This simple gluten free rum cake is a ridiculously moist, not-too-sweet bundt cake with a butter rum glaze that will make any occasion festive—and not just because it has booze.

This is the best gluten free rum cake recipe — here’s why

Once you see how this already tender gf yellow cake soaks up all that rich butter rum glaze, you’ll want to make it again and again. That takes a moist yellow gluten free cake and makes it extra tender, moist, and flavorful.

The rum baked into the cake is minimal and bakes off (at least mostly), and the way I make the buttered rum glaze, most of the alcohol has a chance to boil off there, too.

It is a rum cake, though, so if you try to eliminate rum altogether, well, then it’s not a rum cake. You get the idea!

I used to consider nuts (especially in brownies!) to be sacrilege. These days, I realize that it has to be the right nuts for the occasion, and they have to be treated appropriately.

In this rum cake, I found that I rather like pecans scattered on (what becomes) the top of the cake—particularly when they’re tossed with vanilla and a bit of sugar. If you’re anti-nuts-in-baked-goods, just leave ’em out!

Is rum gluten free?

Pure rum, without flavorings or additives, is gluten free. You can use anything from dark rum to light rum, depending upon your taste preference.

What rum is gluten free?

All pure distilled rum is gluten free, even if it begins with a gluten-containing grain like barley. That means that, provided there is no cross-contamination in the manufacturing process and there are no gluten-containing ingredients added after distillation, even Captain Morgan gluten free spiced rum, Malibu gluten free coconut rum, or gluten free pineapple rum is gluten free.

Gluten free rum cake ingredients

  • Pecans – Rum cake is traditionally made with pecans or walnuts that are flavored and sugared, and then nestled into the bottom of the bundt pan. These nuts are favored because they’re soft and buttery, so they add some texture to the cake, but not too much.
  • Vanilla – The vanilla extract is added to the soft nuts to add depth of flavor. You can replace it with gluten free rum extract if you want more rum flavor.
  • Sugar – Some of the granulated sugar is added to the nuts to add some sweetness, but most of it is baked into the yellow cake for sweetness and also lots of tenderness.
  • Gluten free flour – I usually bake this cake with Better Batter’s classic blend gluten free flour, but you can also use Cup4Cup or my Better Than Cup4Cup blend for excellent results. I can’t recommend any of the other commercially available blends as they are unbalanced, have a gritty rice flour, or both.
  • Milk – The milk provides the main liquid in this cake, and my only request is that you use something with fat, and without added flavors. Nondairy milk works just as well as cow’s milk if it meets those requirements.
  • Dry milk – Adding powdered milk in addition to the regular, liquid milk allows us to add more richness without adding more liquid. You can also use buttermilk powder if you have that on hand, but you can’t just leave this ingredient out.
  • Cornstarch – Adding some cornstarch to the dry ingredients in the cake recipe lightens the flour to add some extra tenderness to the cake. If your gluten free flour blend is Cup4Cup or my Better Than Cup4Cup blend, replace this ingredient with more of your all purpose gluten free flour blend instead.
  • Baking powder – Baking powder is the main chemical leavener in this cake, giving the cake lightness and lift.
  • Baking soda – Baking soda adds some lift, but it’s only single-acting so it’s activated as soon as it’s hydrated. Its main contribution is to help the cake brown gently in the oven.
  • Salt – Salt helps brighten and enhance the other flavors in the cake. It doesn’t make the cake taste salty.
  • Oil – This gf rum cake is made with a neutral-tasting oil like vegetable, canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil instead of butter since it’s pure fat, without the added moisture of butter, so it makes an even more moist cake.
  • Rum – There is some rum in the cake itself, but that’s only 1 1/2 fluid ounces. The real rum flavor comes from the glaze, which is poured over the warm cake and allowed to absorb into it.
  • Eggs – There are 4 whole eggs in this cake, and they add lift, richness, and structure.
Sugared Pecans for Gluten Free Rum Cake

Tips for making a gluten free rum cake

Choosing the right cake pan

This cake is made in a classic 10-cup capacity bundt pan, ideally one made of light-colored nonstick cast aluminum, which is sturdy enough to never warp, and light enough that it won’t burn the outside of your cake while the inside bakes all the way through.

Here’s my favorite Nordic Ware bundt pan (an affiliate link where I make a very small commission; feel free to shop around!). If you’d still like to make this cake but you don’t have a bundt pan, I’d recommend cutting the cake ingredients in half and making it in a 9-inch round baking pan. You’ll need to adjust the baking time, too, so begin checking at about 22 minutes.

Please see our gluten free baking tools post for a full discussion of which bundt pans are best, and how to outfit your kitchen to bake anything you can dream up!

Releasing the rum cake from the pan

If your bundt pan is properly greased and doesn’t have any bare, damaged spots, your cake should not stick to the pan. Before inverting your cake to release it, use a thin, nonstick spatula to ensure that all the sides are unstuck from the sides of the pan.

Don’t wait to flip your rum cake

You can ensure that it releases easily by only allowing it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes while you make the glaze, then only another 10 minutes after adding the glaze.

Rum cake serving suggestions

  • This lovely cake is typically holiday fare but can be prepared year-round for an unexpected treat.
  • Try it dusted with powdered sugar after you’ve turned it out of the pan, and it’s cooled completely.
  • Rum cake goes great with a drizzled glaze like we used in our iced gluten free oatmeal cookies
  • Serve each slice with some fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Some fresh fruit is always welcome alongside a slice of this rich gf cake

The right way to store your gf rum cake

Not only does the glaze flavor the cake so beautifully, but it also keeps it fresh for days on end. This cake can easily be made days ahead of time (my last cake is at 4 days covered on the counter at room temperature, and still going strong) and you can still proudly serve it to guests. It’s just that good.

But don’t refrigerate it, whatever you do, as the refrigerator dries out baked goods in a flash. Either keep it on the counter, covered, or wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap and freeze for longer storage. But it’s so good when it’s warm out of the oven and has just been glazed. So, promise me you’ll try it at least once that way!

Pouring rum cake batter on top of sugared nuts in bottom of bundt pan and then the cake as baked

Gluten free rum cake: substitutions

Gluten free, dairy free rum cake

The dairy in this cake and glaze comes in a few forms: milk and milk powder in the cake, and butter in the glaze. To replace the milk in the cake, feel free to use any unflavored nondairy milk, as long as it has some fat for richness. The milk powder can be made dairy free by using coconut milk powder instead of dairy. For the butter in the glaze, try Earth Balance buttery sticks, or Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter.

Gluten free, egg free rum cake

I’m afraid I’m not optimistic that you could make this cake egg-free, since it calls for 4 whole eggs. If you’d like to try replacing the eggs, you can try 4 “chia eggs” (each 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allowed to gel), but I really don’t expect great results.

Gluten free, corn free rum cake

If you can’t have corn, try replacing the cornstarch with arrowroot, and be sure you’re not using Cup4Cup all purpose gluten free flour, which relies heavily on cornstarch.

Rum substitutes

If you would like to try to make this cake completely alcohol-free, try using water in place of the rum in equal measure, but add a fair amount of rum extract. As always, feel free to experiment!

Gluten free, nut-free rum cake

To make this without nuts, you can simply leave out the entire nut mixture, including the additional 1/8 cup of granulated sugar and the vanilla extract. Proceed with the recipe as written otherwise.

Pouring rum glaze onto gluten free rum cake in bundt pan and cake being served

FAQs

Is alcohol gluten free?

Pure distilled alcohol is gluten free. Be careful, as with all gluten free food and drink, to avoid cross-contamination in manufacturing and processing and the addition of gluten-containing ingredients.

Is all rum gluten free?

Yes, all pure, distilled rum is gluten free. Flavorings and other additions, plus differences in manufacturing and processing, can contaminate an otherwise gluten free product in its pure form, though, so proceed with caution.

Is Tortuga rum cake gluten free?

Unfortunately, no, Tortuga rum cakes are made with wheat flour, a gluten-containing grain. We have to make our own if we want gluten free rum cake!

Is Captain Morgan rum gluten free?

Yes, pure Captain Morgan rum is generally considered to be gluten free, but please exercise caution with all alcohol to ensure it’s not contaminated with gluten.

Does gf rum cake taste like alcohol?

Yes, rum cake tastes faintly of the alcohol in the glaze, but some of the alcohol cooks off when it’s reduced on the stovetop.

Can get you get drunk on rum cake?

Since the whole cake, including the glaze, contains just over 1/2 cup of rum prior to cooking and baking, if you eat a lot of this cake, presumably you can become a bit inebriated.

Can kids eat rum cake?

It’s always a personal choice whether to allow children to eat something that has alcohol as an ingredient, and I wouldn’t presume to know what is best for anyone else’s children. As we’ve discussed, if you make this cake without rum and just with rum flavoring, you should be able to give it to children without any concern.

What’s the best rum for this gluten free rum cake recipe?

I usually use plain Bacardi rum for this gf rum cake since I always have it on hand to top off my homemade vanilla extract. But if you have another favorite brand, use that!

Can I use imitation rum for this gluten free rum cake recipe?

Imitation rum extract, provided it is safely gluten free like McCormick or Olive Nation brand, can be used in place of vanilla extract in this recipe, and even in place of rum, along with water as instructed in the recipe notes.

Can I use almond flour for this rum cake recipe?

No, this cake recipe will not work as an almond flour rum cake. Almond flour behaves quite differently in baking, and isn’t a proper substitute for a rice-based all purpose gluten free flour blend.

Rum cake slice from bundt cake on white plate with piece taken
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Gluten Free Rum Cake | A Caribbean Rum Cake with Glaze

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Celebrate the holidays or any time of year with a gluten free rum cake. This gf rum cake recipe includes a sugary glaze that makes the cake incredibly moist.
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free rum cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Nicole Hunn

Equipment

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans (or walnuts)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (I use Better Batter most often; click thru for info on all appropriate blends)
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • ¾ cup powdered milk nonfat or whole milk powder is fine
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (or try arrowroot)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup canola oil (or try another neutral oil, like peanut)
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free rum (See Recipe Notes)
  • 4 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • ½ cup milk at room temperature (any kind will do)

For the glaze

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter chopped (for dairy free, try Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons gluten free rum (See Recipe Notes)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Instructions

Make the cake.

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (or 300°F if you are using a dark-colored bundt pan). Grease well a standard bundt pan.
  • In a small bowl, place the chopped raw pecans, vanilla extract and 1/8 cup (25 g) granulated sugar, and toss to combine.
  • Scatter the sugared nuts evenly on the bottom of the prepared bundt pan, and set the pan aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, nonfat dry milk, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining 1 1/8 cups (225 g) granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the canola oil, rum, eggs and milk, beating to combine after each addition. The batter should be thickly pourable.
  • Pour the batter evenly on top of the chopped nuts in the bundt pan and shake into an even layer.
  • Place the bundt pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 45 minutes—or 40 minutes for a dark bundt pan). Be careful not to over bake the cake, as the bottom will burn easily.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Make the glaze.

  • In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place all the glaze ingredients except for the rum.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over medium heat. The mixture will begin to bubble.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the rum, and mix to combine. The rum will cause the mixture to bubble up quickly. Just stir until the bubbling subsides, which will happen quickly.
  • Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced by nearly 1/4 (about 5 minutes).
  • The glaze should bubble gently while it is reducing. If it bubbles too fiercely, reduce the heat.

Glaze the cake.

  • Pour the hot glaze evenly over the warm cake, still in the pan, and allow to sit until the cake has absorbed the glaze (about 10 minutes more).
  • If the glaze is slow to absorb into the cake, pierce the top of the cake in a few spots with a butter knife.
  • Carefully pull the cake away from all the edges of the bundt pan with a butter knife before inverting it onto a serving platter to unmold it. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

Notes

Notes on rum.

Pure rum, without flavorings or additives, is gluten free. You can use anything from dark rum to light rum, depending upon your taste preference.

If you would like to try to make this cake completely alcohol-free, try using water in place of the rum in equal measure, but add a fair amount of gluten free rum extract.

Adapted from allrecipes.com.

Originally published on the blog in 2014; in 2023, recipe unchanged, lots of text resources added.

The post Gluten Free Rum Cake | A Caribbean Rum Cake with Glaze appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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