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The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has the perfect boozy cake for Christmas that comes together easily for a decadent dessert. Bonus, there are a couple of cheat ingredients that make the whole baking experience even quicker.

Ree Drummond attends The Pioneer Woman Magazine Celebration in 2017
Ree Drummond | Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

Ree Drummond’s Christmas rum cake ingredients make it easy

The list of ingredients for Drummond’s Christmas rum cake isn’t lengthy and there are a couple of power players that make the job even easier: yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding.

The cake mix moves the baking process along just a bit quicker than having to make a cake from scratch and the pudding ensures the finished product is moist and delicious.

In a blog post for the Christmas Rum Cake recipe on her Pioneer Woman website, Drummond explains the holiday history of the cake.

“This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, one she prepares every Christmas, and while it contains some ingredients some might find patently objectionable and morally repugnant, I have absolutely no problem embarrassing myself by eating piece after piece each and every year,” she writes. “It’s but one in a sea of rum cake recipes, but because it’s so easy and so delicious, I feel compelled to share.”

The Pioneer Woman’s rum cake recipe

Mixing up this cake is as easy as adding everything except the nuts and mixing it all together. The nuts are added to the bundt cake before pouring in the cake batter so that when it’s turned out, there’s a glorious pecan topping. Of course, the whole thing is taken to the next level with a sticky glaze that includes — of course — more rum!

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 box (about 18 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 1 package (3.5 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (dark or light)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • brown sugar (optional)

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Chop the pecans and add to the cake pan, adding a sprinkle of brown sugar, if desired.

Combine the cake ingredients by whisking together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and rum, then pour the batter over the nuts in the pan. Smooth the top and bake for 1 hour.

As the cake finishes the last 10 minutes of baking time, melt the butter in a saucepan and add water and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, then turn off the burner and add the rum, stirring to combine.

When the cake is done, pour 1/3 of the glaze mixture over the cake and allow it to sit and soak for 5 minutes.


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Invert the cake onto a plate and poke it with a fork or wooden skewer so the remaining glaze can sink in even more (she demonstrates this step in her pumpkin rum cake video above). Drizzle the glaze over the top.

Drummond advises taking your time with this step. “The whole glazing process should take five to ten minutes or so. Be patient. You really want the glaze to sink into that cake,” she writes.

The cake should be served at room temperature.

Many fans commented with high praise for the decadent rum cake, with some offering up a few small tweaks. One commenter noted the use of chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding, while another said they sprinkled sweetened coconut over the top of the cake and used coconut pudding instead of vanilla.