Drunken Rum Cake


I got this recipe from my mother, and I have to tell you that she didn’t call it Drunken Rum Cake. She’s a preacher’s wife. She would never do that. My mother got this recipe from the L.A. Times back in the 80s. That short-cut “cake mix” recipe quickly became a family favorite, but you know how I feel about cake mixes. And so when I re-imagined the cake as a made-from-scratch recipe, I felt powerful enough to re-imagine the name, too.

Just don’t blame my mother.

I’ll include the original short-cut version based on a cake mix at the bottom of the post in case you want to try that–but why would you? This cake is worth the bit of trouble of measuring out the flour and sugar yourself. In fact, this cake is so good, you will want to bury your face in it when it’s done and eat it whole. And if you have tested the rum properly during preparation, you might just feel okay with that. I know I did.

(Turning this “cake mix” recipe into a homemade cake wasn’t hard to figure out, of course. I blended a scratch yellow cake recipe with the rum and vanilla pudding, throwing in a couple extra eggs.)

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How to make Drunken Rum Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
1 3.4-ounce package (dry) instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup dark rum

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Before you add the rum, you might want to test it. Unless you’re trying to be frugal, because this is one of my cheap-but-special Christmas present ideas. You can bake this cake in a standard large bundt pan, but you can also bake it in two smaller (7-inch) bundt pans to give as gifts.

You don’t really want to give anyone bad rum, though, so you should probably check it. With eggnog.

Mix at medium speed for two minutes. Do not overbeat! Pour into one large greased and floured bundt pan or two smaller bundt pans. Place in a 350-degree oven. A large bundt cake will take approximately 50-60 minutes. Seven-inch bundt cakes will take 35-45 minutes.

Halfway through baking, I put a square of foil over the cake to keep it from over-browning.

Place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack until completely cooled. Invert onto a cake plate. Prick the cake all over with some kind of long doohickey that will reach all the way through the cake.

I’m using a meat thermometer to prick the cake because it’s the longest doohickey I have. I don’t have any fancy doohickeys. I also added extra short pricks with a toothpick, but be sure to do at least some pricks with something that will go all the way through the cake to get ready for glazing.

Rum Glaze:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Melt butter in saucepan. Add water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes then add the rum.

You can check the rum again now if you want to.

If the spoon in this picture is looking all wavy? You’d better put the rum down. Now drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it soak in through all those holes. This cake gets better the longer it sits. In fact, you can let it sit in your refrigerator for weeks and it is just better. Not that I would let a cake sit around for weeks. Just sayin’.

This cake makes a great gift, especially since it can be made ahead! Now, if you want the original short-cut “cake mix” version from the newspaper, here it is:

1 package yellow cake mix
1 3.4-ounce package (dry) instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup dark rum

Follow all the above instructions for mixing, baking, and glazing.

But I really hope you try my homemade Drunken Rum Cake because it’s just better!

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. ChaoticMom says:

    Oh Suzanne, I think you can read minds! My husband was looking through my Mom’s cookbooks and found a recipe for rum cake and it reminded me of how she would bake them at Christmas time when we’d have big parties. The cookbooks got put away again after Thanksgiving, but I kept thinking about that rum cake, and now you have given us your own home made recipe! I am definitely going to make this one! Now I know what I’m giving my in-laws! :thumbsup: They’re impossible to buy for, but I know they’d LOVE one of these. And I’m baking one for my husband’s and my friends when we finally figure out a time we can all get together.

    Now I get to go shopping for rum! Yay! :snoopy: 😆

  2. TeresaH says:

    Does the cake and glaze taste like rum? Do you have to use rum or can you substitute with something like amaretto or disarono?

  3. Biddy says:

    Hmmm rum… I’m not allowed rum anymore after an unfortunate incident in October. I personally blame the pineapple juice mixer… but innocent bystanders have a different take on it. So no Drunken Rum Cake for me.

  4. Kathryn says:

    Yum! That looks wonderful!

  5. Leah says:

    what a pretty cake. Does anyone know how long an opened bottle of Rum is good for? Not sure if mine is still good. Guess I could just buy more for Eggnog and to try this cake out with. :wave:

  6. Heidi533 says:

    Oh Suzanne, you are a girl after my own heart. RUM! How do you think this cake would be with really dark spiced rum? I have a bottle of Captain Morgan Tattoo sitting in the pantry just begging to be used up.

    • mamawolf says:

      One thing I forgot in last post: Becareful how you transport this cake. The first time I took it to work I left it in the care until time for the party. The whole care smelled like rum. Hate to get pulled over and get a ticket for driving while intoxicated LOL. :fairy:

  7. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I think this would be great with a spiced rum or other alcohol, too. I’ve thought about trying it with orange liqueur!

  8. beekudzu says:

    Ooooh, orange liquer would be yummy! You know, sometimes you make me think I might could possibly one day maybe learn to cook. (I’m still practicing on Grandmother Bread, but I think I know where I went wrong.)

  9. Heidi says:

    This is a recipe I could be happy with! even if its alcohol induced happiness! 😆 We are a ‘dry’ house, so can you tell me if you can by small, small, small bottles of rum?
    How much snow do you have? We are getting :weather: right now and it is about 15 outside. Yesterday it was -13 when I got up at 4:00 and only warmed up to 6 above until last night.

  10. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Heidi, yes, you can buy small bottles of rum, but also I’ve been thinking of trying this with juice. I don’t see any reason the alcohol couldn’t be replaced with orange juice or pineapple juice, etc, and that sounds really yummy, too!

  11. Blaze says:

    To qoute Captain Jack Sparrow
    “But, why is the Rum gone?”

  12. Tidymom says:

    Oooh, this sound DELICIOUS!!! I have to take a dessert to a party on the 21st – I think I just figured out what to make!!


  13. Kari says:

    My Mom made this cake when I was young and it was so good! Now I have to go and make a rum cake!

  14. MARY says:

    :butterfly: YUM!!!!!! I haven’t had rum cake since Clement’s Bakery in D.C. closed down. Hands down, the best rum cake in the city. It was fun just going down there to pick it up. This was a famous bakery where most of the presidents got their cakes and pastries. I miss it! I will undoubtedly make this cake for gifts, and one for myself! The homemade version, of course. I can’t wait to try it!!! :purr:

  15. Robin G says:

    Eeeeee. That looks really good.

    I have a friend who got so trashed on rum last year that we nearly took him to the hospital to have a charcoal smoothie. He hasn’t touched it since. Would it be mean or hysterical to give him a slice of this cake?

  16. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    Thank heavens someone still drinks/uses rum – this post took me back to my college days! I thought then the only thing rum was good for was to enhance a Coke – wow! And to think we could have been baking cakes in the dorm kitchen!!! :catmeow:

  17. Rose says:

    The recipe I have calls for finely choped nuts to be sprinkled on the bottom and sides of the cake pan. This is my daughter’s favorite.

  18. Katy says:

    Oh my. Now I know what I’m making for Christmas gifts.

    Let’s see, one for my mom, one for my step-mom, one for my boss, one for . . . . .

    I’m gonna need more rum!

  19. Tressa says:

    Is that a technical kitchen utensil term?
    Becuase, I use hair doohickey’s for my daughters pony tail holders. I’m confused. Maybe too much rum…

  20. SkippyMom says:

    mmmm One of your better looking recipes ….so yummy looking!

  21. Shelley says:

    How funny! I just made this same exact cake yesterday. I fully believe in testing the rum while making this recipe. It might be bad, who knows?

  22. Jenny says:

    Well, this looks like a great excuse to visit the liquor store! I needed some kind of dessert recipe to take somewhere soon and think I will try this. I had to pause momentarily when you said it would keep for weeks in the fridge, though. First, I wondered what kind of person kept a cake around for weeks! And second, I secretly had my doubts about how good it could be if it managed to sit in the fridge for weeks…

  23. Kris says:

    I have been making this one for years – but the cheater, cakemix version. I will definitely give your homemade version a go around!
    Thanks Suzeanne.

  24. Suzanne McMinn says:

    My mother somehow manages to keep hers around for weeks and it stays moist–because of the rum glazing going into the cake–and it actually does get better. The flavor gets stronger.

  25. Suzanne says:

    It looks just like the one my mom makes. It is so so good.

  26. Treasia/TruckersWife says:

    My family has made rum cake for years. It’s a special treat on the holiday’s. My mom seems to average about 10-15 cakes each Christmas. :hungry: We love them and somehow Mom does manage to let them sit for weeks before giving them out as gifts.

  27. Susan says:

    Suzanne, that recipe sounds and looks marvelous! I think my favorite part might be testing the rum. :thumbsup:

  28. Diane says:

    I had to try this. I do not own a bunt pan. But I am useing 2 small cake pans. If this turns out as good as yours look I will take one into work tomarrow and share with the girls!! Plus its cold wet and raining out today. A great day to make a cake, drink rum. And make the guy at the state store go hmmm. This woman looks a wee bit lost. lol. Yep that happen. Its nice they keep the smaller bottles of booze behind the counter. Such a nice man to help me out after I told him why I wanted the darn stuff. But if this cake is as good as you claim. I might have to go buy a bigger bottle. A smaller one might yield 2 cakes. lol.

  29. Donna says:

    OHHH my my my…how I enjoy Rum cake, rum ice cream (Haagen Daz Rum Raisen – now there’s another idea for ya, Suzanne…Rum ice cream!!! LOL)…that looks Scrumptious. My brother and his wife enjoy Rum cake too!!! I have to copy this recipe! YUM I also LOVE Bundt cakes. (like my Hannah nut cake on your forum)…I love the dark edges of a bundt cake…or maybe not DARK, but you know…darker. LOL
    I bet the farm animals would love a taste of this, out in that cold…I bet Clover would love it. LOL

  30. Winifred says:

    This sounds fabulous and I’d love to try it.

    Any advice about the (dry) instant vanilla pudding. I’ve never heard of this in the UK. Anyone got any ideas?

  31. Brandy says:

    OMGosh, that looks so good. I’m allergic to alcohol but wonder if I could use rum flavoring?

  32. catslady says:

    Seems like I have to go out and buy a new bundt pan – the one I owned was a teflon pan and it no longer teflons. Ages ago after it destroyed more than one cake I came up with just breaking it into smaller chunks and adding cool whip and voila!!

  33. RosieJo says:

    I think it might be rude of me NOT to make this cake, as just reading the recipe has helped put me in the holiday spirit!

  34. TeresaH says:

    Well, it looks like you’ll have to copy and paste that link since it didn’t copy right!

  35. Michelle says:

    I make similar cake just different liquor. I don’t have the patience for spooning the glaze over the cake, I learned you can just pour the glaze into the bunt pan and gently put the cake back in to soak up the yummy stuff!
    I was banned from making rum cake years ago when not understanding the directions called for 1 cup rum DIVIDED I added one cup to the cake AND one cup to the glaze! The family has never let me live that one down.

  36. SuzieQ says:

    Chopsticks make a great substitute for the “doohickeys”..this is great using almond liquer, too.. :flying: :flying:

  37. Mischelle says:

    After the rum cake I made when I was first married, my husband probably will not be too happy if I tried again. You could smell the rum before you saw the cake that time! :rotfl:

  38. Tidymom says:

    I have Captain Morgan – can I use that in this recipe?


  39. Ashley says:

    I tried this for my son’s Cub Scout Pack meeting/party today. It was a definite hit!

  40. MaryLundShu says:

    I can’t find any 7inch bundt pans but I can find 7 inch fluted tube pans (or angel food cake pans). Can I use those? I’ve searched online and can’t find any 7 inch bundt pans. Hmmmmmm….

  41. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Mary, you can use any pans! Just adjust your baking time if needed. I’m baking some for Christmas gifts in mini loaf pans!

  42. Juliagulia says:

    :woof: My cake is baking as I type. I can not wait to taste
    the finished product. Confession: I licked the spoon before
    washing up the mixing bowl…..yummy!

  43. TJ says:


    I’ve never made a cake where I dumped everything in and mixed…i usuall cream butter and sugar…u know the drill 😆 I’m a little scared, but I trust you!

  44. mamawolf says:

    This is also good made with spiced rum, which of course you must test several times. I have made this numerous times over the last 20+ years, but always with purchased cake mix. Now I can do away with the preservatives and other strange items in the mix and the cake will be even better. What did I ever do before finding CRitR!

  45. Edeltress Wallace-Stevens says:

    Just wanted to say that I will be trying this recipe, simply because of the way it was illustrated. I enjoyed reading the directions. I will post later after I have made it. Be Blessed.

  46. cullen says:

    :snowman: My boyfriend bought clear Rum, can I use that for the cake? It looks so good.


  47. cullen says:

    Thank you so much.


  48. Patty Mullins says:

    I made this cake and it was awesome, the only rum I had was Whalers vanilla flavored rum, it was so good, to me it tasted just as good as Tortuga Rum Cake that you buy in the carribean.
    Thanks for sharing.

  49. Beverly Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made about 20 of them a couple of days ago, and passes them out to friends and family. I feel an affinity with your Mom as I too am a pastors wife 🙂 Anyway, one of my friends at work told me that she and her hubby had marital discord last evening as they fought over who was getting the most! I guess that means it was pretty delish!

    Thanks again!

  50. Anita McFadden says:

    Hello Suzanne, I also want to know about mixing everything at once. Is this the key or can I do it the step by step way of creaming first. Will it come out the same. just curious.I plan on making it Friday.

  51. snobound says:

    Tortuga is my favorite Rum cake, but this one looks worth a try. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Paige says:

    I have been searching for a great recipe for about an hour and I chose to try yours out (this weekend) because I am aesthetic & your looks the BEST! The 2nd reason is that I like that you too use words like “doohickey” and I just think your method is simple,yet 100% from scratch.

    This will be my very 1st cake (don’t worry, I’m 41yrs old so I am of age, lol). I will come back to let you know how it turned out.

    Your camera quality is amazing!

  53. TeresaJM says:

    Hysterical post! I’m having this for dinner tonight along w/Italian Pepper & Beef Pie
    Thanks Suzanne!

  54. TeresaJM says:

    well now — no vanilla pudding — so I’m doing chocolate! More to follow…..and maybe not

  55. TeresaJM says:

    Into the oven it goes – not sure how the cake might taste; but the batter is geally rood!

  56. TeresaJM says:

    turned out quite nicely – smooth, pretty soft chocolate look and taste.

    The Italian Pepper & Beef pie was quite good, too.

  57. Trishanne50 says:

    I have been searching the web for a really great rum cake recipe. This one looks good and sounds really great. I’ve never made a rum cake before, but I am going to try this one for Thanksgiving.
    I love your site.

  58. Trishanne50 says:

    I tried this cake for the first time. I never made a rum cake before. The way the recipe is written for this cake it looks like you add 1 1/2 cups milk instead of 1/2 cup milk. Also, I figured it out that you use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract instead of 1 1/2 teaspoon. I will have to make this cake over and I hope it turns out better now that I know exactly the right measurement of milk. I will let you know how how it turns out. I’m making this for Thanksgiving.

  59. MollyinMN says:

    This was a yummy recipe. After searching and reading a few I opted for this one because 1) made from scratch option and 2) your humor.

    In addition to the “glaze” I made a rum frosting. I mixed powder sugar, scant of milk, butter until melted then a little more rum. Coated the cake with this ummm frosting I guess.

    The cake was drunk for sure.

    Thank you for sharing!

  60. Jackie says:

    It’s in the oven! And it already smells amazing! It’s for my grandmother though so I only get to try it if she feels like sharing… I hope she does! :snoopy: (maybe i tasted a little too much of that rum)

  61. juliaelese22 says:

    I just made this cake last night, with slight variation (cause, duh, everyone cooks differently) but it turned out really well! Thank you for your delicious recipe! :hungry:

  62. MsMaxx says:

    This is a great recipe. I like that you converted it to a from scratch version. I made this and took it to work for my co-workers and it was a huge hit. Everyone liked it. Thanks so much.

  63. nanaK says:


    I do this same cake but use a different “Spirit” source.
    Try it with Bailey’s Irish Cream, sometime.
    * A very Merry Christmas to You & Your Family.

  64. fanniesgirl1971 says:

    Can you use the Swans Down cake flour?

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