Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing


12 servings

Updated: Sep. 28, 2023
My take on those boozy treats that weigh down suitcases returning from Jamaica, this moist cake packs a rum punch. You may wish to card your guests before serving. The longer the rum soaks in, the better—overnight is best. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup amber rum
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • SYRUP:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 cup amber rum
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. In a small bowl, combine rum and milk. In a large bowl, whisk flour, pudding mix, cornstarch, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with rum mixture, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer to a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan briefly to prevent sticking; replace in pan. Cool on wire rack.
  3. Meanwhile, for syrup, heat butter, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add rum and extract.
  4. Using a small skewer, poke holes in cake. Slowly pour syrup over cake until all syrup is absorbed. Cover; let cake stand overnight.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • This cake is VERY moist and has a strong rum flavor. If you're worried it may be overpowering, reduce the amount of rum in the soaking syrup to 1/4 cup or simply leave it out.
  • This is one of those cakes that really is better the second or third day. So if you have time, make the cake early and let it sit at room temperature to mature a bit.
  • To make sure your cake comes out cleanly, use solid shortening instead of cooking spray to grease the fluted tube pan.
  • After much feedback, we took this cake back to the Test Kitchen. We tested with both baking soda and baking powder, both cakes baked up beautifully however the soda did leave a hint of bitterness. For that reason we're not calling for baking powder instead
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 piece: 461 calories, 18g fat (10g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 823mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.