While the original vintage ads promoting the cake are shown here, you can also find the complete classic rum cake recipe in an easy-to-read, printable format, along with our exclusive photos that take you through the recipe step-by-step.
One bonus of this classic rum cake: It’s even better the next day, because the rum glaze really has a chance to sink in. The only problem is that so many people love this cake, you might not have any left after the first day!
And if you like this delicious dessert, don’t miss taking a peek at another version — the Chocolate Bacardi rum cake.
How to make the famous Bacardi rum cake: Now make it with regular or pudding cake mix
Article from the St Cloud Times (Minnesota) November 3, 1976
If you’re looking for a dessert that combines all of the best new ideas in cake baking and easy preparation, with foolproof results, try a Bacardi Rum Cake.
This exceptional cake is a pudding cake baked in a ring pan and flavored with Bacardi dark dry rum. You can get a really elegant cake with the addition of a little whipped cream topping, and the artful placement of pecan halves.
The recipe is easy. Just sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts in the bottom of a well-greased pan, and, after mixing all the remaining cake ingredients, pour over the sprinkled nuts. Then bake one hour. [The full recipe follows this vintage ad.]
Adding pudding mix to a cake recipe assures that your cake will be moist for days, so you can confidently bake one well in advance of a party, and cut down on last-minute preparations.
The real star of the recipe is Bacardi rum. A half-cup goes into the cake mix, and, although [most of] the alcohol in the rum evaporates during the baking, the delicious mellow flavor of the rum remains.
As a ring cake with a simple glaze topping, the Bacardi Rum Cake is adaptable to all kinds of uses. It is just right to offer mid-afternoon or early evening guests, and it makes a great snack for after lunch or at midnight.
And, if you’re planning a picnic, or are the one who has to provide the dessert at a potluck dinner, this cake will arrive just as moist and attractive as when you made it in your kitchen, and is sure to be a hit with everyone.
The rum cake ingredients
Clockwise from upper left: Cake mix, pudding mix, white sugar, water, eggs, pecans, vegetable oil, butter, and rum.
One important note: The original recipe from the 70s used an 18.5 ounce box of cake mix. Over the years, manufacturers have been slowly decreasing the weight of boxed cake mix, and now most are in the 15.25 ounce range, like these at Amazon.
For the recipe you see here, we chose to make the cake just as in classic recipe, despite the three fewer ounces of dry batter. Some people have recommended adding 5 or 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in place of the missing mix, but we thought it still turned out great.
Stir up the batter
Combine all of the ingredients by hand until thoroughly combined, but don’t overmix the batter. (Room temperature eggs are preferred — you can take off the refrigerator chill by running them under warm water.)
Add the pecans to the pan before pouring the batter
For this recipe, you can use a 10-inch tube pan or a 12-cup Bundt pan. Grease and lightly flour the pan, then line the bottom of the cake pan with your choice of nuts — typically pecans or walnuts are used.
You can scatter chopped nuts in a single layer, like we did here, or can try arranging them in a pattern at the bottom of the pan. (If you want to keep the pecan or walnut arrangement neat, you will need to take extra care when adding the cake batter on top.)
Pour in the cake batter mix
This batter is made with cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and — of course — the rum! Pour the cake batter over the pecans slowly and make sure it’s level in the pan, so the cake bakes evenly, and the pecans stay visible on what will become the top of the rum cake.
Bake it for one hour at 325 degrees F.
While the cake bakes, make the rum glaze
From left to right: 1) Melted butter with water and granulated sugar. 2) The mixture, boiled for five minutes while stirring constantly. 3) Remove the glaze mixture from the heat, and stir in the rum.
Here’s the baked cake, with the bottom on the top
Spreading the rum glaze on the inverted cake
After the cake is baked, let it cool, then invert it onto a serving plate or wire rack.
Prick the top of the cake, and drizzle or brush the rum glaze all over the top and sides. (Don’t forget the sides of the hole in the middle!) Be sure to allow it plenty of time to absorb the glaze, then repeat until the mixture is all used up.
Decorate or serve your rum cake as-is
The cake is now ready to eat and enjoy, and with its moist texture and delicious taste, any additions you choose should be primarily for decoration.
For instance, you may add whipped cream and halved pecans, or dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar and garnish with frosted or powdered fruit, such as grapes or cherries.
You can use whipped cream in dollops, like those seen in the vintage recipe ad near the top of the page, or make borders of whipped cream or frosting, just like they modeled in the 1970s magazine recipe page below. (We used white frosting, and piped it on with this decorating bag.)
Try a slice! (It’s a classic for a reason.)
The Bacardi rum cake: When people aren’t eating it, they’re talking about it (1976)
We’ve received so much mail from people all over the country, it seems safe to say that the only one who doesn’t like the Bacardi rum cake is the mailman! Here are some typical comments.
“Elegant flavor and out of this world texture.” – Greenwood, Arkansas
“It was quick to make…” – Austin, Texas
“Great! Moist! Tasty!” – Olean, New York
Fabulous. Have made three.” – Williamsport, Maryland
“Delicious party cake…” – Anaheim, California
“Excellent – gave recipe to friends. Now they’re all making it.” – Darien, Connecticut
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I love this cake. Question, can I make the small into the small Bundt cake? How long would I bake it?
I use to make this cake all the time back in the late 70’s and 80’s… we moved and my recipe was lost…… I just found this recipe and I’m thrilled!
It was in our newspaper and I cut it out of the paper….. I cannot believe I found this recipe again. It’s the best rum cake you’ll ever taste!
They no longer make cake mixes in the 18.5 oz size. So can you use the new size which is 15 oz. Size? Do you need to add anything to make up the difference? Thanks
I actually just buy two boxes of the cake mix to get the amount called for. Kind of annoying and wasteful but the cake has turned out perfectly both times I have made it. Hope that helps!
Made it tonight – every bit as good as I remembered!
Can you add blueberries and lemon – how much of each.I saw the receipe somewhere but have lost it.
I really enjoy the website Click Americana it brings joy and happiness to me 😀
This has been my Christmas go to since the 80’s. I recently moved and couldn’t find my original recipe card from the liquor store, and here it is!! I always use Duncan Hines Butter recipe cake mix. I use a stick of butter instead of oil and follow the rest of the directions. I have to make two! One for home and one for my hostess. Thank you for posting this and the information on the cake mix weight. I have successfully used the current box weight and liquids without comprising the end result.
I add candied cherries to the pecans on the bottom before baking. Once it’s done: I do a “soak” method for the glaze. I make the glaze while cake is cooking. When cake is done I leave it IN pan. Poke holes in cake bottom with a skewer. Slowly pour glaze over the cake (bottom). I leave it in the pan upside down overnight and the cake absorbs it. Next day: put it in a large bowl or sink of hot water for about 15 minutes to loosen it . Run another skewer (or plastic knife) around the inside of cake pan to loosen it. Remove from water bowl carefully. Place a large plate over pan bottom and flip it over. Oooohhh it is good!