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Caribbean Coconut Rum Cake

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour + standing
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup amber rum
  • 3/4 cup whole 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


  • Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Using a small skewer, poke holes in cake. Slowly pour syrup over cake until it's all absorbed. Cover; let 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 slice: 461 calories, 18g fat (10g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 823mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Linda
      Feb 14, 2021

      I made this cake for my husband's birthday out of the 2017 Taste of Home magazine. It was awesome! I had been searching for a recipe like this since meeting my husband in 1981, as he had told me about a cake similar to this that his mother always got for him when he was a child. He said this one is very close to what he remembers and now I make it for him every year! This year, I bought a small bundt pan and I am going to cut the recipe in half because while we love this cake, we no longer need or want that much left over cake!

    • Judith
      Jun 27, 2018

      I give this cake no stars. unfortunately, I used the printed version in the September/October 2017 Taste of Home magazine. The cake was so terrible I threw the whole cake in the trash can in the presence of my guests. When I checked on line to read other reviews I noticed that the magazine version called for 4 teaspoons of baking soda. This version uses 2 teaspoons of baking powder. I'm reluctant to give it a second chance after my initial disaster. Hope this doesn't happen to anyone else!

    • ReneeMurby
      Oct 10, 2017

      I made this cake to bring to our Sunday family dinner. Everyone loved it. My Dad rated it a solid 8 out of 10. I made it as directed. I did think it was odd to have the cornstarch and baking soda but no baking powder. Regardless, the taste was delicious and everyone asked me to bring it again.

    • LindaS_WI
      Sep 22, 2017

      I thought this was a delicious cake. Yes, it's very dense, which is what I expected with that much rum syrup being added to it. It was just like the cakes I had in the Caribbean. There was a very slight sink in the middle, which looks like what is supposed to happen, at least it looks like it in the photo in the magazine. After you turn it out onto a plate, you never notice it. I tried it that day but it did taste better after it sat overnight. Overall, I liked this cake very much.

    • Gaylene
      Sep 16, 2017

      No comment left

    • Shannon
      Sep 4, 2017

      No comment left