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Alcohol has been used in cooking and baking for an incredibly long time. Not only is it used to give a few cakes a boozy twist but it is also used for cooking, most typically with wine. When cooked to high temperatures, the alcohol content in drinks will evaporate leaving nothing but the flavor of the initial drink. This is good for a lot of drinks as you want their flavor and not the alcohol, however, some dishes purposely use the alcohol to make the dish more fun and enjoyable. This is proven by the Christmas cake and a rum cake.

If you are looking for the best rum choices for your baking escapade, then look no further as I have got you covered.

Rum for baking

What Types Of Rum Are Best For Baking?

If you are familiar with wine, then this should come as no shock to you. Similar to how wine comes in red, white, and rose varieties, rum also has a few varieties that all have their own special personality. A lot of rum brands will do a collection of all types of rum, however, other brands choose to specialize in a singular type of rum and intend to perfect it instead of diversifying their products.

When it comes to deciding what rum to use in your baking, it can be difficult to narrow it down to a singular category. Similar to how you use different spices for different recipes, not all rum can be interchangeable. It all matters on what the recipe is calling for and what will go best with the flavors that the dish is trying to have. If you are trying to have a light-flavored rum cake that is not too strong, it is best to avoid navy rum as it is strong.

Dark Rum

Dark rum is fermented for a longer period of time than a lot of other rums so it has a much stronger flavor. The extended fermentation time allows for the rum to extract more flavor from the sugarcane of molasses base, which is why the flavor is a lot stronger than rum with a shorter fermentation time.

On top of this, the strong flavor is also accredited to the aging process as it is done in a charred oak barrel to add rich color and bold flavor. While white rum is aged for a year at most, dark rum is aged for a lot longer which is shown by the bolder flavor it has.

Dark rum can sometimes be known as black rum and is praised for its use in simple cocktails where the only two ingredients are the rum and a mixer. The most notable of these cocktails is arguably rum and coke, where black rum is a very popular choice.

Some notable brands of dark rum are;

  • Myer’s Original Dark Rum
  • Diplomatico Seleccion de Familia
  • Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum
Rum for baking

White Rum

White rum can also sometimes be called silver rum or clear rum. This is named based on the lack of color that the drink has. There is color in the rum before it is aged after being aged for a year at most, the color is removed by charcoal filtration.

White rum is well known for being versatile and adaptable as it can mix with other ingredients very well without overpowering the entire recipe. It is also used in a lot of cocktails to add an alcohol percentage without overwhelming the flavor of the drink.

Some notable brands of white rum are;

  • Bacardi rum
  • The Real McCoy 3-Year Silver Rum
  • Owney’s White Rum
  • Havana Club Anejo Blanco
Rum for baking

Gold Rum

This medium-bodied rum has an amber color and is a general midpoint between dark rum and white rum. The flavor is still strong and noticeable as it has been aged for a long time in wooden barrels, but it is still lighter than dark rum and not as strong.

A huge part of gold rum is the sweet flavor that is sometimes accompanied by hints of vanilla, cocoa, banana, and butterscotch.

Some notable brands of gold rum are;

  • Mount Gay Eclipse
  • Don Q Gold
  • Kirk and Sweeney XO Dominican Rum
  • Diplomatico Ambassador Selection Cast Strength Venezuelan Rum
Rum for baking

Navy Rum

Navy rum is titled differently than other rums as it does not have to do with the color of the rum. While you may be expecting a blue navy-colored drink, you would be wrong. The naming for this rum is from the rum rations that were allocated to Royal Navy ships from the years 1850-1970.

This rum was loved by sailors as it has an incredibly strong percentage which is usually between 54-57% ABV (Alcohol by volume). This rum is very strong and flavorsome and does not undergo as much filtering and refining as the other rums. The rum is typically loved for adding to tiki drinks as it is so strong that it will not be overpowered by other ingredients.

Some notable brands of navy rum are;

  • Lamb’s Navy Rum
  • Pusser’s ‘Gunpowder Proof’
  • Black Tot Last Consignment Royal Navy Rum
Rum for baking

Spiced Rum

This rum is dark amber in color and has additional flavorings added to the alcohol base. These flavorings are typically vanilla and caramel, while other spices or flavors may also be added. Alongside these flavorings, it is not uncommon to have botanicals and fruits added to the rum. Orange is a very popular flavor to be added to spiced rum.

While I may be biased due to my adoration for this rum, spiced rum is one of the tastiest rums to use in baking and can be used for cookies, cakes, and anything else you may want to add it to. Rum cakes made with spiced rum are insanely good if you have a nice rum with vanilla or caramel as the main flavoring.

Some notable brands of spiced rum are;

  • Sailor Jerry
  • Cruzan Mango Rum
  • Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  • Pirate’s Grog
Rum for baking

Rum Cakes

Rum cakes are incredibly delicious and are loved globally as they are a simple to make and tasty treat for anyone that wants to spice up their baking by adding rum. Any delicious rum cake recipe you follow will have you make a simple cake batter that anyone should be capable of making. What really sets this baked good apart from others is the rum that you add.

No matter how good you are at baking cakes, the type of rum you use will absolutely make or break your rum cake. If you use a mediocre rum, you cannot expect anything more than a mediocre baked rum cake. Whatever rum you choose will directly impact the quality of your rum cake, so believe me when I say that it is in your best interest to use your favorite or the best rum you can.

While you have many choices such as a golden rum cake, spiced rum cake, and a white rum cake, a lot of traditional rum cake recipes will have you use a dark rum as it is stronger than the others. This is great if you are wanting to bake traditional rum cakes, however, there is nothing wrong with changing the recipe and using the best rum you can think of.

Spiced rums and dark rums can be used if you want to, but there is nothing wrong with using a white tum with a rich flavor.

To make it clear, a rum cake is not just a rum-soaked cake. While there are recipes that call for soaking a cake in alcohol, like the Christmas cake, this is very different. The rum is added to the batter so it is in the recipe from the start instead of being added later on in the recipe. If you do not have any rum on hand, you can use a rum extract but this will have varying results. Rum extract will still have the rum flavor you are looking for, but it is best to use actual rum in your cake mix for a more genuine and authentic flavor.

On top of making the rum cake, you may be tempted to make a rum glaze or a rum sauce to add to your cake. When doing this, it is recommended you use the same rum as you did in the cake mix to avoid the flavors ruining the balance. If you use a rum with a spicy taste for the cake and then use a type of rum that is flavored by only oak barrels for the glaze, they will conflict and will not taste well together.

Best Rum To Use In Rum Cakes

As mentioned, rum is the main ingredient in this cake so it is of paramount importance that you choose the right rum. Without the right rum, the cake will not be good at all. While it is mostly personal preference as to what rum you like the best, it is a good idea to try some of the rums listed below first as it can be easy to choose the wrong rum for the first time. After a while of baking rum cakes, you will get more comfortable with different types of rum and you can then start to choose favorites.

Cruzan Blackstrap Rum

This rum has a very strong molasses flavor that can be easily identified. Alongside this, it has a very spicy aftertaste that will warm your mouth. Using this rum in the cake will make the entire cake taste like this yet it will be somewhat less extreme and will burn considerably less.

The amount of rum you use in your cake is up to you but with this rum, the more you use is going to have a huge impact on how much alcohol burn you feel. If you are looking to avoid the spicy aftertaste or minimize it, then using a lower quantity of this rum will help.

Brugal Gold Rum

Brugal gold is made in the Dominican Republic and is crafted very carefully by some fifth-generation makers. As the rum is gold, it will be flavorsome without being too heavy or strong. You will notice hints of vanilla, butter, and caramel in a very spicy yet smooth balance. This is an incredibly good choice for baking as the spicy flavor is present yet balanced with the other flavors.

Sailor Jerry Rum

Sailor Jerry is an incredibly popular and notorious spiced rum and is considered to be on the stronger side of the scale with a 40% ABV. It has a delicious spice to it and while it may be strong, the strength is not too overwhelming in the cake. It will add the perfect bitterness and flavor to the cake without being overly strong.

Pussers Rum British Navy

Pussers is a very dark rum, especially the bottle labeled ‘gunpowder proof’. It is strong and incredibly flavorsome and instead of choosing a sweet route, this bottle has traces of dark pepper and allspice in it. This is certainly worth a try as it is even better in reality than it sounds. This will heat up your cake to a level of perfection.

Bacardi Rum

Bacardi is easily one of the most popular brands of rum globally. It is refined and elegant and has a taste so well crafted that it is generally a crowd-pleaser as newcomers and rum aficionados can all enjoy it. The two main bottles of Bacardi are the standard bottle and the one labeled as ‘superior’. The latter is a better choice as it is smoother and lighter compared to the alternative and has an additional 2 years of aging that really helps hone the flavor.

Best rum for cake baking

Cruzan Rum

Cruzan rum is from St. Croix Island and has a fair few different flavors. You can either buy one of the flavored bottles or you can opt for a traditional choice. All of these are brilliant options, yet it is worth trying them all to see which one fits your preference the most. Cruzan is well-known for how good all of the bottles taste regardless of their flavor so do not be put off by trying multiple of their products. They will all taste amazing, you just need to find the one that suits you the most.

Whalers Rum

Whalers rum is a dark rum that is made in Hawaii. They make some different bottles with some of them being spiced and the others being dark. They generally have the flavors of vanilla and coconut present in their rum which can be really nice in a rum cake. If you are looking for the traditional rum cake flavor, then you can choose the dark rum. However, if you are feeling adventurous, the vanilla and coconut flavor is definitely worth a go.

Captain Morgan Rum

Captain Morgan is a household name for rum at this point. The company has a long list of various flavors and types of rum and almost all of them are close to perfection. While not every flavor will be for you, it is worth trying a few out. While a lot of the bottles value sweet over spicy, you can still find a good bottle of captain morgan spiced rum. The amber-colored drink is comparable to liquid gold and has one of the best balances I have tasted in a rum. This translates insanely well to a cake and will make it a very good rum cake.

Tortuga Rum

This rum is so popular that Tortuga rum cakes are their own separate recipe. While you can find recipes for a Bacardi rum cake, they will always say that you can swap the rum out for something of your choice. However, Tortuga rum is so good that you really cannot swap it for anything else if you want to make a cake similar to it. The rum is aged for 5 years before being sold to the general market and this is certainly going to help you make a premium rum cake straight from the Cayman Islands.

Tips For The Perfect Rum Cake

While a rum cake recipe is fairly straightforward, you can always find one or two things to change or do better the next time. And, one of the biggest problems that a lot of people have when making a rum cake is that the glaze does not flavor the entire cake as they would like it to.

The best way to fix this is to poke holes in your cake. Evenly spread these holes out and make sure they are wide enough to allow a liquid to flow through them. It is important to spread these out evenly as otherwise, you will have some parts of your cake that is more soaked than the other parts.

After you have poked these holes in your cake, you are going to want to slowly and gently pour the rum glaze over the cake. If you do it too fast and in one spot, it will not evenly spread at all and is likely to pool up at the bottom of your cake. Evenly pour the rum glaze over the entire cake and make sure it goes down the holes that you poked so that the entire cake can be evenly flavored.

it is a shame to go through all that effort of baking the cake just to ruin it at the last step, the last step is just as serious as the rest of the steps and should be considered essential while also being taken seriously.

Can You Get Drunk From Rum Cake?

While it may be a worry of yours, eating a rum cake is not likely to get you drunk at all. The cake batter itself will be cooked and when cooked, the alcohol content in rum mostly evaporates. The remaining alcohol content will be so thinly spread out throughout the cake that if you are only having a slice or two, you will be fine. Depending on how strong your glaze is, you are also unlikely to get drunk from this.

FAQs On Rum Cake

What rum is used for baking?

All kinds of rum are used for baking depending on what the end goal is in terms of flavors. If you are wanting a strong rum taste then a dark or navy rum will be ideal whereas, if you want vanilla and caramel to be a huge flavoring then you will want to use a spiced rum.

What kind of rum is best for rum cake?

That entirely depends on what flavors you like. For a traditional rum cake, you can use navy or dark rum. However, if you are wanting to be a bit more modern you can use a spiced rum that has hints of vanilla or caramel in them.

What happens if you bake rum?

If you bake rum, it will have a lot of its alcohol content removed due to evaporation. This is arguably a good thing as it allows you to maintain the rum flavor without getting drunk. If you want to get drunk, you could always have a glass of rum on the side of your rum cake.