Friday, May 22, 2009

Only Enough To Act As A Preservative: Bacardi Rum Cake

Yesterday, I shared my love of the 9 x 13-inch pan. Growing up, all cakes were made in this venerable dish. My sister's must-have birthday cake (Lemon Jell-O Cake, which I'll post when I do the Fishwives cookbook) was always the friendly rectangle. It was only much later in life that I read the full recipe and realized that the cake was supposed to be baked in a Bundt pan. Today's recipe from The Fruit of the Spirit: 100th Anniversary of Bittinger Lutheran Parish says to use a Bundt, too -- but out of cakely familial loyalty, I'd be tempted to use the tried and true 9 x 13.
Bacardi Rum Cake
Linda Thomas


1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 sm. pkg. vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. Wesson oil
1/2 c. Bacardi rum


1/4 lb. butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. rum

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour tube or bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together over nuts. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top. Spoon or brush glaze evenly over top, allowing cake to absorb glaze. Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. *If using cake mix with pudding already in the mix, omit instant pudding, use 3 eggs instead of 4, use 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/2 cup.
Pudding: the great moisturizer of cake. I like the substitution hints here, as I bet they can be used for lots of other cake-doctoring recipes.

Some of you may not keep rum around the house. If you're one of those people, you might want to know how much, really, you need to buy. Well, a fifth of rum is 750 ml, which is about 25 ounces, or just over three cups. So, one regular-sized bottle of Bacardi is going to get you through this cake and two others (or this cake and several Cuba Libres). Should you go for a light rum, or a dark rum? I leave it to your personal tastes. If you don't think you have personal tastes when it comes to rum, then I suggest going for a light rum, so that your cake color is still light and lovely. You can up the amount of rum you use in the glaze (1/4 cup of rum brings more flavor to the cake than 1/4 cup of water, after all) if you want to have really rummy cake.

I remember my first rum cake (eating, not making). I was over at the Schrader's house, and Martha had made an apple rum cake. It was delicious, and I probably ate too much of it, especially considering that I was a kid. Remember: alcohol can cook out of dishes, and probably does cook out of the cake. However, it's NOT cooking out of the glaze. There's active, boozy rum here; do not serve to those who have medical, religious, or other reasons to avoid, well, Demon Rum.

Not to sound like a complete lush, but a rum cake (be it in a 9 x 13 or a Bundt) would be a great dish to take to your Memorial Day barbeque/picnic/potluck/what have you, if you're going to be around mostly-grown-ups. The pudding guarantees a moist cake, the Bacardi guarantees a delicious one.


  1. Holy moly. Remember how earlier today I was telling you about my grandmother's sherry cake?

    Yeah. This is the cake. Except no nuts. And no rum. Sherry.


    In all seriousness, BEST THING EVER. My sister and I CANNOT get through a holiday without it.

  2. JJ: That's great! So, I'd say take out the nuts, substitute chocolate cake mix (and chocolate pudding, if you want a death by chocolate effect), and (since you had burnination problems) use that 9x13 pan.

  3. JJ: And aren't you glad you told me that I should do this recipe today, and not one of the others?

  4. I am indeed! I think the 9x13 would be helpful (though sacrilege!), but I'm betting that my problem last time was bad rum-to-other-liquid ratio.