Pumpkin Spice Rum Cake

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Two years ago, I came up with a red velvet rum cake to make at my boss’s request.  For the fun of it, I started looking into what other types of bundt cake would hold up to a generous soaking of rum syrup.  I tried chocolate pound cake, but it was kind of a mess.  My next attempt featured pumpkin, since it’s that season and all.  To my surprise, a Pumpkin Spice Rum Cake is just what the doctor ordered.  And, since I normally use spiced rum in my rum cakes anyway, it was like a perfect marriage of fall flavors and a boozy punch.  It would also be a nice change of pace from the pies that grace so many Thanksgiving tables.

Start by sifting your dry ingredients, then beating the sugar and oil together until it’s well-combined.  Then add the eggs, one at a time.  Once all of the eggs are incorporated, mix in the pumpkin, then alternately add the flour mixture and rum until you have a smooth batter.  Pour into your well-greased bundt pan.

About 15 minutes before the cake is done baking, start making your rum syrup by melting butter, sugar, and water in a pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Bring to a large simmer, stirring until all of the sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and carefully stir in the rum.  When the cake is done, remove from the oven, poke holes all over with a toothpick or skewer, then slowly pour the rum syrup over it.  You may have to pour the syrup in stages, waiting until the cake absorbs most of it before pouring more onto it.  Once you have poured all of the rum syrup over the cake, let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes until it has absorbed all of the liquid.

Once all of the liquid has been absorbed, flip your cake over onto a cake board of baking dish.  Do not wait until the cake cools completely, or it might stick to the pan and break while you are trying to get it out.  It won’t be any less delicious, but it won’t be very pretty.

I have heard that rum cakes gets better as it ages, so it’s best to let it sit for a few days before enjoying.  I honestly can’t tell you whether or not that is true, because mine never last that long.  I do recommend to let it sit for at least a day, though.  This will give gravity time to do its thing and distribute that boozy goodness.  I think it also gives the cake time for the flavors to blend and mellow.

Thanks to the alcohol in the cake, this cake stays pretty fresh for a while, so there is no need to refrigerate if you plan on serving it within a few days.

Pumpkin Spice Rum Cake


For the Cake

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rum

For the Rum Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup rum


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Generously grease a 12-cup bundt pan.  Set aside.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the oil white, sugar, and brown sugar until the sugar is coated and there are no clumps.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla extract.  Add the flour alternately with the rum, beginning and ending with the flour, beating well after each addition.  Do not overbeat. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  About 10 minutes before the cake is done, start making the rum syrup (instructions in next paragraph) and set aside.  When the cake is done, remove it from oven and set on a wire rack.  Poke holes in the cake using toothpick or wooden skewer, then slowly pour the hot rum syrup over the cake while it’s still in the pan.  Let cake sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes to absorb the liquid, then remove from pan by inverting onto a cake board or serving dish.  Allow to cool completely before storing.

To make the rum syrup: Heat butter, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Once the butter has completely melted, continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a simmer and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and carefully add the rum, stirring until combined.

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