Unlike some baked goods, in which the alcohol burns off upon baking, rum cake is supposed to taste thoroughly of rum. That’s why using the best rum makes such a difference in the overall flavor of your rum cake. But with so many types of rum to choose from, which is the best to use for your rum cake?
Best rums to use for rum cake:
- Captain Morgan
- Bacardi Gold
- Cruzan Blackstrap
- Malibu Coconut Rum
- Brugal Gold
- Sailor Jerry
This article will answer your most burning questions about rum cake. First, I’ll explain why the 7 brands of rum above are recommended for this boozy dessert. Then I’ll share my best pointers on how to make a rum cake and–more importantly–how to get it out of the pan!
Let’s get started.
The 7 Best Types of Rum for a Rum Cake
Allow me to preface this by stating that there is no one particular best type of rum for rum cake, as that will come down to personal preference.
Each of these rum brands has a different flavor profile, and that makes them worth baking with at least once until you find your favorite!
Many bakers recommend Captain Morgan when making rum cake, and it’s a safe bet to start with.
Captain Morgan rum has a spicy kick to it that’s augmented with slight oak notes. The other predominant flavors are brown sugar and vanilla.
Since the rum is darker, the rum cake will be as well. The color will look caramelized and will tantalize anyone’s taste buds.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Captain Morgan is Bacardi Gold.
This rum is lighter alcohol that Bacardi says has “flavors of sunshine.” In real-world terms, that means Bacardi Gold boasts flavor notes like orange and buttery caramel.
As you sip, you’ll also notice slight traces of sweet banana, toasted caramel, and even a hint of vanilla.
Since it’s a much lighter rum, baking a rum cake with Bacardi Gold will yield a blonde dessert. You can use a yellow cake mix to play up the lighter color of the rum. The cake’s texture is usually quite moist.
Cruzan Blackstrap rum is named after blackstrap molasses, the thick, gooey syrup. The sugar cane-produced molasses is the basis of this unique rum, which has a heavier profile than the other brands I’ve discussed so far.
The molasses flavor of Cruzan Blackstrap comes through loud and clear, as I’m sure you could imagine. Mingling with the molasses are strong licorice notes.
The dark rum bakes up in a cake like Captain Morgan rum, although using Cruzan Blackstrap might not produce quite as dark of a cake.
Consider a topping of fresh pineapple, as the acidic fruit pairs surprisingly well with Cruzan rum.
Malibu Coconut Rum
For a taste of the tropics, you can bake your rum cake with Malibu Coconut Rum.
Yes, coconut is the main flavor here, but don’t worry, as Malibu Coconut Rum is anything but one-note. Flavors of almond and fruitiness come through as well, albeit not quite as strong as the coconut.
It’s not the most nuanced coconut-flavored alcohol, and it’s very sweet. If you know how to use that to your advantage though, you can make one of your best rum cakes yet using Malibu Coconut Rum.
The bright, cheery yellow color of the Bundt cake that comes out of the oven will put a smile on anyone’s face, as will the fruity flavor!
The Dominican Republic-based Brugal Gold is a medium-bodied rum with a deep, bold amber color.
The texture is rich yet fatty with flavor notes such as buttery flan.
Although the flavors are broader, they all come through well enough. That makes Brugal Gold a solid choice for your rum cake.
If you thought that rums such as Captain Morgan were too dark and Bacardi Gold was too light, Brugal Gold is a nice in-between option.
Here’s another brand of rum with a spicy kick to it: Sailor Jerry’s.
There’s a lot of flavors packed into this rum that make it different enough and worth trying outside of Captain Morgan.
For instance, Sailor Jerry rum has notes of black cherry, cinnamon, and black pepper in the background, creating heat. Stronger flavors of oak and roasted caramel come through intermittently.
Although the flavors don’t quite seamlessly blend, they don’t contrast with one another either. It all somehow just works.
In a rum cake, Sailor Jerry has a unique enough taste that you might start subbing it in anytime a dessert recipe calls for Captain Morgan!
The last brand of rum I’d recommend for a rum cake is Myer’s.
Theirs uses Jamaican molasses that’s aged to bring out its best depth of flavor. Even between Cruzan Blackstrap and Myer’s, the flavor profiles are very different.
Myer’s has tastes of chocolate, honey, caramel, tobacco, and sugarcane that meld beautifully. You might get a slightly sweeter rum cake when using Myer’s rum, but there’s nothing wrong with that!
How to Make a Rum Cake
You’ve got the rum, which is the most important part of a rum cake, but what else do you need?
Here are the complete rum cake ingredients to have handy:
- A package of instant vanilla pudding mix (1 ounce to 3.5 ounces)
- A box of yellow cake mix (18 ounces to 18.25 ounces), the brand of your choosing
- 4 eggs, whole
- Rum, ½ cup
- Canola oil, ½ cup
- [Optional] Chopped pecans, 1 cup
If you want to make your rum cake even sweeter with glaze, you’ll need these ingredients:
- Rum, ½ cup
- Granulated sugar, 1 cup
- Butter, 1 stick
- Water, ¼ cup
Most importantly of all, you need a Bundt pan to make rum cake.
A Bundt pan is a cake pan that has a donut-like shape.
Since Bundt cakes are usually served without icing or with only a thin layer of glaze (as is the case with rum cake), the shape of the cake must be Instagram-worthy. Ridges and grooves throughout the bundt pan mold give the cake texture and shape.
Once you have all your ingredients, it’s time to start the prep work. Here’s what you do.
Step 1: Grease your Bundt cake using cooking spray.
Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine rum, water, oil, and eggs until the ingredients incorporate. Then pour in the cake mix and pudding mix, running the mixer on medium speed for between three and five minutes.
The texture of the cake batter should be smooth.
Step 3: Transfer the cake batter into the Bundt pan, ensuring even distribution.
Step 4: Put the Bundt pan in an oven heated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the cake turns golden brown, which takes 40 to 45 minutes.
Step 5: In a saucepan, add water, sugar, and butter to make the glaze. The ingredients will begin boiling once you turn the heat on.
Step 6: Before the ingredients boil for long, turn off the heat and pour in the rum.
Step 7: Using a skewer, make holes throughout the cake and pour the glaze, but only about half of what you have. Once you remove the rum cake from the Bundt pan, make more holes and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side of the cake.
Step 8: Cut the cake and serve!
How to Get a Bundt Cake Out of the Pan
Although making a Bundt cake such as rum cake sounds easy, getting the cake out of the mold can present a challenge to some bakers.
After all, a Bundt mold isn’t like a traditional cake pan. It has that cylindrical cone in the center that seems to grab onto your cake and will not let go.
You have plenty of options for removing your rum cake from a stubborn Bundt pan, so let’s discuss them now.
Grease with Cooking Spray, Not Butter
The best way to prevent the cake from getting stuck is to grease the entire Bundt pan, including the cylindrical ring.
That said, using butter to grease the pan can worsen the sticking problem. Butter has milk solids that will grab onto the pan during baking and put a death grip on your rum cake.
Never Remove a Cake When It’s Hot or Warm
The cooling requirement after baking might seem like something you can skip. Well, until you try to ice a hot cake and it all melts.
Similarly, removing a hot rum cake from a Bundt pan won’t end well. The cake will come out in ripped chunks, and you might not be able to salvage it.
Try a Butter Knife or Spatula
You can dislodge a stuck rum cake by using a flat kitchen instrument such as a spatula or a butter knife to run along the sides of the cake. You’re just trying to separate the edge of the rum cake from the Bundt pan, not saw the cake free.
One or two pass-throughs should be all you need before the cake can wriggle out of the pan.
Flip It Upside Down
If the knife trick doesn’t work, you can always rely on good, old-fashioned gravity.
Lay down a clean dishtowel on your kitchen counter and turn your rum cake upside down. Obviously, you want to do this before you decorate it with glaze.
Then, just let the cake sit for a while. It should only take a matter of minutes before gravity causes the rum cake to dislodge from the Bundt pan.
Give It a Good Smack
Is your poor rum cake still not coming out? With the cake suspended upside down, whack on the metal Bundt tray a few times. Focus on the edges, not the bottom of the pan. Your force should allow any stubborn cake areas to finally come loose from the pan so your rum cake is freed.