There’s a little story behind this rum cake….

I originally got the recipe from my friend Melissa Taylor who is an incredible baker even though she never eats dessert. That is will power that I simply do not possess.

Anyway, Melissa made this amazing rum cake and brought it to our house one evening a few years ago. After she gave me the recipe, we started calling it “Melissa’s Famous Rum Cake.”

A few months later, in the midst of the chaos in my life known as opera season, I made the rum cake for my friend Tim’s birthday.

That’s Tim on the right and our friend Abe lighting the candles. (And Andrea and Larry in the background.) Well, after tasting the cake, Abe started asking questions about the ingredients:  Is this made with cake mix and pudding? Is this the one with the melted butter and rum poured over the warm cake?

Yes. And yes.

Then he exclaimed, THIS is exactly like my Dead Nana’s Rum Cake!

Not my dearly departed grandmother’s rum cake. My Dead Nana’s rum cake.

That was two years ago and every year when I make the cake for the opera folks, we call it Dead Nana’s Rum Cake.

With apologies to Abe’s dearly departed granny, and my good friend Melissa, perhaps for a food blog we should change the name to FAMOUS Rum Cake.

Here’s what you need:

Butter Cake Mix, Vanilla Instant Pudding, Oil, Rum!, Water, Eggs, Butter, and Sugar.

Click here for a Famous Rum Cake Shopping List

Most of the time I’m all about making things from scratch, but when you can make a cake this good, this quickly, I say bring on the cake and instant pudding mixes. Add some booze! You can keep all of these ingredients on hand and have a cake ready to go in the oven in 5 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Where I implore you to take your time is in preparing the cake pan. You need to grease every little nook and cranny of a bundt or tube cake pan. I like to use Crisco but you could also use butter. Be sure to grease every interior surface, especially the tube in the middle. Even if you have a non-stick coating on your pan, I would grease it up anyway.

I wasn’t kidding about this taking 5 minutes to put together. You can use a mixer or simply mix by hand.

Dump the Butter Cake Mix into a large bowl and add 1 package of instant vanilla pudding.

Pour in 1/2 cup water,

1/2 cup oil,

and 1/2 cup rum. Whoohoo!

I’m using Bacardi Gold Rum which will make my cake bake up a bit darker. If you want a light cake, use white rum.

By the way, giving credit where credit is due, I think this recipe originally came from the good folks at  Bacardi Rum.

Add 4 eggs and mix the batter together.

Don’t forget to stop and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.

When the cake is well mixed, pour it into your greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

About 5 minutes BEFORE the cake comes out of the oven, melt 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water together in a medium sauce pan.

Bring the butter and sugar up to a boil, then turn off the heat and SLOWLY pour in 1/4 cup of rum. The rum will bubble up like crazy when it hits the other liquids so pour slowly and carefully.

When the cake is done, SLOWLY pour the butter rum mixture over the top of the cake. Some people use their wooden skewer to poke little holes into the cake but I’ve found that if I pour slowly, the butter rum mixture all runs down the sides and middle and soaks into the cake.

Rum cake soaked in butter and more rum.

Now for the hard part, let the cake rest and cool completely so that all of the rum and butter soaks in.

If you have the will power, this cake is even BETTER the next day after the rum and sugars have a chance to crystallize inside the cake.

Ridiculously good. Ridiculously easy.

Make yourself famous with a Rum Cake.

Here’s the recipe:

Famous Rum Cake

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9 Responses

  1. Can’t wait to make this cake and I know it will be known as Dead Nana Rum cake in my house too…famous Rum Cake…that name just can’t stand up to the other.

  2. I like the name “Dead Nana’s Rum Cake”…you know, just in case you have a living Nana….not to confuse anyone in the family!
    This does look ridiculously delish!

  3. This is our family’s favorite rum cake too. I actually have the original clipping my mom had from the Bacardi ad that had it. I’ve had other rum cakes and thought they were so disgusting. This rum cake takes the cake. And if it ever falls, just chop it up, layer it with pudding and fruit and YUMM…rum cake trifle!!!!

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