Coconut Rum Cake

The cake bakes right to the edge (pictured above) of a 6-cup pan which can make some bakers a bit nervous. If that’s you, bump up to a 7-cup bundt pan. I’ve also had success using a 1-lb loaf pan (8.5-inch x 4-1/2-inch) for this cake, but you will need to bake the cake significantly longer for the middle to set.


Rum Syrup:

  • 1/3 cup / 65g sugar
  • 2/3 cup / 160ml rum

The Cake:

  • 9 tablespoons / 135g unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for the pan
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups / 140g finely grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups / 300g sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups / 190g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon / 4g baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon / 3g fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml buttermilk
  • 1- ounce / 28g freeze-dried raspberries, crushed a bit
  • Powered sugar, for serving


Make the Rum Syrup:

  1. Combine the 1/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in the rum and allow to cool to room temperature while you work on the rest of the cake.

Make the Rum Cake:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, allow your butter and eggs to come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350F with a rack in the center.
  2. Prepare the pan. Butter and flour (or coconut flake) a 6-cup bundt pan (see the head notes for alternate pan size ideas). Set prepared pan aside.

  3. Combine the coconut and a big spoonful of the sugar in a food processor (or blender). Pulse until the coconut breaks down into tiny dry flecks. Stop short of the coconut breaking down into any sort of paste. You’re after a coarse coconut meal texture. Whisk this coconut mixture in a medium bowl along with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Make the batter. Using a mixer (or by hand), beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continue to mix until uniform. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times along the way. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until the batter is uniform. Transfer 2/3 of the batter immediately to the pan, sprinkle with the raspberries, and then use a fork to press the berries into the batter a bit, you want to make sure they are pushed into the batter, so you don’t end up with any dry pockets. Cover the berries with the remaining cake batter, and rap on the counter a few times to knock out any air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester to the center comes out clean. If you’re baking in a loaf pan, this can take quite a bit more time. When done baking, remove from the oven, wait five minutes, and turn out onto a cake rack arranged over a rimmed baking sheet. Brush, with the cake right side up, all over with the rum syrup. I usually do this in two batches, letting the cake absorb the first half of the syrup first. Wait ten minutes, then apply the rest of the syrup.
  6. Serve dusted generously with powdered sugar.
  7. This cake stores beautifully, wrapped and refrigerated, for days. Bring back to room temperature to serve, redusting with more powdered sugar if needed.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 12


Serves 12.