Recipe: Ainsley Harriott's Butter Rum Cake


Ainsley Harriott’s Butter Rum Cake is perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

"This butter rum cake was made for me in the Caribbean and I just had to recreate it when I returned home," buzzes chef Ainsley Harriott. "It's quite possibly the best rum cake ever!

"It calls for a packet of instant vanilla pudding, which is quite usual in the Caribbean and America, but not so easy to get hold of here. You can use instant custard powder or an instant dessert mix like butterscotch Angel Delight, instead. Yes, I know it sounds strange - but it really does work!"


(Makes 8-10 slices)

125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the tin

250g self-raising flour, plus extra for flouring the tin

60g walnuts, chopped

30g cornflour

3tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

4 eggs

200ml whole milk

200ml dark rum

1tbsp vanilla extract

6tbsp vegetable oil

300g granulated sugar

1 x 75g packet instant vanilla pudding mix

Creme fraiche or ice cream, to serve

For the rum syrup:

125g unsalted butter

75ml water

150g granulated sugar

A good pinch of salt

100ml dark rum


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

2. Grease and flour a 27-cm bundt pan or fluted cake tin and sprinkle the bottom with the chopped walnuts.

3. In a large bowl, combine the self-raising flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, rum, vanilla extract and three tablespoons of the vegetable oil.

5. Cream the sugar and butter in a food mixer fitted with a balloon whisk until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the remaining three tablespoons of vegetable oil and continue to mix for a few minutes on a medium-low speed, until the mixture looks like sand. Add the instant pudding mix and the egg mixture, scraping any mixture from the sides back down into the bowl with a spatula, and mix again on medium speed until well combined. The cake batter should be thin and smooth.

6. Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

7. Meanwhile, make the rum syrup. In a saucepan set over a medium-high heat, combine the butter, water, sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the rum. Set aside to cool.

8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes. Loosen the cake slightly from the tin (inverting it onto a plate works best), then place it back in the tin. Poke several holes into the top of the cake with a skewer to help the syrup seep in, then slowly pour half of the rum syrup over the cake. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter and slowly pour the remaining syrup over the cake until it is all absorbed.

9. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or ice cream. Delicious and naughty... enjoy!

Ainsley's Caribbean Kitchen by Ainsley Harriott, photography by Dan Jones, is published by Ebury Press. Available now.

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