My 8th annual rum cake


It started when Mark bought a Subaru from Jim Reed Automotive on Broadway in Nashville in 2008. With it came annual holiday e-mails from the dealership with recipes attached. I imagine some poor secretary in the front office was forced to do this. But that sad woman started a family tradition at 5117.

As I baked one today, I was thinking about all that has transpired in the last eight years since Easy Rum Cake came into our lives.

  • Barack Obama had just won the White House when I made my first rum cake. The world economy was teetering on the edge of the Apocalypse. A boozy cake seemed like a good idea.
  • By the time I was making my third rum cake, Nashville was rising from the deadly waters of a 1,000-year flood. The interior of my nonprofit was destroyed and we were working from four temporary warehouses supplying the survivors with new furniture and appliances. It was CRC’s finest hour and the fact that I had time to make a rum cake that year was a Christmas miracle.
  • I made my sixth rum cake the year that Noah graduated from college. He was living at home, in slight despair that his public relations degree appeared to be worthless and that he was working at a liquor store. It was a temporary gift to Mommy as he learned about wine and, in turn, taught me. Plus that employee discount was golden.
  • This year, my eighth, I baked today as Noah finished up on his 12th exam at the Moscow State Institute of  International Relations. He’s in a dual degree graduate program with his home school, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the finest school of its kind for future leaders on the world stage. He is fluent in Russian. Given recent events, that seems like a pretty good place to be sitting. I am immeasurably proud of him.

Hopefully, there are many more rum cakes in my future. Maybe they will celebrate more grandchildren, a happy retirement and world peace. Let’s tip a glass of Captain Morgan’s to that. Merry Christmas.

Easy Rum Cake

1 tablespoon melted butter

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup chopped pecans

1 package yellow cake mix

1 3.5-ounce package instant French Vanilla pudding

½ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup rum

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a bundt pan with the melted butter. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar and the pecans so they coat the pan (mine always end up in the bottom of the pan – it doesn’t matter).

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, rum and eggs. Mix until smooth. Spread evenly into the bundt pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.


¼ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1/8 cup water

1/8 cup rum

Combine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then remove from heat. Poke holes in the cake with the same wooden skewer you used to test doneness and slowly pour the glaze into the holes. Some will overflow. That’s a good thing. Let cake cool completely before removing it from the bundt pan.



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