Vanilla Rum Cake with Buttercream Frosting

My mom makes this sinful vanilla rum cake, that has orange peel and chocolate on top of the homemade butter cream frosting… Mmmmmm this is making me so hungry! Its just rummy enough and so moist that you could cut it with a fork. Friday happens to be my ex boyfriend’s birthday, so this a perfect time to do some baking!

Last year I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla almond butter cream frosting. It was then sprinkled with coconut and silver edible sparkles. It was so good. And it looked so professional in fact, that the patrons at Flemings Steakhouse asked me if they could have some. I should have sold slices and started a baking business right then and there!

Jacob’s birthday last year was a lot more intimate. This time, we are going to dinner with 30 of his friends and family, so I have to step my game up. My mom is coming over on Thursday night for a sleepover (she lives in Palm Springs) so her and I are going to get to work! Actually, these kinds of cakes with alcohol are best the next day, so this is the perfect cake to make. I chose to frost it in buttercream because I was using this cake as a Birthday cake. But this will make it a lot more rich. If you are looking for a different way to finish the cake, I have offered two ways below.

PS… ever wonder where my nickname came from? My mom :)

Vanilla Cake
1 1/2 cups, white granulated sugar
3 cups, white flour
6 eggs
3 cup milk
3 sticks unsalted butter
4 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp vanilla extract

To Add for this Recipe
1/2 pint dark Rum
4 tbsp white granulated sugar
Bundt pan, regular sized
One dark chocolate bar to grate
Small bag of candied orange peel

Butter-cream Frosting
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons whipping cream

You can also frost this cake in 2 different ways:
1. Leave it UNFROSTED and make a glaze using apricot jam and a little powdered sugar. Heat 1/2 cup jam and 1/4 cup powdered sugar on the stove, until all melted throughout. After you soak the cake in the rum, and the cake is thoroughly cooled, pour the glaze over the top and let it set before serving.
2. Once the rum has been soaked in and the cake is cooled, make home made whip cream. This is best if you are going to eat the cake that day. Take 1 pint whipping cream and whip by hand or with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and fold into the whip cream. Cover the cake in whip cream. You can add the chocolate and orange peel (to be explained later) on this frosting version too.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan AND MAKE SURE TO GREASE IT WELL! You do not want this to stick to the top. I suggest using butter as sprays do not work as well.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl: 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbsp salt, and the 4 tbsp baking powder. Set aside. Half melt the 3 sticks unsalted butter and add the 1.5 cups granulated sugar. Once cool, add the eggs. Lastly, add the milk and vanilla extract. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated well.

Combine the dry ingredients slowly into the wet. I suggest using a hand mixer, making sure the batter comes out smooth like silk. You don’t want lumps in this cake, just a uniform, butterly, silky cake.
We splattered some batter on my kitchen blinds

Place the cake batter in a greased bundt pan, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Only fill the pan till about 1 inch from the top. For Jacob’s birthday, I also made a little extra batter to make cupcakes for him to take to work. He said they were gone and eaten in a matter of minutes :)

While the cake is baking, its time to make the buttercream. Place UNMELTED but room temperature sticks of butter in a bowl. Add the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Incorporate the ingredients together. Start adding in the powdered sugar slowly, until all 3 cups are mixed all the way into the butter mixture. Make the frosting as silky as possible. Use the hand mixer if you have one, but if not, get an arm workout and do it by hand! This is also the time to see if you want to add more vanilla or make it a little less thick. BUT be careful…adding too much cream will make it not hold like a frosting. Once done, set aside.

Raw ingredients before the mix
Frosting on its way to becoming silky smooth

Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and set it on the counter. It should have risen just to the top of the bundt pan.

Now, you MUST soak the cake with rum while it is hot. But the rum mixture you soak also has to be hot. Therefore, the instant you take the cake out of the oven, take the pint and pour about 1.5 cups into a pot that is on high heat. Add the 4 tbsp of granulated sugar. Stir this mixture until the 2 are incorprated. This will only take a minute or two.

Take a long skewer or other long poking instrument and poke holes in the cake. Once the cake has about 30 holes in it, take a spoon and lightly pour the half the hot rum mixture over the cake. Try not to let it pour down the sides, as that makes it harder for the cake to come out. Let the cake sit and half way cool. Then put your base, whether it be a big plate or a glass cake stand, over the bottom of the cake and flip the bundt pan over, shimming the cake out. Poke holes in the top of the cake and pour in the remaining rum mixture. Let the cake sit and cool completely!

Oh my… how did this get in here? He looks oober cute in his Parka doesn’t he?! :)
My mom working her magic.

While you are waiting for the cake to cool, dice up the candied orange peel. Once the cake has completely cooled, add the butter-cream. Don’t put it on too thick; the cake it already really rich. You will probably have some leftover frosting. Make sure, once frosted, that you clean the edges of the plate. For the chocolate step, it looks nice having the chocolate dusted around the cake on the plate. You will see what I mean.

The next steps are easy. Grate the chocolate bar with a micro-plane over the entire cake. Afterwards, place the orange peel either over the entire cake or along the base of the cake. My mom chose to place it on top.

And there you have it! Vanilla Rum cake fit for a birthday.

If you plan to eat this that day, put it in the refrigerator, covered of course by either a cake top or a foil tent, for 30 minutes before serving it so the frosting can set. If you are planning to make this a day ahead, place it in the fridge, and make sure it sits at room temperature for about 2 hours before you serve it. You don’t want the cake to be cold but you also don’t want the frosting to be melty.

If you are short on time, here is a message from my mother who is full of wisdom:

“If making it from scratch is too overwhelming with time constraints, i.e., work, studying for your test, get two boxes of vanilla cake mix (I recommend Trader Joe’s, and in that case, get 3), the rum, lemons, vanilla, orange peel and chocolate bar and we can doctor it up. If you want frosting, get confectioners sugar and make sure you have plenty of butter and to make frosting from scratch.Store bought frosting is disgusting.” And there you have it. Wise words from a baking genius.
Happy Birthday Baking!

7 thoughts on “Vanilla Rum Cake with Buttercream Frosting

  1. erica says:

    This cake looked so yummy! I tried making it but I used a cake pan instead when I went to flip the cake out it crumbled on the plate! Not sure if it was the cake pan or what i did wrong :( i followed it exactly.

    • thingsimakeinmykitchen says:

      It’s the pan. A bundt pan should allow the cake to come out easily. Certain cakes need more love and care, and this one does best in a bundt pan… but all is not a loss…

      A trick for long cake pans; use a pastry brush to paint an even layer of very soft butter on the bottom and sides of your cake pan. Add a couple tablespoons of flour and shake it around the pan until the interior surface is lightly and completely covered. Turn over the pan and firmly knock out any excess flour into a bowl.

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