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Rum Cake – Food of the Gods

OK folks – time for something special in the recipe section.  Behold – Grandma Goodwin’s famous rum cake recipe!  I have fond memories of eating multiple pieces of this cake and ending up in a punch drunk state of dessert bliss.  It’s light. It’s airy.  It’s moist with dark rum and dreams of the Caribbean.  It’s my Grandmother’s rum cake and it is to die for.

My grandparent’s owned and operated a Christmas tree farm in southern Indiana for the better part of 50 years up until the late 90’s.  I had the pleasure experience of working on said farm after my freshman year of college.  It was character building to say the least.  My job – shearing Christmas trees with a machete in the sweltering, humid heat of the Indiana summer.  Each morning I’d don my pine tar covered jeans and my catcher’s shin guard (to prevent me from cutting my leg open) and I’d go out in the fields to shear thousands of trees every day.  It was not a fun job.  But the good parts outweighed the bad.  I was treated to great country cooking every day and I was also in the best shape of my life.  This despite the fact that I was consuming copious amounts of things like biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, and of course…rum cake!

Any time my Grandmother would make this rum cake recipe my co-workers would clamor for it like they were Oompa Loompa’s after chocolate.  The cake is best made in a bundt pan but I’ve also made it as a sheet cake with success.  I like this cake served warm or heated up but it’s also terrific at room temp.  Hint – if you are camping and have one of these wrap a piece in foil and put it in the campfire for 5 minutes. Delicious!



  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package yellow cake (Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines works best)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding (make sure you get instant)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water – room temp
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (I use Myers)


  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark rum




  1. For teflon bundt pan – preheat oven to 300 degrees, for Pyrex or other sheet cake pan – preheat to 325 degrees
  2. Sprinkle pecans in pan
  3. Mix all cake ingredients at low speed until blended
  4. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes
  5. Pour batter over nuts in pan
  6. For bundt pan – bake for 60-65 minutes, for Pyrex or sheet cake other pan – bake for 50-60 minutes
  7. Test with toothpick for doneness
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes
  9. For bundt cake – place pan over dish and flip to remove cake from pan
  10. For sheet cake – leave in pan
  11. Prick cake all over with fork


  1. Combine all glaze ingredients above in saucepan
  2. Heat to melt sugar and butter
  3. Bring to boil and boil for 2-3 minutes stirring with whisk
  4. Let glaze cool 15-20 minutes
  5. Spoon glaze over cooled cake and let sit for 30-45 minutes to allow cake to soak up glaze

Depending on how hungry your guests are you can serve anywhere from 8-12 easily.

Total time to prepare = 1 hr 30 minutes. This is also a great holiday cake for home or parties.  Wow your family and guests with this most amazing rum cake recipe today and enjoy a midwestern family classic!

If you enjoyed this recipe then read more about food, farming and eating locally in Seattle by Jason Price at!