My love for rum cake runs deep. If yours does this too, this is the cake for you. It’s hard to see in the photo, but this beauty is basically a toasted coconut macaroon in a cake pan – doused in rum. There is a strip of freeze-dried raspberries baked in it, but if you prefer pineapple this swap is really great too. Sometimes I leave out the fruit entirely and really let the rum take center stage. A dusting of powdered sugar before serving makes it pretty.
Fruit or no fruit? Which type?
You can see the fruit strips (raspberries) in the rum cake in the photos above and here below. I’ve been using a lot of freeze-dried fruit in baking lately because it’s incredibly intense, colorful, and devoid of the moisture that comes with fresh or frozen fruit. It works especially well in cookies, cakes, quick breads, crusts, etc. Not so good for fruity fillings, although as a percentage of the total filling you can use it as a boost or accent.
Rum cake add-ins
Aside from the raspberries, the recipe below is pretty simple, a great coconut rum cake canvas. From there you can get on in oh so many directions. Sometimes I add spices – a bit of Vietnamese cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg are always welcome. Grated macrut lime is amazing if you use freeze dried pineapple instead of the raspberries. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with adding citrus peel in general – lime, lemon, Meyer lemon, orange – or a mixture. All good. Final idea – how about a Dark ‘N’ Stormy rum cake? You could add dried ginger, candied ginger, and / or grated ginger. Along with the coconut? Yes, please.
What kind of rum makes the best rum cake?
As with most other recipes that contain alcohol, use wine (or rum in this case) and choose something to drink anyway. It should taste delicious. There are a number of types of rum to choose from on the rum front for this recipe. I like a good quality dark or flavored rum for this cake – the more flavor, the better.
Transfer the cake batter to the pan
I just want to say how I build this cake. I fill the baking pan two-thirds full with cake batter and then sprinkle the raspberries. Then I put the berries in with a fork and work them a little bit into the batter. Finally, cover with the rest of the batter (see below) and give the whole pan a few good hits on your counter. This will give you a nice, condensed strip of berries along the bottom of the finished rum cake. You can of course fold the raspberries under the batter along with the rest of the flour mixture so they’re more evenly distributed, but this version is my favorite.
How to apply the rum syrup
This cake itself isn’t huge, but it can hold a good amount of rum. In the photo below you can see my structure. That’s the cake hot out of the oven, just turned out of the mold. It is located on a grill grate that is arranged over a rimmed baking sheet. The rim on the baking sheet keeps spilled rum in the pan and off the counter. Be sure to spread the rum syrup all over the top, sides, and center of the cake.
Cake becomes rum cake
There are other ways to get the rum syrup into the cake as well. You can pour half of it over the cake that is still warm in the mold. After that, turn the cake out and top it with the rest of the rum. I like this approach in theory, and you’ll see it’s used in many other recipes, but the syrup tends to add a little crumb to the cake decompose, and more likely you will have trouble getting the cake out of the pan. I play it safe and glaze after the turnout.
The finished rum cake is dusted with a lot of powdered sugar just before serving.
Here is a close up of a cross section of the cake …
What kind of coconut?
One last thing, you really want to get the coconut here. The key is unsweetened, dried coconut. And it is important that it is finely grated. I see a lot of large coconut flakes in the stores now, and I love them, but they don’t go with this cake. If you want that lovely moist crumb you see in the pictures, get the finely grated one – I usually reach for the Bob’s Red Mill brand for this cake when I see it in the store.
Hope you really enjoy this rum cake! It’s incredibly juicy, tasty and versatile. Aside from this cake, I’ve been baking a lot lately, both sweet and savory. I’ll pick out a few current favorites that you might also like. There’s this beautiful braided onion bread, that zucchini bread, cinnamon buns forever, and that simple little bread made from oatmeal and whole wheat flour. These brownies are my all time favorite and everyone loves this Violet Bakery Chocolate Devils’ Food Cake. Have fun baking! -H
MY NEWSLETTER + EBOOK
Sign up for my weekly ad-free newsletter, with recipes, inspiration, what I’m reading / watching / shopping.
(You will receive a link for a free PDF e-book with 10 recipes)