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Classic Holiday Rum Cake

Today was a fun day. Why might you ask? Because today I made Classic Holiday Rum Cake!

Classic Holiday Rum Cake 4

A few weeks ago my mother gave me a rum cake recipe that dates back to the 1970’s. I was anxious to try this bundt cake since I love a good old-fashioned recipe. Plus, I thought it would be a great dessert to serve my family this Christmas. 

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Classic Holiday Rum Cake 3

Not only does this Classic Holiday Rum Cake taste amazing, it’s also a super simple recipe and one that can easily be modified to be gluten-free. I just love that option because no one likes to feel left out of a great dessert, right? (You can find a gluten-free option included in the recipe.)

NOTE: when making gluten-free rum cake you must be careful to find gluten-free rum. Whenever in doubt, it’s always best to contact the company directly and verify if a particular product is considered to be gluten-free. Often a product itself may be gluten-free but may be cross-contaminated during processing or packaging.  (See additional note at the end.)

Classic Holiday Rum Cake 6

The original recipe calls for Bacardi dark rum (80 proof) however I used Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum (70 proof). The cake turned out just fine and my husband thought that the spiced rum added additional flavor.

Hey, did I mention that there is scrumptious rum glaze drizzled all over the top of this cake? Although most of the glaze soaked into the cake you can still see streaks where it cascaded over the sides. Slowly pour the glaze over the top while the cake is still warm.  As a result, the cake absorbs the glaze, thus you’ll get a delicious hint of rum in every bite.

Classic Holiday Rum Cake 1

If you look closely you can see where the rum glaze soaked into the cake.

Classic Holiday Rum Cake

Yields 12 - 16 servings

A delicious and moist rum cake that's perfect for all of your holiday entertaining. Gluten-free version included!

30 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 30 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix (GF Option - use a gluten-free cake mix)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) box vanilla instant pudding & pie filling (GF Option - use a gluten-free pudding mix)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (80 proof) (GF Option - use a gluten-free brand of rum - see list at the end of the post)
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum (80 proof) (GF Option - use a gluten-free brand of rum)
  • Optional: heavy cream, maraschino cherries and green grapes (*Do not use maraschino cherries if making gluten-free version)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour 10-inch bundt pan.
  3. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan.
  4. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts.
  5. Bake 1 hour.
  6. Invert on serving plate.
  7. For Glaze - melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.
  8. Prick top of cake. Drizzle glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up.
  9. Serve.
  10. Optional: garnish with dollop of whipped heavy cream, a maraschino cherries and green grapes.

Classic Holiday Rum Cake 2To make Classic Holiday Rum Cake even more festive, garnish each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and green grapes.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 


Information regarding gluten-free rum:
Gluten Free Alcohol List 
Gluten Free Alcoholic Beverages – scroll to the bottom of the page.
Is Rum Gluten Free?

Disclaimer: Manufacturer’s formulations and policies may change at any time. Therefore it’s important to always read product labels yourself and contact the manufacturer with concerns. We have found that most companies are eager to help answer your questions.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Theresa December 8, 2017, 3:52 pm
    This is the recipe I've always used too and I have used all different flavors of Rum in it. Gives some different flavors without being to overpowering
    • Blessed Beyond Crazy December 9, 2017, 7:33 pm
      Hi Theresa, Yes, this is my all-time favorite rum cake recipe. I agree it's not overpowering either. Thanks for stopping by and leaving us a message! Linda
  • Bridget December 24, 2016, 7:31 pm
    Wondering if I cool the cake or put the glaze over warm cake? Do I put the glaze on hot or cool it? Making this right now for Christmas desert. Thx
    • Blessed Beyond Crazy December 24, 2016, 9:27 pm
      Hi Bridget, I did allow the glaze to cool a little before I poured it over the cake. The cake was still warm when I poured the glaze over the cake and therefore the cake soaked up a lot of the glaze. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy this recipe. Merry Christmas!!!! Linda
  • Seana Turner December 5, 2016, 8:49 am
    I like this recipe... it is a bit different, and I think is special with the rum. Perfect for a holiday gathering. I had no idea that there was such a thing as GF rum. I'm still learning! My Profile
    • Blessed Beyond Crazy December 5, 2016, 11:05 am
      Hi Seana, Hey, FYI... Anna and I are still learning as we go too. The great thing is that more and more companies are developing products that are certified to be gluten-free. Never be afraid to contact a company to check on a product. I personally do this all the time and thus far, without exception, everyone has been very helpful. Thanks for stopping by and dropping us a note. Enjoy the Rum Cake too! :) Have a good day! Linda

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