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merengue rum cake

Cuban Rum Cake

This Cuban Rum Cake Recipe is going to walk you step by step to creating a delicious sweet treat right at home.

This cake is an ode to the birthday cakes we grew up with. I remember being a little girl and going with my mom to pick up the cakes at the home of a family friend. I couldn’t see much because the white cake boxes were always stacked on each other and towered over me. But the smell is
unforgettable! It smelled like butter, rum, vanilla and sugar.

These cakes would later be the reason to catapult her business into a Miami empire and make these cakes a staple at every party. I’m sure most of the Miami natives know which OG Cake Boss we are talking about.

If you grew up around here, they were absolute guaranteed to be at any and all occasions. You knew that you were going to get a slice of that rum-soaked deliciousness. Always moist and always decorated with buttercream or a merengue so shiny you can almost see your reflection.

This Rum Cake is worthy of a special occasion, birthday or if you need to take a special dessert to dinner. The Rum Cake recipe is pretty easy to follow, and the Abuela’s Merengue Recipe we put up is the perfect pairing. Just a little torching for that brown coloring and you have absolute cake nirvana.

Our Tips for Our Cuban Rum Cake

BUT if you don’t feel you have the time, or are still too nervous to try making homemade Merengue- you can just go with any store bought frosting of your choice. Even better, you can opt for just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or even just serve as is.

Also for our new modern Rum Cake, we added just enough syrup to add flavor and keep the cake moist, so you don’t get so much of that overwhelming rum flavor the traditional cake had. The cake is so delicious on its own you don’t even need it, but for me the syrup is nostalgic.

Years later I smell this cake and it brings me right back to childhood.

Merengue Rum Cake

Recipe by Abuelas Cuban CounterCourse: DessertsCuisine: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Ingredients for the cake

  • 2 cups of cake flour

  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature

  • 3 whole egg, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup of rum or guayabitas del pinar liquor

  • 1 cup of sour cream, room temperature

  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter

  • 1 cup of rum

  • 3/4 cup of sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla

  • Abuela’s Merengue or Your Favorite Store Bought Frosting, or Just Powdered Sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two, 8 inch cake pans.
  • In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, with a handheld mixer, beat together the butter, salt and sugar until creamed and fluffy.making rum cake
  • Add in the eggs one at a time. Then add in your rum, followed by the vanilla then the sour cream. (the mixture may look curdled especially if one of the ingredients was too cold when it was mixed in. It’s OK. Keep going.)
  • Add the flour mixture. Beat together just until it comes together. When there are still small clumps of flour mix with a rubber spatula and Do not over mix so the batter stays light.
    making rum cake
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • While the cake bakes you can make the syrup. In a small sauce pot melt half the butter. Add the rum and sugar on high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil. Simmer on low for 15 minutes until the
    sugar is dissolved and the color deepens.
  • Add the remaining butter and whisk in until completely emulsified.
  • Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Set aside at room temperature.
  • As soon as the cake is out of the oven brush with 1-2 tablespoons of the rum syrup. Wait 30 minutes, invert the cake and brush the other side with another tablespoon of syrup. Let sit for a few minutes then frost the cake.
  • To Assemble
  • Get your Abuela’s Merengue, buttercream or powdered sugar ready.
  • Place one cake face down, and cover just the top with your frosting of choice. Layer the second cake face up, and proceed to frost all over.
  • If you are using Merengue, especially OUR Merengue, we suggest slightly torching all around. It is a more dramatic presentation, and the char helps bring a great balance.


  • You will not use all the syrup for the two cakes. Save the rest for another time. It will keep in the freezer for a month.
  • Taking out your butter, eggs, and sour cream a little while before mixing will help it blend smoothly faster.