Brown Sugar-Rum Cake

This ultra-tender sheet cake makes a great birthday cake for rum lovers. The caramel sweetness of the dark brown sugar in the cake pairs well with the rum in the rich and creamy Simple Rum Frosting. If you'd prefer to omit the alcohol altogether, replace the rum with vanilla extract or try a cream cheese frosting.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 55 mins
18 servings


Brown Sugar-Rum Cake

  • Shortening

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Simple Rum Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons rum

Additional Ingredient

  • Garnish: 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (with shortening) and lightly flour a 13- x 9-inch pan. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

  2. Beat brown sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilkto butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan.

  3. Bake at 350°F for 32 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

  4. Make the Simple Rum Frosting: Beat 3 cups powdered sugar and 3/4 cup softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 Tbsp. rum. Spread top of cake with frosting; sprinkle with pecans.

    Brown Sugar-Rum Cake
    Southern Living

Chef's Note

Just 2 Tbsp. of rum in the frosting gives this whole cake a burst of flavor. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute Cream Cheese Frosting.

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