Food & Drink

Mami’s Rum Cake

Just eight ingredients make dessert magic

“When my friends found out I was writing this cookbook, several asked if Mami’s rum cake would be in it,” writes Von Diaz of her Puerto Rican mother’s beloved cake in her new cookbook, Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South. “And so it is.”

Here, Diaz shares her mother’s original recipe, which uses a boxed cake mix. “I highly recommend this recipe if you need to make something quickly and easily or aren’t very comfortable baking,” she writes.


  • Mami's Rum Cake

    • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

    • 1 box butter-flavor cake mix

    • 1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix

    • Unsalted butter (amount specified by cake mix)

    • Eggs (amount specified by cake mix)

    • ¼ cup white rum

  • Rum Glaze

    • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter

    • 1 cup light brown sugar

    • ½ cup white rum

    • ¼ cup water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a Bundt pan with cooking spray and sprinkle in the walnuts.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment 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.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and level it with a spatula.

  4. 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.

  5. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

From Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South by Von Diaz. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the University Press of Florida.