Coconut Rum Cake (Gluten free, Refined sugar free)

A few years ago we had taken a cruise that stopped at the Bahamas for a day. Upon embarking, We caught a local taxi and went exploring the place on our own. The island was so beautiful with pretty colorful houses, lots of coconut trees and lovely beaches. Then we also went to the markets and shops area looking through handicrafts and other ethnic items like pottery, etc. Our cab driver was a wonderful guy who also worked as a guide so was really knowledgeable about all the unique historic sites as well as specialty items that the island was famous for.  I had to of course ask him about foods!  And he took us to a local joint for lunch where we had tasty caribbean jerk chicken. Then he told us about Rum cake and how we absolutely needed to get that. He took us to a famous albeit small family owned cake shop which sold these coconut rum cakes. We were intrigued enough to check it out and when we sampled the cakes, we were sold. they were simply delicious – mildly sweet with flavors of coconut and a slight flavor of rum. We bought a few of them – for ourselves and for friends back home!

Last month out of nowhere my son randomly said that he was reminded of these rum cakes. And reminisced about how delicious they were!  Since his 21 st birthday was just coming up, I made a note to self that I should try to make this cake for his special  birthday! I always liked to bake the cake myself for all our birthdays. And every year I try to bake a different kind of cake. Since 21 is also the age when they can drink alcohol, this would be just perfect! So that was it….I spent the next couple days googling and looking through pinterest for Coconut Rum cake recipes!  Unfortunately, all the recipes that came up in my searches were made from vanilla pudding mix, vegetable oil and other horrible stuff! Ugh! I knew these could not be the authentic caribbean recipe. Finally I found a recipe on youtube, by Lovely Mommy TV which seemed authentic even though it used some processed ingredients like white flour, vegetable oil and white sugar.  So I decided to use that recipe as a base and create my clean version!

My ‘go to’ gluten free flour is ‘King Arthur Measure for Measure‘ since it works great as a replacement for white flour measure for measure! All the recipes I saw for the rum cake also used a Bundt pan and so I went and got one!  Since this cake was for a special birthday, I also wanted to do some decorations on top so I went and got some fondant and cake decorations!

The original recipe called for coconut rum and a spiced rum. I was able to find only Caribbean coconut rum and could not find a spiced rum. So I used only that and added a hint of spice by using allspice. I also used this coconut extract. The cake turned out fabulous! My son said it tasted exactly like the one we had in the Bahamas! 🙂

Coconut Rum Cake (Gluten free, Refined sugar free)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
A 'clean' version of the famous Coconut Rum cake that is absolutely delicious and just as flavorful as the authentic version!
  • 2½ cups King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour
  • 4 tsp Aluminum free baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1½ cups unrefined cane sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (I used Kerry Gold grass fed butter), softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut cream (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup caribbean coconut rum
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • ½ tsp ground all spice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or you can use avocado oil)
  • 4 large eggs
For rum glaze(optional):
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp caribbean coconut rum
  • Shredded coconut for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Grease an 8 inch Bundt pan with olive oil. And dust lightly with the gluten free flour. Keep aside.
  3. In a large tray or a sheet of parchment paper, mix the flour, baking powder and salt using a spatula and keep aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the softened butter, and the sugar. Mix on medium speed if using stand mixer (or using an electric mixer) until well mixed. Then add the coconut cream, the rum, the vanilla extract, coconut extract and the allspice. Continue mixing for another 4-5 minutes until it gets creamy. Now add the oil and continue mixing till it gets creamy and smooth. Next add the eggs two at a time and continuing to mix until you get the creamy consistency back. Finally add the flour mixture in batches and continue to mix until all the flour mixture is used up. The final batter should be fluffy and creamy.
  5. Add batter to prepared Bundt pan (Pan will be ¾ th full and while baking will rise to full volume of the pan)
  6. Bake at 325 F for about 45-50 minutes (check for doneness using a toothpick at the end of 40 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter)
  7. Let cake cool for 15 minutes and then before releasing it, try to run a knife around the edges slowly first before flipping it carefully onto a plate or a cake stand.
For making rum glaze:
  1. Heat the sugar and water in a small sauce pan on medium heat until the water starts boiling. Then stir to dissolve the sugar. Let boil for 3-4 minutes after that until you get a thick syrup. Our the heat off and add the rum. Keep aside.
  2. After the cake has cooled off, poke holes in the cake using a tooth pick and pour the glaze all over it.
  3. Decorate with shredded coconut on top!
The rum glaze is optional. It gives more of a rum flavor to the cake and makes it more sweet. The cake will taste good even without it but will be a mildly sweet cake without the glaze.

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