A Short History of Rum Cake
Rum Cake is a popular dessert on the islands of the Caribbean and in many Central and South American countries. Ultra moist and often studded with different dried fruits, it is a very popular part of holiday feasts.
In the 18th Century, British colonization of the Caribbean islands intensified. These colonists brought with them their recipes for steamed fruit puddings and fruit cakes. With the hot and humid climate of the Caribbean islands, local chefs and cooks had to get creative with preservation methods. As a result, both sugar and rum began finding their way into many local recipes. Thus the Rum Cake was born and it quickly spread to the surrounding Central and South American countries where many variations were created.
The popularity of Rum Cake in North America skyrocketed in the early 20th century with some help from the Bahamas. This was in large part thanks to the 18th Amendment passed in 1919 in the United States which prohibited the consumption and brewing of alcohol. With the Bahamas being so close to Florida, it became the ideal port for smuggling alcohol to the United States. As a result, both Bahamian Rum and the local version of Rum Cake began being served in American speakeasies. Suffice to say it was a firm favourite.
A good Rum Cake is a labour of love, many being months in the making as the various ingredients soak in the spirit for different periods of time. As such, the giving of a Rum Cake in the Caribbean is reserved for those you truly care about. Much like a carefully made Craft Rum. Now you can try your hand at making your own Rum cake with our recipe below.
1 cup (130g) finely chopped pecans
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
zest from 1/2 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120ml) Fyn Botanical Rum
1/3 cup (80ml) milk, at room temperature
Butter Rum Icing:
3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons (30ml) Fyn Botanical Rum
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
small pinch of salt (a bit less than 1/8 teaspoon)
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 177°C and grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Spoon pecans evenly into the bundt pan.
Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and orange zest together until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look curdled; it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin mixing on low speed. As the mixer runs, slowly pour in the rum and milk. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the batter is completely combined. Batter is thick.
Pour/spoon the cake batter evenly over the pecans.
Bake for 55-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don’t be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven. Mine always takes about 55 minutes.
Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 45 minutes to 2 hours inside the pan. Then, invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. (You can glaze and serve it while warm, or wait for it to cool completely.)
Make the glaze: Melt the butter with the rum in a small saucepan over medium heat. If using the microwave, melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the rum. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle warm glaze over cake before slicing and serving. Glaze quickly thickens and sets as it cools. If desired, serve with maraschino cherries.
Cover leftover cake tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.