This rum soaked cake is a decadent celebration cake for any occasion! And it doesn't skimp on the rum -- we're using richly flavored Jamaican dark rum in the cake batter, the butter rum syrup, and in a brown butter rum glaze on top!
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You all know my love for brown butter. I love it in everything. So when I decided to share a rum cake, my first instinct was to make it a brown butter rum cake! And let me tell you -- my instincts were NOT wrong! This Jamaican rum cake is supremely moist, dense yet soft, with a tender crumb. It's got dark Jamaican rum baked right in, it's infused with a brown butter rum syrup and then it's topped with a brown butter rum glaze. The flavors are out of this world!
This recipe is my first time making a Jamaican rum cake, and I have to admit that I haven't been a huge fan of it. I've definitely been a victim of a bad experience with a rum cake that, to my taste, had way too much rum and no other flavors to balance it out. So with this brown butter rum cake, I wanted to make sure there was a good balance of rum flavor, vanilla, and that amazing brown butter. That balance of flavors, along with choosing the right rum, goes a long way toward making this rum cake amazing!! You have to try it -- it will be a huge hit, and your loved ones will ask for it again and again, no matter the occasion.
Karibe™ Utensil Set
Karibe™ is a New Jersey-based company specializing in high-quality and innovative cookware and kitchen tools. They're also a black-owned company with strong roots in African and Caribbean cultures and culinary traditions. I'm so excited to be working with them, and you should definitely check them out!
I decided to share this Jamaican rum cake recipe to align with the Caribbean cultural influence of Karibe™, and I'm so glad I did! To make this brown butter rum cake, I used the Karibe™ 10-Piece Utensil Set. This high-quality set was a huge help making this cake and is perfect for any recipe you make! Each utensil has a silicone head, so it makes scraping batter and browned butter easier but doesn't scratch my cookware! Plus they look great, and since it's at 10-piece set it has all of the utensils you'll need, so they'll look nice and uniform on your kitchen counter!
- salted butter - I prefer salted butter in most baking because I find it brings out flavors more. If you prefer to use unsalted butter, feel free -- just add a couple pinches of salt to the batter to help bring out all the amazing flavors in this Jamaican rum cake.
- white sugar and brown sugar - together, they add sweetness to the cake, and the brown sugar gives it a rich, caramely flavor.
- eggs - the eggs in this rum cake add to the lift of the cake and make it a little more rich.
- pure vanilla extract - it's crucial to use pure vanilla extract in this recipe -- besides the rum, the strongest flavor is vanilla, and they work so perfectly together! Be sure to use a good vanilla extract that has a strong vanilla flavor -- I like this one.
- room-temperature sour cream - I love using sour cream in cakes because it helps to keep the cake moist and add a tangy flavor. Be sure to use full-fat sour cream.
- spiced dark rum - whatever kind you like to drink! See below for tips on choosing a rum for this recipe, as well as substitutions.
- cake flour - I like to use cake flour in this recipe to achieve a softer, more tender crumb. See below for a substitution if you don't have cake flour on hand!
- baking powder - helps the cake to rise.
Brown Butter Rum Syrup & Glaze: this will be divided to serve as both a syrup to infuse the cake from underneath and a glaze to drizzle on top!
- salted butter
- dark brown sugar
- spiced dark rum
- pure vanilla extract
- sifted powdered sugar
Best Rum for Rum Cake
I would definitely recommend a dark rum for this cake, such as Myers or Bacardi Black, but you can use any type of rum that you like. It should be a rum that you like to drink, that would go well in a sweet, fruity cocktail. The rum I chose to make this cake is Doctor Bird Jamaica Rum, a dark rum full of rich, fruity aromas blended from several Jamaican rums and aged in sherry barrels. Thanks to the strong flavors of this rum, this cake has subtle flavors of banana, mango, and pineapple! It's perfect for this brown butter rum cake and I highly recommend it.
Maybe you want to enjoy this Jamaican rum cake, but want to skip on the rum -- no worries! You've got options:
- rum extract + water: the total rum in this recipe is 1 cup, so just combine ½ cup of rum extract with ½ cup of water to total one cup of liquid. Taste to ensure the flavor you prefer, then divide as necessary for the recipe.
- homemade rum substitute: Cook's Illustrated has a great rum flavoring recipe that you can make at home with just water, raisins, butter, molasses, salt, and a tea bag! Check it out!
- fruit juice - swap pineapple juice, mango nectar, or orange juice for the rum in this recipe. The fruit juice will still add lots of flavor to the cake and balance so well with the brown butter and vanilla.
The most important tool you'll need for this recipe is a bundt pan! It should be a good quality, nonstick bundt pan to make sure that your cake can be easily removed. Other than that, you'll need either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, as well as a saucepan to heat your brown butter and a whisk to whip up your glaze. Gather those tools, together, and you're ready to make this amazing Jamaican rum cake!
Step by Step
This Jamaican rum cake has several steps, but each one is easy to follow and totally worth it! Here's what you'll do:
- First you'll cream your butter and sugars, then add eggs and vanilla.
- Whisk together your cake flour and baking powder.
- In another bowl, whisk together your rum and sour cream.
- Alternate adding in the sour cream mixture and the flour mixture to your main bowl, mixing until just barely combined after each addition.
- Prep your bundt pan, gently scoop batter into the pan, and smooth the top.
- Bake in your preheated oven about 50 minutes, then let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- While the cake is cooling, brown your butter and then add your water, brown sugar, and rum, and bring to a boil for 5 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring often. Stir in vanilla. Reserve ⅓ cup of this syrup for the glaze later!
- Once cake has cooled in the pan for 10 minutes, invert it onto a plate to cool another 15 minutes, then place it back in the Bundt pan.
- Poke deep holes in the cake with a skewer and pour remaining brown butter rum syrup over the holes.
- Cover cake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least two hours to cool and absorb the brown butter rum syrup.
- After at least 2 hours, invert cake onto a platter. Reheat your reserved ⅓ cup of syrup and whisk in powdered sugar. Pour over cake, allow glaze to set a bit, and serve!
Tips for the Best Rum Cake
How to to brown butter
The secret to this amazing Jamaican rum cake (besides the rum of course) is the brown butter! Brown butter is an easy hack to make all of your cakes, cookies, pies, and even savory dishes absolutely amazing! And in this cake, the brown butter perfectly complements the deep, fruity flavors of the rum, and the brown sugar and vanilla in the cake. But if you haven't browned butter before, not to worry -- first of all, I have a whole blog post on how to brown butter that details the process with step-by-step images.
But in a nutshell, browning butter just means heating it in a light-colored sauté pan or saucepan so that you can see the change in color of the milk solids. It takes about 5-10 minutes and requires you to watch the pan carefully and remove it from heat as soon as the butter turns a light golden brown and smells nutty. Again, check out my Brown Butter Appreciation Post for details on this process!
Prepping your Bundt pan
There are lots of different ways of prepping a Bundt pan, but results can vary wildly. What I've found works for me is brushing the pan with melted shortening and dusting with either flour or sugar. Sometimes flour can cause an uneven coloring to your cake (which I admit you might see in some of the photos of this cake), so if that happens for you, try dusting it with sugar instead! Just be sure to remove the cake from the pan 10 minutes after baking so that the sugar doesn't have time to cool.
Cake flour substitute
If you don't have cake flour on hand, don't worry! You can still achieve the soft, fluffy-yet-dense texture of this Jamaican rum cake. All you need is 1 ¾ cups (218g) all-purpose flour and ¼ cup (32g) of cornstarch (I like to measure by weight because it's easier and more accurate). Just whisk the flour and cornstarch together, and there you have it -- two cups of cake flour, ready to be added to this brown butter rum cake recipe!
This rum soaked cake recipe is essentially a pound cake infused with rum and brown butter, so if you like this one you will definitely want to try my key lime pound cake recipe. It's got the moist dense texture of any great pound cake with the tangy citrus and condensed-milk sweetness of key lime pie! It's so good and it's made in a loaf pan, so it's a very easy recipe!
I also definitely recommend checking out my brown butter banana cake. It's loaded with ripe banana flavor and topped with a brown butter cream cheese frosting that you could eat with a spoon! It's so good -- give it a try!
Another great recipe with similar flavors is my Pineapple Banana Bread -- it's got brown butter, ripe banana, and juicy crushed pineapple in every bite, and it's so simple to make!
Equipment you may need
- bundt pan
- 1 cup salted butter - room temperature; plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dark rum - Bicardi Gold or Dark Myer's rum, or your favorite kind
- 2 cups cake flour - (125g); plus more for dusting the pan
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place oven rack in middle of oven.
- Beat the butter in a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer until creamy. Add sugars and beat another 3 minutes.
- Add in eggs one at a time, then vanilla, beating until smooth and scraping sides of bowl after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour and baking powder. In another separate bowl, whisk together sour cream and dark rum.
- Add ⅓ of flour mixture to the batter and gently mix until just combined. Follow with half of sour cream mixture, and then another third of flour mixture. Continue alternating until both wet and dry ingredients are incorporated into batter.
- Prep your bundt pan by brushing it with melted butter or shortening and dusting with flour or granulated sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Let cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cake plate to cool for another 15 minutes.
Prepare Brown Butter Rum Syrup
- Brown ½ cup of butter in a light-colored saute pan, removing from heat as soon as it is lightly browned. (see note)
- Add browned butter, water, brown sugar, and rum to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and remove half of syrup and set aside for later.
- Carefully return cake to Bundt pan and poke holes all over the cake using a toothpick or skewer. Pour remaining syrup evenly over holes on the cake.
- Cover cake, still in Bundt pan, with plastic wrap and allow it to cool completely and soak up the syrup for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Once cake is done chilling, invert onto a cake plate. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat reserved syrup in the microwave for 30-45 seconds or until hot. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Pour warm glaze over cake.
PIN this rum soaked cake recipe for later!
Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Chenée Lewis