My mom used to make the most amazing rum cake. It was moist, coated in a sugary glaze and caramelized nuts, and baked in a festive bundt pan. Plus, she had a heavy hand when it came to pouring the rum, so everyone felt extra merry after couple of slices (you can't stop at just one, trust me!).

I got the recipe from her a few years back, before she passed away, and began making the cake every December. It started small--just one cake, which I'd make and serve when we had holiday company. But it drew such raves that I started making them for people. And when I sent one over to my publishing house for Christmas, the rave reviews from those who had managed to snag a piece before it disappeared were so enthusiastic that I had to send three more so that everyone could try it--along with the recipe.

Now I make at least half a dozen rum cakes at a time. Today I made eight. Since I can't send one to all of you, I'm giving you the recipe. Enjoy!

Holiday Rum Cake

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 18-1/2 ounce yellow cake mix
1 1-3/4 ounce (4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Barcardi dark rum

1 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Barcardi light rum or coconut rum

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Use brush or spoon to put extra dripping back on cake.

Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

** My secret is to use another half-recipe of the glaze so that it's extra moist--in other words, I make it with 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1/4 + 1/8 cup water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup light rum. Then, instead of drizzling it over the cake, I use a marinade injector (looks like a large syringe!) to actually inject it into the cake. (I only ever use the marinade injector for my rum cakes!)

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Comment by Denise Holcomb on December 10, 2013 at 1:56pm

some Italians put several layers of custard in their rum cake--this sounds good without those, though! Thanks!

Comment by Christina Young on December 10, 2013 at 1:24pm
Looks yummy! I think I'm going attempt this.

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