This recipe comes from my cookbook, Coconuts and Collards. When my friends found out I was writing it, several asked if Mami’s rum cake would be in it. And so it is. Her original version uses a boxed cake mix. It’s perfectly balanced and is my favorite cake to this day.
With the help of chef, friend, and mentor Kathy Gunst, I adapted this recipe so it could be from-scratch; that version lives in my cookbook. The recipe below is Mami's. —Von Diaz
Test Kitchen Notes
To read about the story behind this recipe, see the personal essay. —The Editors
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a Bundt pan with cooking spray and sprinkle in the walnuts.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle atachment or a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, combine the cake mix and pudding mix, then add the butter and eggs as directed by the instructions on the cake mix box. Add the rum. Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes.
Bake for 33 to 35 minutes, until the cake is pale golden in color, slightly risen, and a toothpick or cake skewer comes out clean when poked in the center of the cake.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the rum glaze: Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the glaze thickens just slightly.
While the cake is still warm, poke holes throughout the cake using the same toothpick or skewer you used to test the cake for doneness. Pour the hot glaze on top; don’t worry if the cake doesn’t take in the glaze immediately. It takes at least 10 minutes for the glaze to be absorbed.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow to soak for at least 3 hours or overnight. Invert onto a plate, then slice and serve.