I should be shot for posting this particular rum cake photo, but it is one of the 51 cakes I baked for the holidays, and it is completely right that I post the rum cake as the first recipe shared on these pages. You may think of me as “the rum cake lady”, having engaged in rum cake baking for the past 31 days of December, six cakes a day and then some. The recipe is the one I have most laid my metaphorical hands on of late (though the recipe just lives in my brain so no literal laying on of hands required). I have baked these cakes for the past 45 years and can honestly, always honestly, testify that this is a much-tried and well-trusted recipe.
A good rum cake is a beauty to behold, and, added bonus (!) if you are gifting the cake, just standing over it, wrapping the heavily foiled bundle with a glitzy bow, the cake still a few hours warm from the oven, is heavenly. I might venture as far to say that inhaling the aroma, for those few perfect minutes, is a form of meditation if you’re into that kind of thing. It smells that good (okay, fifty of them smell that good, cumulatively, for many days in a row), but experiencing even one of these beauties this way draws you back to baking another one.
Our family’s rum cake is quick and easy to prepare, with the baker’s success rate directly proportional to the number of cakes baked. The recipe, claims laid over who “saw it first” between mama and Aunt Lou, came from the Bacardi people over 50 years ago, and, to my knowledge, the recipe hasn’t changed since I baked my first one. The recipe produces a dense moist cake with a glazed top and sides; your family and friends will enjoy them any time of year, but there’s just something about a Christmas rum cake that has a way of shining up an already bright and beautiful season. Some friends slice them immediately and freeze them, two pieces in a Ziplock, to be quickly thawed when needed, other friends prefer eating their slices still half-frozen. With coffee. For breakfast. I like mine best left on the counter three days, the easier for picking up a slice while walking through the kitchen. No plate required. Shaun says using pistachio pudding mix turns the cake into a first cousin of Maui’s Takamiya Tiramisu. No shoes required for that version! Start a new tradition for enjoying this cake and make it your own.
Greer Family Rum Cake
1/2 cup pecans, chopped small
1 box Duncan Hines Supreme Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
1-(3 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Bacardi Light Rum
1/2 cup Wesson oil
Directions Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12” Bundt pan and sprinkle the pecans around the bottom. In large bowl, stir the cake mix and the dry pudding mix, add the water, oil, and rum. Crack the eggs into your bowl last and mix with electric mixer until batter is glossy, about 2″ on medium speed. Allow batter to breathe in bowl 5-7 minutes then scrape batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake exactly one hour.
GLAZE Ingredients and Directions Prepare 10 minutes before cake is finished baking. In medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup rum, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil then add 1 stick butter. Reduce heat and boil low for 5-7 minutes. When the cake is just out of the oven, poke deep holes all over it with the tines of a fork. Pour the hot glaze into a large glass measuring cup and slowly pour the glaze over cake. Use a spatula to gently pull the cake away from the sides of the pan and pour some of the glaze around the sides so it coats the sides, flowing to bottom of the pan and adding gloss to the top of the cake. Let the glaze sink in slowly then keep pouring until glaze is good and gone. Let cake cool in the pan for 50 minutes then invert onto your serving plate. Cover it tightly with a generous piece of heavy-duty foil tucking foil under edges of platter. You can also make this well ahead and freeze, tightly covered with the foil. On the day you want to serve it, take it out of the freezer and allow to thaw slowly. Never microwave this cake or you will end up with nothing but a puddle of rum and butter. Also do not refrigerate once it has been cut; just keep covered tightly with heavy foil on counter top or well- hidden from your hungry spouse and other family members.