Butter Pecan Rum Cake is a rich butter cake topped with chopped pecans and soaked in a decadent rum butter glaze.
Based on the Original Bacardi Rum Cake, my Butter Pecan Rum Cake is rich like a pound cake and topped with pecans that toast as the cake bakes. A buttery rum glaze that soaks into the bottom and the top is what puts the "Holiday" in this amazingly moist, utterly delicious cake.
If you are a fan of the Original Bacardi Rum Cake or the famous 1-2-3-4 Cake you will love this cake even if you have never made it before. The ingredients are generally always available, it makes up easily, and the cake yields 12 to 16 slices.
Elegant but simple, there is nothing like a rum cake made with the best ingredients to set a festive mood during The Holidays and this cake never disappoints!
The Original Bacardi Rum Cake
In the late 1970s Bacardi launched an advertising campaign during the holidays for a rum cake with the slogan "Nice. And easy.". And this cake certainly is exactly that. So easy, in fact, that it became popular very quickly and has remained a favorite holiday dessert ever since.
The original recipe contained 9 ingredients of which 3 are key and a must-have for this cake; a boxed butter recipe yellow cake mix, instant pudding, and, of course, Bacardi Dark Rum. These particular ingredients are what made this cake so easy to make.
But sadly, one of the key ingredients, the 18 ½ ounce yellow cake mix is no longer made. Cake mixes today are 15 ¼ ounces and unfortunately, the recipe can no longer be made as originally written. You can make it only if you reduce the eggs... and the liquids... and the baking time...etc.
If only baking weren't so darn precise!
So, I have recreated the Original Bacardi Rum Cake, without the cake mix. I still add the instant pudding, which is key to getting that silky texture. But everything else is now a scratch ingredient and it is just as delicious as the original.
About This Butter Pecan Rum Cake
It's a 1-2-3-4 Cake
This cake is actually a variation of the famous 1-2-3-4 Cake, so named because its recipe contains 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, 4 eggs, plus some milk, leavening, and flavoring. It is a very rich cake similar to a pound cake and follows the rule of one teaspoon of baking powder to each cup of flour. And also like the pound cake, the recipe of the cake is also its name.
It is super easy to make just one swap to change a vanilla 1-2-3-4 cake into a butter rum cake. Simple substitute water and rum for the milk. Then to make this cake into the famous Bacardi Rum Cake I also added the instant pudding to create that famous texture and, of course, the pecan topping and Rum Butter Glaze.
The results are as fabulous as the original cake that contains a boxed cake mix and the additional time of measuring and sifting the cake, flour, sugar, and baking powder is less than 5 minutes.
I use the "All in One" Method
If you are an experienced baker you will recognize the method to make this cake is the All in One. This method of making a cake is to sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and then add the other ingredients all at once and beat vigorously until the batter is well mixed. Yes, I did say everything goes into the bowl at once!
Pretty much like a dump cake, right? Well, as it turns out the All-in-One method totally predates the dump cake by decades!
This method is so much faster and easier than using the creaming method and I love that it feels streamlined and less fussy.
Does this sound nice.... and easy? It sure is... So, let's cook!
Here's what you need to make this Butter Pecan Rum Cake:
For the Cake:
- Chopped Pecans - Finely chop the pecans. Then measure.
- Cake Flour - Cake flour gives that lovely soft texture to the crumb of the cake.
- White Granulated Sugar - This is the best sugar to use for this cake. Do not substitute.
- Instant Pudding - Instant pudding is the ingredient that makes the crumb of this cake silky and also adds a boost of flavor. Jell-O brand vanilla is the original flavor. But you can also use French vanilla, coconut cream, and even banana!
- Baking Powder - Always use aluminum-free baking powder to avoid an unpleasant aftertaste in your baked goods.
- Salted Butter - I prefer salted butter for this cake. If you use unsalted, please add ½ teaspoon of salt to the dry ingredients.
- Large Eggs - Choose eggs that have a soft delicious flavor. Vegetarian-fed hens lay the best-tasting eggs in my opinion.
- Vanilla Extract - Use any vanilla extract that has a good flavor.
- Cold Water - You must use cold water when mixing this cake. Only a few special cakes, like the Lazy Daisy Cake, use hot or scalding liquid when the batter is mixed.
- Dark Spiced Rum - You can use Bacardi. But over the years I have moved toward spiced and sipping rums to make this cake. Choose a rum you like, but don't use silver, or "colorless" rum. Darker rums have a richer flavor that complements the pecans and butter. See below for more information.
For the Rum Butter Glaze:
- Salted Butter - This glaze tastes better when made with salted butter. Do not substitute unsalted for it.
- Water - A small amount of water is needed to make the glaze.
- White Granulated Sugar - All you need is white sugar for the glaze.
- Dark Rum - Simply use the same rum you selected for the cake batter.
Please see the recipe card for the exact quantities.
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F/163°C. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
Sift together into a large bowl of a stand mixer the cake flour, white sugar, instant pudding, and baking powder.
Add the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cold water, and rum all at once and beat on very low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat the batter until it is well mixed and smooth about 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter over the chopped pecans in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. While the cake is cooling make the Rum Butter Glaze.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. While the cake is still in the pan poke long holes in the cake with a long thin skewer. A cake tester works great for this job. Slowly pour ¾ cup of the rum butter glaze over the cake and let the cake cool completely cool.
Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Poke long holes in the top through the pecans and through the sides of the cake. Drizzle and spoon the rum glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake in stages, letting the cake absorb the glaze before adding more. Brush any glaze that has pooled under the cake up and over the sides. Use all the glaze until the cake has entirely absorbed the glaze.
Make the Rum Butter Glaze:
In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat.
Stir in the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dark rum very slowly. The syrup will bubble up and could overflow if you pour too fast.
What Rum Should I Choose to Make Rum Cake?
Just like any spirit or wine, you should choose a dark spiced rum you like. For the last 12 or 15 years, I have made this cake with either Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum or Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Sailor Jerry has immediate notes of vanilla and lime zest, while Captain Morgan is soft vanilla all day.
But you can use any dark spiced rum you like, however, I would not use high-proof rums that will leave an astringent after-taste. My personal favorite this year is Captain Morgan Private Stock which is rich and smooth with soft baking spices. So, yes, a sweet sipping rum is outstanding in this cake.
My Top Tips
All of the ingredients must be at room temperature and it is very important that the butter is soft. This allows it to be beaten into the batter easily.
Pour, spoon, and spread the batter into the pan carefully so as not to disturb the chopped pecans. Run a knife carefully through the batter to remove air pockets and to make sure the batter fully fills the pan.
The Rum Butter Glaze needs to be warm and liquid for the glaze to easily soak into the cake. If the glaze cools before you can use it, the butter will separate. Simply warm the glaze in the microwave in 30-second bursts until the butter is melted again and whisk the glaze to mix it in thoroughly.
Although not required, a stand mixer cuts down the work time of mixing the cake batter. Mixing the batter by hand may take up to 15 minutes while the stand mixer does the same work in 5.
I have had the same Kitchen Aid Pro series mixer for about 25 years and love that it can handle heavy doughs and batters easily. Although it was expensive, I use it often and enjoy that it saves me time and effort in the kitchen.
Make-Ahead & Storage
This cake just gets better and better with time! So feel free to make it a full day before serving and store the cake in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
More Luscious Cake Recipes
Butter Pecan Rum Cake
- 1 Bundt Pan 12 Cups
For the Cake:
- 1 Cup Chopped Pecans
- 3 Cups Cake Flour
- 2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
- 1 Package Jell-O Instant French Vanilla Pudding, 3.4 Ounces
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder, Aluminum Free
- 1 Cup Salted Butter, At Room Temperature and Soft, (2 Sticks)
- 4 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Cold Water
- ½ Cup Dark Spiced Rum
For the Rum Butter Glaze:
- ½ Cup Salted Butter, (1 Stick)
- ¼ Cup Water
- 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
- ½ Cup Dark Rum
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/163°C. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet.1 Cup Chopped Pecans
- Sift together into a large bowl of a stand mixer the cake flour, white sugar, instant pudding, and baking powder.3 Cups Cake Flour, 2 Cups White Granulated Sugar, 1 Package Jell-O Instant French Vanilla Pudding, 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- Add the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cold water, and rum all at once and beat on very low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat the batter until it is well mixed and smooth, about 5 minutes.1 Cup Salted Butter, 4 Large Eggs, 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract, ½ Cup Cold Water, ½ Cup Dark Spiced Rum
- Spoon the batter over the chopped pecans in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. While the cake is cooling make the Rum Butter Glaze.
- While the cake is still in the pan poke long holes in the cake with a long thin skewer. A cake tester works great for this job. Slowly pour ¾ cup of the rum butter glaze over the cake and let the cake cool completely cool.
- Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Poke long holes in the top through the pecans and through the sides of the cake. Drizzle and spoon the rum glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake in stages, letting the cake absorb the glaze before adding more. Brush any glaze that has pooled under the cake up and over the sides. Use all the glaze until the cake has entirely absorbed the glaze.
Make the Rum Butter Glaze:
- In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat.½ Cup Salted Butter
- Stir in the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dark rum very slowly. The syrup will bubble up and could overflow if you pour too fast.¼ Cup Water, 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar, ½ Cup Dark Rum
Nutrition Per Serving
All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.