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Cuba is by far one of my favorite places to visit. Say what you want about the food, but the baking is absolutely divine, and the rum? Even better. So we combined baking and rum for a delicious win-win and made this awesome triple layer Cuban rum cake. And you can too!
Make a Delicious Cuban Rum Cake [Triple Layer!]
This recipe is so easy to make and you’ll come out looking like a baking superstar. The secret? Boxed cake mix! It helps it come out perfect every time and can be whipped up in no time before your next event.
On the surface it looks like a regular old vanilla cake. But the combination of French vanilla cake mix (not just regular cake!), rum, and homemade boozy frosting come together to make one of the most extraordinary adult desserts you can dream of.
What’s the Deal With Cuban Rum?
As a Canadian, Cuban run means Havana Club every time. If you live in a country where Havana Club is sold, I highly recommend swapping the Bacardi Black with Havana Club 7 Anos.
Sadly, it’s not as easy for you to go get any Cuban rum stateside. That’s why we used Bacardi Black in this recipe instead.
But wait, isn’t there ‘The Real Havana Club’ rum here in the US? Before you go running out to grab that instead, just know that brand is also owned by Bacardi and is still Puerto Rican rum. Fine if you prefer it, but it’s not distilled in Cuba.
Bacardi was originally from Cuba so it’s definitely a great substitute and tastes great in this recipe.
Cuban Rum Cake [Triple Layer!] Ingredients and Supplies
Cuban Rum Cake
Makes 1 9in round 3 layer cake
Bake time : 25-30 mins
Cool time : 45 mins
Decorating time : 30 mins
Prep time : 15 mins
2 boxes french vanilla cake mix
6 large eggs
2 C whole milk
4 tbsp Bacardi Black Rum
1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
3 – 9in round cake pans
3 – 10 in round cake board
2 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
5 C powdered sugar
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp Bacardi Black Rum
4 tbsp Malibu Coconut Rum
1 disposable piping bag
1 large piping bag fitted with star tip
3 C Toasted Coconut
Alcohol Used in This Recipe
We used two different types of alcohol to get a rich, cream, and tropical flavor. 4 tablespoons of Bacardi Black rum gets added to the cake batter and baked in. Then you’ll also need 4 additional tablespoons of the Bacardi Black rum, plus 4 tablespoons of Malibu coconut rum to add to the frosting.
Cake Ingredients and Supplies
The cake is pretty simple to make since we’re using 2 boxes of French vanilla cake mix. By making it with 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of sweet cream butter, instead of the regular instructions, you’ll never be able to tell this came from a box. The only thing that’s the same as the package are the eggs; six large ones, to be exact.
You’ll also need three 9 inch round cake pans and three 10 inch round cake boards.
Frosting Ingredients and Supplies
The frosting calls for another 2 cups of sweet cream butter that’s been softened to room temperature. You’ll also need 5 cups of powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar), and 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.
The frosting mixes best when whipped with an electric stand or hand mixed, but you can do it by hand if you’re willing. For best results, you’ll also want a piping bag fitted with a star tip, but it’s not a must if you want to ice by hand.
Finally, 3 cups of toasted coconut are also used to decorate the cake.
How to Make This Cuban Rum Cake [Triple Layer!]
- Vanilla Cake
- 2 boxes french vanilla cake mix
- 6 large eggs
- 2 C whole milk
- 4 tbsp Bacardi Black Rum
- 1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 3 - 9in round cake pans
- 3 - 10 in round cake board
- 2 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
- 5 C powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 4 tbsp Bacardi Black Rum
- 4 tbsp Malibu Coconut Rum
- 1 disposable piping bag
- 1 large piping bag fitted with star tip
- 3 C Toasted Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the cake pans with pam baking spray
Using a standing or hand mixer, beat the cake mix, butter, milk, Rum and eggs until combined
Divide the batter between the 3 pans and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick
comes out clean
Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely
Using a standing mixer with whisk attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, heavy whipping
cream, rum, and malibu until combined, smooth and holds a peak
Scoop 2 C frosting into the piping bag
Remove the cakes from the cake pans and place onto the cake boards
Using a cake leveler, remove the tops from the cakes to make into a even layer
Using 1 cake layer, scoop 1 C of frosting onto the bottom layer of cake and smooth evenly
Carefully place the second cake layer on top of the first layer of frosting
Scoop another cup of frosting onto the second layer and smooth evenly
Carefully place the last cake layer on top
Place the last cake layer on top and using the frosting, frost entire cake and smooth with a cake
Coat the entire bottom of the cake with the toasted coconut
Using the piping bag, pipe dollops of frosting around the edge of the cake
Sprinkle some toasted coconut around the top cake
How to Keep Cake From Sticking to the Cake Pans
A lot of people have good luck spraying their baking pans with a spray oil like pam. If you go that route, make sure it’s a generous spray so nothing sticks.
Personally, I like to grease my pans a bit differently. First, thoroughly coat the entire pan in butter. You can use the sweet cream butter used in this recipe if you want. Then sprinkle a generous amount of flour in the pan, turning it to coat evenly. Shake out the excess flour.
Shortening also works great, sometimes even better, than butter.
If you do this properly nothing will ever stick. It also helps the cake rise more evenly. If you want an extra sweet bottom, sugar can be used instead of flour too.
Finally, parchment paper also works well. First grease the sides of the pan, but not the bottom. Then cut a circle from parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan (use the pan to trace the size first and then cut).
The parchment paper method is my go to if I really need my cake to stay intact and come out well, like with a layer cake. So it would be a great option for this recipe!
Can I Add Food Coloring to the Icing?
Absolutely! If you want it all one color, just add it in while you’re mixing your frosting. For multiple colors (which looks great on a triple layer cake like this one), separate your icing into equal parts in smaller bowls and then all the color to each.
If you’re decorating with piping bags I recommend having one for each color to make things easier.
Just make sure you use gel food coloring, not the liquid kind, or it could mess up the consistency of your icing.
Help, My Frosting is Too Thick or Thin!
This can easily happen depending on how you measure your ingredients. Dry ingredients like powdered sugar should really be weighed since they can be scooped heavier and lighter depending on how much air is in it.
To thicken frosting, carefully add additional powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. Mix well between each addition.
Make sure your icing has had a chance to whip up before you add more sugar.
To thin too thick frosting, add a bit more whipping cream (or rum!) to the mixture. Add smaller amounts (about ½ teaspoon at a time) and mix well each time.
The texture should be quite firm, so don’t add more liquid unless you feel it is truly necessary.
Can I Make This Cuban Rum Cake Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! You can make it a couple days ahead of your event. Personally, I like to refrigerate my frosting before icing my cakes so it’s always handy to make it in advance.
If storing a full cake is tough, you could prepare the cake and frosting 1-3 days before you plan to serve the cake and keep them separate. Then decorate shortly before the party.