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Caribbean rum cake is a dessert that always reminds me of vacation. I first tried this yummy dessert while traveling the Caribbean on a cruise many moons ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This made from scratch rum cake recipe really makes you feel like you are somewhere in the tropics. The traditionally rich dessert features lots of butter and sugar, so it’s not something you will want to eat on a regular basis. So in honor of September being is National Cholesterol Awareness month, I decided to make a better-for-you version of this traditionally decadent dessert, with some healthy swaps, including Mazola® Corn Oil! A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com
If you’d never had Caribbean rum cake before, you have definitely been missing out! You can almost feel the island breeze when you make this recipe. The cake is quite dense, almost like a pound cake. After it’s baked, it’s soaked with a rum and sugar syrup that takes the cake to the next level. Can you say drool-worthy? OH. YES!
I’m always looking for ways to reduce the saturated fat and sugar content of Caribbean and Latin foods, because they can tend to be over the top on both fronts. To lighten up my recipe, I swapped out half of the sugar with unsweetened apple sauce, and used white whole wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. I also halved the amount of butter in the recipe, and replace it with Mazola Corn Oil. The result was a perfectly sweet, moist cake, that is way better-for-you and just as delicious!
Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses include baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
It’s easy to reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in your meals easily with simple swaps, such as substituting butter with Mazola Corn Oil. I’m a big fan of swapping butter with corn oil, I think the result comes out even better. Butter tends to make cakes dryer and more crumbly, and I’m a fan of super tender and moist cakes, and corn oil helps me obtain that result in the final product. Bonus, this Caribbean rum cake has all the flavor and moisture you’d expect from the traditional recipe, but without a ton of saturated fat! I’d say that’s a winning combination! So next time you’re in the mood for a tropical escape (on a budget), definitely give this recipe a try!
For more better-for-you recipe inspo using Mazola Corn Oil, check out the Mazola website. I’d love to hear how you make healthy swaps in your recipes!
Caribbean Spiced Rum Cake
Caribbean Rum Cake
- 2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding not sugar free
- ½ cup Mazola Corn Oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- ¾ cup granulated cane sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup 2% milk
- ½ cup dark rum (spiced or unspiced)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp rum extract optional
- ¼ dark rum (spiced or unspiced)
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Place the flour, pudding mix, apple sauce, sugar, baking powder, salt, corn oil and butter in a mixing bowl, and mix at medium speed until everything is thoroughly combined and the mixture looks like wet sand.
Beat in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl thoroughly to ensure everything is mixed.
Stir in the rum, vanilla, and rum extract, if using.
Spray a 10- to 12-cup non-stick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Add a bit of flour into the pan and turn to coat thoroughy. This will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula.
Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes. When done a long toothpick or wooden skewer will come out clean when inserted into the center. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for a bit while you make the syrup.
To Make the Rum Syrup:
In a saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients, except the vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook (without stirring) for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.
Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and soak in the syrup. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake and invert onto your serving plate. If the cake won’t release, don't force it. Place it in the oven, turn the oven to 350°F, and warm for about 10 minutes, to soften the sticky syrup. (If your oven is one that preheats by making its upper element red-hot, place the cake on a lower rack and tent it with aluminum foil to protect it.) Remove the cake from the oven, and tip it onto the serving plate.
Wrap securely (or place under a cake cover) and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.
Using the full amount of syrup in the recipe will make a traditional rum-soaked rum cake, one that’s incredibly moist. For a less “rummy” cake, one with a more standard cake texture, make and use just half the amount of syrup.
Want to make a non-alcoholic version of this cake? Here’s how:
For cake with rich, buttery, vanilla flavor and undertones of rum — Cake: Substitute water for the rum, and use 1 teaspoon rum extract. Syrup: Substitute water for the rum, and add 1/2 teaspoon rum extract when you add the vanilla.