Although we always say ‘no gifts’, it is kinda nice ans sweet when someone brings you a little something when out celebrating your birthday with friends. And sometimes a little something can reveal itself to be a big experience. During my last birthday my friend Lisa gave me a small boxed Tortuga Rum Cake with coconut. It was really unexpected sentiment but so appreciated.

I knew of these cakes but I had never tried them. OMG it was so freaking awesome, perhaps one of the best cakes I have ever tasted in my life. Just soaking in rum! So for once, when the Creative Cooking Crew’s October theme – cooking with spirits – was announced, it was a no brainer decision: I had to recreate my own Caribbean Rum Cake with Coconut.


Traditionally, the real recipe from the Cayman Islands is made with Tortuga Rum. Tortuga rum is not native to the island, it is actually a blend of Jamaican Rum and Barbados Rum. The rum is blended in a distillery in the Cayman Islands. The company was started by a Jamaican pilot working for Cayman Airways. The Tortuga rum cake was created by the pilot’s wife in 1987. The recipe itself is a secret of course.

So I stuck with the tried and true common Tortuga copycat recipe found all over the internet. The only change I did was to add shredded coconut to the batter.

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So how did it turn out? My Caribbean Rum Cake with Coconut was absolutely wonderful and so boozy. Friends and co-workers tasted it and it was declared a hit all round. How did it compare to the boxed cake I received as a gift? The gifted one was better, truly in a class of its own. So basically I leave you no choice: you must make this cake to taste AND get your hands on the real deal to compare for yourself. Sorry!

Caribbean Rum Cake with Coconut


For The Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter cut into bits
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 3 1/2 ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup golden rum
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup desicated coconut

Rum soaking Glaze

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, and 3 tablespoons oil. On low speed combine ingredients until the mix is the consistency of cornmeal.
  • Spray or oil a large Bundt pan and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the bottom evenly.
  • To the dry mix add the pudding mix, milk, eggs, rum, 1/2 cup oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Combine on medium speed with electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes, scrape down the bowl halfway through, until the batter is very smooth. Mix in the coconut quickly with the mixer.
  • Pour into Bundt pan and bake for about 55 minutes- until fully golden and tester comes out clean and cake springs back. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Rum Soaking Glaze

  • Combine butter, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly and reduce to a simmer until sugar is dissolved and syrup is a little thicker. Remove from the heat and add the rum and vanilla, mix to combine.
  • Pour a little bit of the hot syrup at a time on top of the cooling cake, allowing it time to soak in. Continue until all of the syrup is added.
  • Cool and leave in pan overnight covered. Turning cake out gently onto a serving plate.

Thank you Lazaro Cooks and Foodalogue for this month’s fun challenge. Check out what the other members have created on our Pinterest board by clicking on the banner below.

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