classic rum taste without an overpowering amount of alcohol. While some rum cakes taste very strongly of booze, this cake is made with less alcohol and therefore has a more subtle rum taste. Plus, the amount of alcohol in any given slice is not enough to make anyone drunk. You’ll need to pour some cocktails if that’s what you’re going for!

The Best Rum for this Cake

You can use almost any rum — just make sure that it tastes good enough to drink! I use a light rum — specifically, Captain Morgan Caribbean Spiced Rum — since that’s what we tend to have on hand. A bolder dark rum will also work for a stronger, richer flavor.

Overhead shot of Caribbean rum to use in cake batter

How to Make Rum Cake with Cake Mix

We’re big fans of store-bought shortcuts to help get easy desserts on the table without too much stress. This simple rum soaked cake looks impressive on a holiday table, but a yellow cake mix and a box of vanilla instant pudding make it a breeze to put together.

Ingredients for Grandma’s Rum Cake Recipe

Step 1: Sprinkle Pecans in Bottom of Bundt Pan

Arrange the nuts in an even layer at the bottom of a greased and floured Bundt pan.

Process shot of placing pecans in a Bundt pan

Step 2: Make Cake Batter

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, rum, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes.

Mixing rum cake batter in a stand mixer

Step 3: Add Batter to Pan

Pour the cake batter over the nuts in the Bundt pan.

How to make a rum cake with cake mix process shot

Step 4: Bake

Bake the cake in a 325 degree F oven for 1 hour.

Orange juice cake in a bundt pan

How to Make Easy Rum Cake Glaze

This cake gets it’s ultra-moist texture and rich flavor from the special rum glaze. You’ll need to prepare the glaze about 5-10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven so that it’s ready to go when you need to drizzle it over the hot cake.

Ingredients for Butter Rum Cake Glaze

  • Salted butter
  • Sugar
  • Rum
  • Water

Combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Rum cake glaze in a saucepan with whisk

Poke holes in the bottom of the cake while it’s still in the pan and drizzle about half of the glaze all over the hot cake. ​​​​​​​After about 10 minutes, flip the cake out onto a wire rack, poke holes in the top, and drizzle with the remaining glaze.

Tip: Set the wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet for easy clean-up. Some of the glaze will drip down the side of the cake onto the foil, so it’s much easier if that mess isn’t all over your countertops! When the cake is completely cool, slice and serve!

Duncan Hines Rum Cake recipe on a cake stand

Storage

This is a great make-ahead dessert recipe because it gets better as it sits! The cake does not need to be refrigerated. Covered, it will last at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.​​​​​​​

You can also wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter overnight before serving.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Close up side shot of a fork taking a bite of butter rum cake on a plate

Tips for the Best Rum Cake Recipe

  • Grease the Bundt pan really well by coating with butter and then dusting with flour. Alternatively, you can use a cooking spray that’s specifically made for baking (like this one). These options will ensure that your cake pops right out of the pan when it’s done!
  • Use a high quality rum that actually tastes good. It will flavor your dessert, so make sure you like the rum that you choose! Either light rum or dark rum will work in this recipe.
  • Glaze the cake while it’s still warm so that it soaks up as much of the butter rum glaze as possible. It’s also nice to have some of the glaze all over the outside of the cake as it drips down the sides.
  • The cake gets better as it sits, so this is a nice dessert option to prepare the day before you plan to serve it.
Two slices of golden rum cake on white plates

More Bundt Cake Recipes to Try

Side shot of a slice of pecan topped rum cake recipe served on a little white plate

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Rum Cake

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 480 kcal
This easy Rum Cake starts with a box of cake mix and is soaked in a rich, butter-rum glaze. The perfect holiday dessert!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 cup finely-chopped pecans
  • 1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
  • Sprinkle nuts in the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, rum, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the batter over the nuts in the pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • About 10 minutes before the cake is done, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, rum and water. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Leave the hot cake in the pan and use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke holes in the bottom of the cake. Slowly drizzle about half of the glaze over the bottom of the cake, allowing time for the glaze to soak into the holes and be absorbed by the hot cake.
  • Place a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet to catch drips. After about 10 minutes in the pan, turn the cake out onto the wire rack (right-side up). Poke holes on the top of the cake. Gradually drizzle remaining glaze over the top of the cake. A lot of the glaze will soak into the cake, and some will also drip down the sides.
  • Cool completely, then slice and serve!

Notes

  • Grease the Bundt pan really well by coating with butter and then dusting with flour. Alternatively, you can use a cooking spray that’s specifically made for baking (like this one). These options will ensure that your cake pops right out of the pan when it’s done!
  • Use a high quality rum that actually tastes good. It will flavor your dessert, so make sure you like the rum that you choose! Either light rum or dark rum will work in this recipe.
  • Glaze the cake while it’s still warm so that it soaks up as much of the butter rum glaze as possible. It’s also nice to have some of the glaze all over the outside of the cake as it drips down.
  • The cake gets better as it sits, so this is a nice dessert option to prepare the day before you plan to serve it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 480kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 4gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 403mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 1gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 321IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: rum cake
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. While reading the instructions I note that in #7 the instructions say to poke holes in the bottom of the cake and to drizzle the glaze over the bottom of the cake- however the bottom of the cake is still in the pan.
    In #8 the instructions say to turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack right side up and poke holes into the top of the cake. The cake will end top side down onto the wire rack.
    Should these instructions be reversed to say in #7 to remove the cake from the pan so the bottom side is up and in #8 to flip the cake right side up and poke holes into the top of the cake?
    Thank you for this recipe. I have a similar recipe not using a mix. This is quicker I will definitely make it.

    1. Hi, Irene! You want to leave the cake in the pan to poke holes in the bottom first, since the bottom of the cake is what’s on top while it’s still in the pan. Then when you invert the cake onto a cooling rack, the top of the cake will be on top. That’s when you’ll be able to glaze the top of the cake.

      The cake bakes upside down in a Bundt pan, so maybe that’s what’s confusing you? Hope I’ve helped clarify. 🙂

    1. Hi, JR! Those sound really fun! I would think that the mini Bundt cakes should bake similar to muffins or cupcakes, so try 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ll definitely share the pics once I’ve done it.
    I’m going to use Raisins instead of peacans because I’m allergic to them…

    Thank you very much Blair!

    1. That’s great — enjoy! I bet the raisins would be delicious if you soak them in rum before adding them to the cake. Soft, plump and full of flavor. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Hi
    Hi
    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe I misplaced it.
    I used the rum from traders Joe
    WHALER’S
    Be well

  4. Hi Blair, I just made (09/05/21) this absolutely delicious rum cake. I surprised my husband with it and he took one look and immediately wanted a slice. This cake was so moist and the rum taste was fantastic. It was delicious the first day but the second day even more delicious. I used a dark rum (Bumbu) and can’t wait to make it again. Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    i make this rumcake asas mothers but my mom always poked lots of holes while in the pan and poured the WHOLE icing over the cake straight out of the oven i thought the glaze was going to run all over but it sat there & began soaking in, this cake so moist and yummy i use this same recipe it is hers exactly. Just soak the glaze different is all and but add more rum to the glaze still wont make you drunk with the added rum lol… try it it is awesome Thanks Barb Auten Whitney Texas