How to Make the Most Decadent Rum Cake (Ever!)

Have your cake and drink it, too. This sweet and spirited rum cake recipe is irresistible, and no crumb will be left behind.

As far as we’re concerned, happiness is a simple equation: cakes + cocktails. The only thing that’s better? When you put the two of them together (and we have a tendency to choose desserts with real spirit). But before you start, be sure you have the right cake baking supplies handy in order to whip up sweet success!

How to Choose the Rum

The key ingredient in this cake, rum, varies in flavor and intensity depending on the type you choose—and what you pick comes down to personal preference. Lighter rums, which are often used in rum cocktails, provide a base for other flavors to shine. Darker rums, which are aged longer than light rums, will have richer, more powerful notes, and can deliver creamy, caramel-infused flavors.

Add Your Own Twist

For extra flair, you can play around with this recipe. Consider adding lemon zest or folding chopped walnuts into the batter. Channel the tropics by garnishing with pieces of pineapple or toasted coconut.

How to Make Rum Cake

This rum cake comes to us from Nancy Heishman of Las Vegas. It makes 12 decadent servings.


  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • Optional: Whipped cream and finely chopped glazed pecans


Step 1: When Sugar Met Rum

Place egg whites in a large bowl and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Here’s why you should always bake with room temperature eggs.) Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the confectioners’ sugar, juice and 1/4 cup cubed butter. Cook and stir the sauce over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Plan to reserve 3/4 cup for serving.

Step 2: Mix It Up

Preheat your oven to 375°, then grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. (Here’s how to grease a pan the right way.) Over a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Then, sift the ingredients one more time to ensure there are no lumps. Set aside.

Step 3: Find the Beat

In another bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup brown sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until the sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Psst! Here’s how to whip egg whites the right way.

Step 4: Keep the Beat Going

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until slightly thickened. (Hope you have a dishwasher!) Gradually add 1/4 cup of the remaining brown sugar and the vanilla, beating on high speed until thick. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into the batter. Alternately fold in the flour mixture and remaining whites. Fold in melted butter.

Step 5: Go Forth and Glaze

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan. Bake on the lowest oven rack for 25-30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately poke holes in the cake with a fork and slowly pour the remaining sauce over cake, allowing it to absorb into the sponge. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve with the reserved sauce and, if desired, whipped cream and glazed pecans.

How to Store Leftovers

If you manage to have leftovers from this rum cake recipe, store them properly to retain the treat’s rich, moist taste. In the fridge, the cake should be stored in an airtight container that leaves enough room so the cake will not be crushed. It will stay fresh for five days. If desired, you can warm leftovers in the microwave for up to 20 seconds.

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Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.