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Chocolate Rum Cake

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Decadent Chocolate Rum Cake is a boozy chocolate bundt cake recipe infused with delectable fudgy flavor and heady notes of spiced rum. Perfect for the holidays!

For a traditional version, check out my recipe for The Best Homemade Rum Cake. Or, for a booze-free variation, try this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake!

Moist and Boozy Chocolate Rum Cake

Today I’m sharing one of my best “grown-up” desserts: a boozy homemade chocolate rum cake, freshly dusted with powdered sugar and ready for all your holiday tables.

This chocolate rum cake is based on my Homemade Rum Cake. It’s a chocolatey spin that has all the irresistible moisture and texture of the original recipe, with a flavor that’s not too far off from my favorite Chocolate Rum Balls.

My recipe uses both oil and butter, as well as sour cream and buttermilk, for a mouthwatering chocolate cake that bakes up irresistibly fluffy with rich cocoa flavor. It pretty much nails the balance between the fudginess of the chocolate and the booziness of the spiced rum. The result? A dessert that’s decadent and heady without being overpowering, and all kinds of delicious. 

Can Rum Cake Get You Drunk?

Well, technically, yes. But let’s just say, you’d have to eat a lot of cake. 

This rum cake contains a half-cup of rum that’s baked into the cake itself and another half-cup that gets whisked into the glaze. Most of the rum that’s added to the cake is baked off in the oven. Meanwhile, the rum in the glaze is dispersed throughout the whole cake. All this to say, you’d need to enjoy quite a few slices to get any sort of buzz on!

A forkful of chocolate rum cake next to a slice on a plate with strawberries.

Rum Cake Ingredients

Below is a brief overview of the key ingredients you’ll need to make this ultra-moist chocolate rum cake from scratch. Don’t forget to refer to the recipe card for the full details.

  • Oil and Butter – Using a combination of the two brings a ton of moisture and lightness to the crumb.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sour Cream – Sour cream adds moisture without thinning out the batter, for a fine and tender crumb once the cake is baked. Substitute with Greek or plain yogurt if needed.
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Cocoa Powder – I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for its intensely fudgy flavor. Natural cocoa powder also works.
  • Baking Soda and Salt
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds richness to the cake and complements the cocoa flavors beautifully. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, use my Homemade Buttermilk Substitute.
  • Spiced Rum – You’ll want to use a good quality dark rum, like Bacardi. You’ll use it in the cake as well as the glaze. See below.

Which Rum Is Best for a Cake?

You don’t need to buy top-shelf alcohol to use when baking, but I usually go by the rule that if it’s good enough to drink, it’s good enough to bake. When it comes to making a rum cake, dark rum is key. Bacardi Spiced is my rum of choice as it has a great, warming flavor.

The ingredients for chocolate rum cake.

How to Make a Chocolate Rum Cake

You don’t need any fancy bells or whistles for this chocolate rum cake to turn out perfect. Have your oven preheated to 350ºF while you grease up a bundt pan and dust the inside with cocoa powder and flour. Now, let’s get into making the easy chocolate cake batter:

  1. Combine the wet ingredients. Begin by beating together the sugar, oil, butter, eggs, yolks, and extracts. Once combined, beat in the sour cream.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add these to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk and rum until well mixed.
  3. Bake. Transfer the rum cake batter to your prepped bundt pan. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes at 350ºF, testing for doneness using the toothpick test. Once your cake is out of the oven, leave it to cool in the pan for a half hour or so while you prepare the rum glaze.

Glazing the Cake

The glaze for this recipe is a simple syrup that’s then infused with spiced rum and poured over the cake. Have your glaze ready in minutes on the stovetop:

  • Make the simple syrup. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil for about 5 minutes, stirring as it thickens, then take the pan off the heat and stir in the rum.
  • Invert the cake. Run a knife around the edges of the bundt pan to help loosen the sides, then invert the cake onto a plate. It may still be a little warm at this point, and that’s fine.
  • Glaze. Pour a bit of rum glaze into the bottom of the bundt pan, and return the cake back to the pan. Next, using a fork or a toothpick, poke holes throughout the bottom of the cake, and drench the cake in glaze, making sure it gets down the sides, too. Afterward, leave the cake to sit and soak.
  • Cool. After about 30 minutes, your cake is ready to remove! Invert it again and let it cool completely.   

Tips for Success

Below are some helpful hints and baking tips to have your chocolate rum cake come out as the very best version of itself: 

  • Prep the pan well. This means a generous greasing followed by dusting with flour (in this case, I mix flour with cocoa powder for a chocolate cake). Make sure the pan is well coated, to prevent the finished cake from sticking.
  • Stir the simple syrup often. This keeps the sugar from burning while it boils. If it burns, you’ll need to chuck the glaze and start again.
  • Don’t forget about the cake while it soaks. 30 minutes is the sweet spot when it comes to soaking the cake in the glaze. Any longer and you risk the cake getting stuck in the pan. Also remember to remove the cake from the pan before you soak it, which helps loosen it up and further prevents sticking.
Overhead view of a greased bundt pan dusted with cocoa powder and flour.

How to Serve a Chocolate Rum Cake

There are several options when it comes to topping and serving your chocolate rum cake. I’ll dust the top of the cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and serve it with fresh fruit, like strawberries, and whipped cream.

Of course, you can always dress up your slices with additional toppings like caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy a slice of fudgy cake for dessert with a cup of coffee or tea, or with a festive glass of holiday egg nog!

A slice of chocolate rum cake on a plate next to sliced strawberries and a swirl of whipped cream.

Storing Homemade Chocolate Rum Cake

Store your chocolate rum cake airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days. It will also keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week. I love eating leftover run cake cold. The flavors are next-level and it has loads of moisture!

Can I Freeze Rum Cake?

Certainly! You can freeze your rum cake either whole or in slices for up to 2 months. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap to freeze it, and remove the wrapping whenever you’re ready to thaw it, either in the fridge or at room temperature.

A slice of chocolate rum cake on a plate next to sliced strawberries and a swirl of whipped cream.
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A slice of chocolate rum cake on a plate next to sliced strawberries and a swirl of whipped cream.

Chocolate Rum Cake Recipe

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings

Description

Homemade Chocolate Rum Cake is a boozy chocolate cake recipe infused with fudgy flavor and heady notes of spiced rum. The perfect holiday dessert!

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (40g) Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) spiced rum, such as Bacardi

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) water
  • 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) spiced rum

Instructions

Make the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease and dust a 10-cup size bundt pan with a mixture of flour and cocoa powder.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, butter, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and rum extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Alternate adding half the dry ingredients and half the liquid ingredients (buttermilk and rum) at a time and beat until well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

Make the Glaze

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then stir in the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes on medium while stirring frequently to prevent burning. The mixture will become thick and bubbly as the water evaporates.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the rum until combined.
  3. Remove the cake from the pan, ensuring it won’t stick. You make have to use a knife or long toothpick to help loosen the cake from the middle and edges. If you’d like a bit of the glaze on the top of the cake, pour it into the bottom of the pan. Then place the cake back in the pan and poke holes with a fork or toothpick all over the bottom of the cake. Pour the glaze over the cake, and pull the edges away from the sides, allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Allow the cake to sit in the pan for 30 minutes and then remove and cool completely.

Notes

  • Rum extract is optional and only enhances the rum flavor.
  • Natural cocoa powder can be substituted for Hershey’s Special Dark.
  • If needed, use my homemade buttermilk substitute.
Nutrition Information:
1
503
42.7 g
442.9 mg
22.8 g
61.4 g
1.6 g
5.6 g
92.2 mg
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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