Totally from Scratch Rum Cake

This rum cake is made completely from scratch – there’s no pudding or cake mix involved and it’s even more delicious! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat pastry flour for a 100% whole grain version (that doesn’t taste whole grain!)

Totally From Scratch Rum Cake |

I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to start trying to eat healthy on January 1. I thought that we might as well go out with a bang, right? This cake is not the least bit healthy. It’s full of sugar, butter and rum. You can make it whole grain if you like, but really, I think healthifying this thing is a lost cause. You could also use coconut oil instead of butter, but somehow that doesn’t sound as amazing as butter rum cake, does it?

The special thing about this rum cake, other than being the most awesome rum cake ever, is that it’s completely from scratch. Most rum cakes call for cake mix and pudding mix. Neither of which I have access to here in Germany. I remember a few years ago, I spent hours looking for a scratch rum cake recipe. No luck. But Always Order Dessert has solved that problem! Now the whole world can enjoy rum cake. :)

Totally From Scratch Rum Cake |

I made this cake for a birthday party, a birthday party I wasn’t even going to, and it smelled so unbelievably amazing that I had to cut into it. And then I cut into it some more. And then we just cut the cake into slices, made some whoopsy-I-ate-most-of-the-cake-brownies and Mr. Texanerin brought a few cake pieces to the party.

This cake is so ridiculously boozy. Some folks don’t like a strong alcohol taste in their goodies. Not me. I want my cake to be swimming in booze. And this thing is SO moist. I suppose that’s not too surprising considering the amount of butter that goes into it. In addition to what’s in the cake, you also make a butter rum syrup, poke holes in the cake, and then you pour the syrup all over it. See. Swimming. :)

Totally From Scratch Rum Cake |

One thing to note is that this cake will not appear to have that crunchy sugar layer if you follow directions properly. The first time I made it, I poured the butter rum syrup over the cake as I should have. The second time, I made the rum syrup and let it sit in the fridge for a week before I had time to make another cake. After I had made the cake, I reheated the syrup quickly in the microwave until it was melted. But it was still a bit crystallized. I thought, whatever, and poured it over the cake anyway. That was a bad decision. So make the syrup and then immediately pour it over the cake. The pictured cake also has walnuts in it. You can toss some chopped ones in if you like, but I thought that they just distracted from the good stuff.

The original recipe calls for homemade pudding mix. The homemade pudding mix yields 2 1/2 cups and you only need one cup for the cake recipe. I didn’t want any pudding mix leftover, so I didn’t bother making it. I just added some more sugar, cornstarch and some milk powder. Worked out just fine!

Seriously, people. You have to make this. After the first bite, I declared it the best thing I had ever eaten. And it still holds that #1 position!

Totally From Scratch Rum Cake |

And I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! We celebrated with a John Hughes + other assorted high school / college movies marathon. And please excuse my extended unintentional blogging break. I’m still working on Mr. Texanerin’s Christmas present, but I’m making myself get back to blogging because it’s been way too long! My gift is something crafty and I hope to make a post about it next week.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays, everyone! This cake would be a huge hit at a New Year’s Eve party (or any party, except perhaps a children’s party). Just sayin’… ;)

Totally from Scratch Rum Cake

Rated 5.0 by 6 readers
Totally from Scratch Rum Cake
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 12-15 servings



  • 1 3/4 cup (219 grams) all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup (1.2dl) non-fat or whole-milk dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (.9dl) cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 112 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (388 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (160ml) canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) dark rum (recommended: Tortuga Rum)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Rum Syrup:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 112 grams) butter
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 3/4 cup (166 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dark rum


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C). Spray a 12 cup bundt pan, very well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, dry milk powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set this aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the dry flour mix to this. It will resemble crumbs.
  4. In the bowl that just had the flour mix, whisk together the canola oil, milk, eggs, rum, and vanilla extract. Add this to the crumb mixture and beat until well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. When there are about 15 minutes remaining on the timer, start the butter rum syrup. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter, water, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the rum (it'll bubble).
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack. Wash and dry the bundt pan and place the cake back into the pan. Poke holes into the cake (I used a meat thermometer to do this) and pour the syrup slowly over the cake. Can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Adapted from Always Order Dessert's Rum Cake

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58 comments on “Totally from Scratch Rum Cake” — Add one!

  • Larissa
    January 1, 2015 @ 10:12 pm

    I have informally dubbed this the “New Years cake” – because it is beautifully tasty, festive, and boozie! We just had it last night and I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, this or the champagne.
    I had to make some changes out of necessity, since I did not have all the ingredients in house and was not going to head out on new year’s eve.
    I swapped the powdered milk portion for two packets of Carnation instant breakfast (once baked you only really taste but a wonderful hint of chocolate), 2% milk, and sprouted spelt flour because I had it from our CSA portion and not enough flour. The texture was a bit course or grainy but came out golden, moist on the inside, and crispy in the outside. Because of the slight difference in texture created by the spelt flour, I doubled everything in the syrup portion except for time and a half of the rum.
    IT WAS MAGNIFICENT! Thank you so much for this!

    • Erin replies to Larissa
      January 3, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

      I’m thrilled that you liked it so much! That’s great that spelt works here. Was it whole grain spelt? And I love how you doubled most of the syrup. That must have been a very, very moist cake. :D Thanks a bunch for your feedback and I hope you’re enjoying the new year. :)

  • Rachel
    August 24, 2014 @ 3:54 pm

    I just made this cake for at least the fourth time. I will be serving it as a dessert for the brunch I’m having. (I believe in dessert after every meal!) Everyone that has tried this loves it… even my two year old! I don’t think there’s anything to worry about since the alcohol should all be cooked out of it. I do love your orange juice suggestion and will have to try that sometime. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is my go-to for rum cake (WAY better than the box cake recipes) and I will be passing it along to my friends and family.

    • Erin replies to Rachel
      August 27, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

      Hi, Rachel! Sorry for my slow reply. I just got back from a vacation where the hotel had internet issues. I’m so happy that everyone enjoys the cake! And I believe in dessert after every meal, too. ;) By the way, my parents gave me rum cake as a child so I definitely don’t see a problem with it! Thanks so much for the feedback and the rating. :)

  • Marjie Bass
    August 22, 2014 @ 12:51 am

    My cake is deliciously soaking in the rum syrup! I made it for a friend’s birthday this weekend. He is not crazy about sweets but I am sure he will live this rum soaked goodness!

    • Marjie Bass replies to Marjie Bass
      August 22, 2014 @ 12:52 am not live!

    • Erin replies to Marjie Bass
      August 22, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

      I hope he’ll love it! And with all that booze, how could he not? ;) Happy birthday to him and thanks for the feedback!

  • Shawna Kimbrough says
    July 11, 2014 @ 9:54 am

    I LOVE this cake. It was full of liquor, moist, and amazing. I made a little extra syrup and used almost all of it I thought I drowns it but it was perfect. My new fav

    • Erin replies to Shawna Kimbrough
      July 13, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

      Wow! You made even more syrup?! I’m impressed. :) So happy that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback. :)

  • AussieGal says
    May 8, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    Hi i LOVE the rum bit :D What can i swap the rum with to make for little kiddies? To keep the moist part of it too. Dont think i’d be a great aunty if i got my cousins drunk :p Im thinking of honey but what else would i use..?

    • Erin replies to AussieGal
      May 8, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

      Haha. I like how you think. :) I wouldn’t use honey in place of all the rum just because it’d be way too sweet. How about making it an orange flavored cake and using orange juice? I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure if it’d work but at least it sounds good. :) I hope you and your cousins will like it!

  • Devin says
    April 18, 2014 @ 6:53 am

    I just made this cake and it smells wonderful!! I just hope all the syrup is absorbed. At the moment the cake is floating.. I’ll wait overnight and see what happens. .

    • Erin replies to Devin
      April 19, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

      That’s normal! The cake should be floating at the beginning. I hope you enjoyed it! :)

  • Launta says
    April 3, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

    Erin, I’m looking forward to making this cake today. Rum cake was my mothers absolute favorite (deceased 11/2012)and have been looking for a home made from scratch recipe to make in her honor for our family monthly dinner. I will let you know how it goes :) la.

    • Erin replies to Launta
      April 3, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

      I hope that you and your family will love the cake! If rum cake was your mother’s favorite, I know she’d have loved this scratch version. My mother also made rum cake often but her version uses a cake mix. I much prefer this version and hope you all will, too. :)

  • Gina says
    February 21, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

    Everything was delicious but the cake itself was a bit heavy.
    The rum and the syrup and the moistness of it all was amazing. I had to ply myself away from the cake this morning (I made 2- 1 for a party and 1 to keep at home).
    The quantity of syrup made form the recipe was too much though.

    • Erin replies to Gina
      February 23, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

      I’m happy that you liked the cake and I hope the people at the party liked it, too! :) I’ll have to make this again to see about the syrup. Perhaps I went overboard with it. ;) Thanks so much for the feedback!

      • Gina replies to Erin
        February 26, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

        The people at my party LOVED it. My uncle said “Gina that cake tasted good can you please send a copy of the recipe to my wife, but just incase please make it again to ensure it is the correct recipe you are giving her”. (ie make the cake again for me!)

        Both cakes disappeared very fast. I made one and a half times the recipe but next time I will have to double or triple it.
        I did use most of the syrup but it took me awhile to pour it on and I had to leave the cake overnight for the liquid to be properly absorbed.

        I love making stuff from scratch as my mom was never a fan of overly processed or canned foods growing up. So thank you, not many recipes out there have it without the store bought vanilla pudding.

        • Erin replies to Gina
          February 27, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

          Hahaha. Sneaky uncle! I’m happy that he liked it that much. :D Be careful with tripling the recipe. It can get a little tricky with baked goods sometimes! And I agree about the pudding thing. This was adapted from the only recipe I found online that didn’t have a pudding or cake mix! Thanks again for your feedback. :)

  • Cory
    February 13, 2014 @ 3:40 am

    Hi, the crystallized sugar is what made me click! I can’t wait to try this one for Valentine’s Day! Thanks ;)

    • Erin replies to Cory
      February 13, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

      I hope you’ll like it! :)

  • Mary
    November 28, 2013 @ 4:49 am

    Erin, THANK YOU so much for your delicious Rum Cake recipe. I asked my son and my grandson what dessert they would like for tomorrow (Thanksgivng). Rum Cake was the unanimous choice. Yours looked so good I thought I would try it. I made one from another recipe for the Fall Festival. This on far surpassed it!!! Looking forward to more of your recipes. Thanks again! Mary

    • Erin replies to Mary
      December 4, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

      Hi, Mary! So sorry for the slow reply. I’ve had a bit of a comment issue. I’m happy that you liked the cake! Your son and grandson must have been thrilled to get a rum cake for Thanksgiving. I know I would have been! ;) Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Youbin
    September 29, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    I’m so excited to make this! This will be my first bundt cake and I’m shopping for a pan. Do you think this would work?: If so, would the rum syrup keep the two sides stay together? Hope you can help me! Thanks!!

    • Erin replies to Youbin
      September 29, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

      I think it would work but I’m not positive since I haven’t tried it! And that’s a cute pan. Let me know how it goes and good luck. :)

  • Anonymous says
    April 25, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

    I wondered if you think brown sugar could be used in the "glaze."

    • Erin replies to Anonymous
      April 25, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

      I don't see why not. It would definitely taste a little different. More like brown sugar and less like rum. Good luck! :)

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles says
    January 4, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    Holy, this looks decadent! My mother in law makes an incredible boozy chocolate cake but my hubby doesn't do chocolate cake. I'm thinking he would love this :D Forget him though, I think I would love this :D

  • FromBLCK says
    January 3, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    Erin, thank you so much! we made THE rum cake over the holidays, and it's indeed the best thing. We wish we had a proper bundt pan though, since we ended up with sooo much batter, and had to use a banana-bread baking pan plus about 10 muffin forms. Plenty of rum cake:) absolutely loving it. Check out how ours turned out:
    Happy New Year!

    • Erin replies to FromBLCK
      January 3, 2013 @ 10:54 am

      Hi ladies! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. I was ecstatic to get your comment! Not only because you made it, but because only a few people actually saw this post that I thought it'd quickly be forgotten and never enjoyed by anyone. So thank you! And thank you as always for your feedback. I really appreciate it! Going to check out your post now. :)

  • says
    December 31, 2012 @ 12:06 am

    I can't say I've ever had an experience in which I ate the cake I made for someone else's birthday, so I suppose that means that this cake is extra delicious – it sure looks that way! I'm not normally a fan of boozy cake, but I might just make an except for this one!

    • Erin replies to
      January 3, 2013 @ 11:30 am

      Well, it wasn't like a birthday cake. Just something extra as part of the present. :) So she got brownies instead! And if you're not a fan of boozy cake, then maybe this isn't for you. It's the booziest cake ever! But I admire your openness to this cake. ;)

  • MadKatFever says
    December 30, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    Sally, Perhaps if you provided me with your address and preference I just might ship you a box or two of Chex cereal. Re: Puppy chow

    • Erin replies to MadKatFever
      December 30, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

      Hi! I think you meant this for me because Sally has tons of Chex cereal. :) That is such an incredibly lovely offer but unfortunately it's very expensive to send packages over here. I'll be in the US in June and I will most definitely pick up a few boxes then because I can't wait to make puppy chow! I've never had any version of it and seeing it everywhere on the internet drives me a little crazy. Thank you again for your extremely kind offer! I was actually taken a little aback. Thank you and may you have a wonderful new year!

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction says
    December 30, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

    going out with a bang. YES indeed. Kinda like my peanut butter brownies today Erin. I onestly do not think that I've seen a more moist or soft or buttery cake recipe ever – I want to reach right through the screen! I freaking LOVE rum cakes!

    • Erin replies to sally @ sallys baking addiction
      December 30, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

      Oh, thank you! And yes. This is the rum cake recipe to end all rum cake recipes. Soooo buttery and moist. And I love your enthusiasm. Thank you. :)

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks says
    December 30, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    The fact that you want your cake to taste like booze and have it be front & center and not in the background – yes!!! I made rum cake balls about 2-3 yrs ago for a post based on a recreation of rum cake my hubs and I ate in Grand Cayman. We ate enough cake to get tipsy – now that's plenty of cake :) But it WAS pretty strongly doused in rum. I love everything about this cake from the moistness to the rum glaze to the butter!

    • Erin replies to Averie @ Averie Cooks
      December 30, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

      Ooh, I definitely need to check those out! Rum cake balls. I've never actually made cake balls but rum cake balls sound worth trying!

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says
    December 29, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

    That rum syrup sounds buttery and delicious, perfect for a bundt!

    • Erin replies to Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles
      December 30, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      I still have some left in the fridge but I don't know what to do with it. It's just not the same without the cake. ;)

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    I had a similar story with a bund cake for Christmas last year. In the end I had to bake another one :D Rum cake sounds wow. I do like rum :D Happy New Year to Mr and Mrs Texanerin!

  • JulieD says
    December 29, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    That's so funny that the cake went from a cake to several pieces for the party…sounds like something I would totally do!! We had a nice Christmas and hope you did too!! xoxo

    • Erin replies to JulieD
      December 30, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

      Haha. Well I *had* to try it. How does one know if it's sendable unless you try it?!

  • Angela AnotherBitePlease says
    December 29, 2012 @ 4:04 am

    hahaha swimming in booze…the perfect cake to end 2012…or begin 2013 eating a slice with a glass of bubbly :-)

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:06 am

    Baaahhh this looks so awesome!!

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says
    December 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    I can't get over how moist this looks. Sounds so good!

  • says
    December 28, 2012 @ 5:58 am

    Holly smokes this cake for sure is using butter and sugar ;-) Well why not? It is the end of the year, is not like you bake like that all the time, plus indulging once in a while is perfectly ok. Just don't eat the cake all at once ;-) and you are right, I don't think there is any point in making this cake healthy! Merry Christmas and happy new year!!

    • Erin replies to
      December 28, 2012 @ 9:55 am

      Oh no, you caught me being naughty. :D I feel like I've been caught! And if Sonia sees this, I'll feel like I'm really in trouble. :) I'm kind of sick of sweets so I have no desire to eat the entire second cake. Happy New Year to you, too!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says
    December 28, 2012 @ 12:37 am

    So glad you went out with a bang because I am definitely going to try and squeeze this in before 1/1! And no, I'm not sharing.

  • Becca says
    December 27, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

    This cake looks absolutely delicious! Why must all desserts with alcohol look so dang good? I mean come ON. Not fair. :P

    • Erin replies to Becca
      December 28, 2012 @ 9:51 am

      You're with family right now, right? So make it for them! I'm sure they'll fully support your decision to make this cake + provide you with the alcohol. :D

  • london bakes says
    December 27, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    This cake sounds incredible Erin, definitely worth splurging on!


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