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Spookie is my brother’s godmother, and has been a part of my life ever since I was born.  A traveller, adventurer, and always filled with stories and a wink, I remember her teaching me how to cut cards during gin rummy and calling me a “Cheatin’ Charlie” if I ever won a board game.  Her humor and wit are only out-classed by her heart, and her deep abiding passion for all creatures, including two adorable rescue dogs named Minky and Scallywag, has always had a great effect on me.

Spookie didn’t bake or cook, but she did have one go-to recipe: her rum cake. This was the most exotic, luscious, delicious cake that ever captured an eight year-old’s mind. She visited my family for a weekend while I was recipe testing, so it was the perfect opportunity to pick her brain for details.  When I asked her how she came across the recipe, her answer, like almost everything about Spookie, was unexpected. “Well, when I was a black jack dealer in Vegas, I had this room mate named Wendy.  She’d trot this rum cake out all the time, I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing she could make.  Then she hooked up with my boyfriend, so I started referring to it as ‘Slutty Wendy’s Rum Cake.’”

Here I thought it was an old Irish or Aussie recipe passed down over the generations.

Using box cake mix, pudding straight from the pack, and a few other odds and ends, this cake is sticky, sweet, and completely delicious.



For one 9 1/2 inch bundt cake

1 box yellow cake mix, sifted

1 3.5 ounce premade pack of vanilla pudding (like a pudding cup you’d have as a snack)

4 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark rum

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon rum


4 ounces unsalted butter

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white granulated sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum


Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, sift the cake mix. Separately, whisk together the pudding, eggs, water, oil, and dark rum. Add the wet ingredients to the cake mix and mix until just blended, then pour half into the bundt.  Add the cocoa and rum to the other half of the batter, stir to blend and pour into the bunt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a serving plate.

While the cake is sitting in the pan, make the glaze. Combine butter, water, vanilla extract, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Drizzle the glaze over top and sides, while warm. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.