Each Thanksgiving, I pick one audacious cake recipe to try. I don’t know if this tradition is my inner-child rebelling against the 6 pies I already have to make, but regardless, it is always an interesting experiment. I was inspired this year by some fancy rum that J brought over one day, and when I saw a recipe for Pumpkin-Rum cake, I knew I’d found a winner. However, as with any experiment, I had a few surprises on the way to boozy-cake-happiness. In fact, it turned into such a comedy of errors,  I am glad I had no witnesses to my calamity, lest I lose some cool-mom points for simple hilarity.

Here’s the recipe:


  • 3/4  cup  chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4  cup  firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 1  cup  unsalted butter, softened
  • 2  cups  granulated sugar
  • 2  cups  firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5  large eggs
  • 2  cups  canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1/4  cup  dark rum
  • 3  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 3/4  cup  firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  whipping cream
  • 1/4  cup  unsalted butter
  • 1  teaspoon  dark rum
  • 1  cup  plus 2 Tbsp. sifted powdered sugar


  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir in 1/4 cup melted butter. Use fingers to pinch streusel into big clumps. Set aside. Seems easy enough right?

    •  Beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add 2 cups each granulated and dark brown sugar, beating at medium speed 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Also easy…but little did I know…

    • Stir together pumpkin and 1/4 cup rum in a bowl. No one will know if you take a little nip for yourself…

      • Combine flour and next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.

      • Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with pumpkin, beginning and ending with flour.

      • Pour half of batter into a well-greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle batter with streusel; top with remaining batter. This is where things may have gone wrong. I have a standard Bundt pan, which I assumed was 12 cups. I am still unsure of this, and do not care enough to figure it out.

      At this point, I should have bleeping known better.

      • Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 28 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool completely. About 15 minutes into cooking time, the inevitable happened. My pan overflowed, creating a burned mess in my oven. How did I deal? I shoved a cookie sheet under the cake pan and let it be. I spent too much time on this to give up. I am nothing if not stubborn.

      As soon as I saw this freak-show, I was nearly ready to throw in the towel. However, I got a sharp knife, did a little creative trimming around the edges, and the inverted it onto a cake plate. The result was nothing short of a miracle:

      • On to icing, because what the rum cake needs is certainly more rum…Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, whipping cream, and 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tsp. rum. Place powdered sugar in a bowl; pour brown sugar mixture over powdered sugar, stirring with a wire whisk 1 minute or until smooth. Let cool 20 to 25 minutes or until lukewarm. Again, no one will know if you happen to sample the rum…just to make sure it hasn’t spoiled or anything….

      1. Spoon icing over cooled cake, and let stand until icing is firm. Exercise some portion control, if you can. As you can see, I did not.

      Overall, things with this cake did not go as planned, but the end result was DANG TASTY!!! You should try it…just hide the rum bottle when you’re finish and no one will be the wiser.

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