Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tortuga Rum Cake

Let me introduce you to what may just be my new favorite cake recipe...Tortuga Rum Cake! I am not a rum fan, nor really an alcohol fan for that matter but one bite of this and I think I can tolerate a little bit of rum in this cake! When Randolph and I were on our cruise last week we stopped in the Cayman Islands as one of our days at port. We took an excursion to Sting Ray City, Hell, the Turtle Farm and to the Tortuga Rum shop.

As we entered the Tortuga shop the shelves were lined with boxes of rum cakes in flavors like chocolate, coconut, banana, pineapple, key lime and their signature flavor original golden. They also had a wide variety of different flavors of rum you could sample and purchase.

And the best part of samples! They had layer after layer of all the rum cake varieties. I sampled the original golden, chocolate, coconut and banana flavors. I literally ate at least 10 pieces of cake. These moist bite size cakes were simply irresistible.

This was my last round of samples. It was hard to drag myself out of the store. We actually lost track of time and ended up being the last people back on our tour bus because we were so busy tasting all the cakes. We didn't end up buying a rum cake, just because we didn't want to have to drag them around with us the rest of the day on our excursions. But now that I know these cakes exist I can always order them here on the Tortuga Rum Cake website. If you have never tried a rum cake check them out on the Tortuga site and order one today, you won't be disappointed. Or you can make your own rum cake from scratch using the recipe below.

Randolph bought a bottle of Appleton Estate rum from Jamaica and I got several varieties of vanilla from Mexico so I figured they would be the perfect ingredients when making the Tortuga Rum cake from scratch.

Not only is rum baked in the cake but then it is added into a sugar glaze and poured over the cake to soak in as the cake cools. Can you see how moist the left side of this piece of cake is, this is from the rum glaze. I actually didn't use as much rum as the recipe called for because I didn't want the flavor to be too overwhelming since it was being used in the cake and the glaze. You could definitely tell their was rum in the cake, but it wasn't too overpowering for those people who don't care for the rum taste.

This cake was a huge hit with Randolph's co-workers and our neighbors. If you are looking for a fun summer dessert then you definitely need to try this cake.

Tortuga Rum Cake (recipe adapted from


Basic Cake Mix:
-2 cups cake flour
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-4 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup butter
-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the Cake:
-1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (the original recipe calls for walnuts, but I didn't have them on hand)
-1 (3 1/2 oz) package vanilla instant pudding mix
-1/2 cup milk
-4 eggs
-1/3 cup rum (I used Jamaican Appleton Estate Rum)
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla Totonca's)

Rum Soaking Glaze:
-1/2 cup butter
-1/4 cup water
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/3 cup rum (I used Jamaican Appleton Estate Rum)

  • Basic Cake Mix: In a large mixing bowl, combine basic cake mix ingredients.

  • On low speed combine ingredients until the mix is the consistency of fine gravel, and all particles are about the same size.

  • This mix may be contained and stored for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.

  • For the Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

  • Spray a large Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Sprinkle the chopped pecans on the bottom.

  • Place Basic Cake Mix, pudding mix, milk, eggs, rum, oil and vanilla extract in a large bowl and combine on medium speed with electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes, scrape down the bowl halfway through.

  • Batter should be very smooth. Pour batter into Bundt pan.

  • Bake for about 55 minutes, until fluffy golden and tester comes out clean and cake springs back.

  • Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack while making the soaking glaze.

  • Rum Soaking Glaze: Combine butter, water and sugar in a small saucepan.

  • Bring to a boil carefully as mixture boils over very easily.

  • Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and syrup is well combined and a little thicker.

  • Remove from the heat and add the rum, mix to combine.

  • While the cake is still cooling, pour some of the hot syrup on top of the cake, allowing it time to soak in (this may take a few minutes as there will be a lot of syrup) continue to add syrup until all of the syrup is added.

  • Allow cake to cool completely in pan before turning out onto serving platter.

  • This cake is delicate, so once it is turned out, it can not be moved around easily.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of our visit to the Turtle Farm and a little bit of Cayman Island history. Did you know that turtle is actual "tortuga" in Spanish? The Cayman Islands were originally called Las Tortugas when Christopher Columbus discovered them in 1503 and gave them their name because of the numerous amount of sea turtles he saw on the island. Later the islands were renamed the Cayman Islands after caiman the term for alligator when Sir Frances Drake landed in 1586 and saw a lot of alligators on the islands.


  1. wow, a few things have caught my eye in this beautiful post! firstly, the moist looking cake...just looks fabulous. i don't mind a splosh of rum in my cakes now and then. secondly, the cute turtle!!!! need i say more?

    thanks for sharing

  2. Lauren I am so glad you posted this recipe. The cake you sent with Randolph was amazing!


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