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Rum Cake By Ruthie


A month or two ago, Cathy P., who used to live in West Feliciana and was in high school with me, sent me a message on Facebook to say she had bought The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, and how much the book meant to her. She’s now living in a small town in Illinois. Her book club chose Little Way to read and to talk about (by the way, lots of people tell me this is the perfect book club book). Their meeting was tonight. Early this afternoon, I received a FB message from Cathy, saying that she wanted to cook one of Ruthie’s favorite desserts for the meeting, and did I have any suggestions.

“She was known for her rum cake,” I told Cathy. “But I’m in Baton Rouge now, and I’m not going to be home in time to send you the recipe. Why don’t you call my mother?”

So she did. Mam was delighted to help, and gave her the recipe. Cathy baked the cake, which you see above. My mother called to see how the cake turned out, and caught the ladies in the middle of their meeting, which, says Cathy, wowed them all. “She made the evening,” Cathy messaged.

This means a lot to me, but you really cannot imagine how much it means to my mother and father that people all over take such pleasure in reading about their daughter. Here, by the way, is Ruthie’s rum cake recipe. It is super-easy, and tastes much, much better than anything this simple to make has a right to. Try it and see; it will become one of your favorites too.



1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 box yellow butter cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup light rum

4 eggs


1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light rum

1 cup water

Prepare bundt pan and sprinkle nuts in bottom. Combine remaining ingredients and stir in mixer 2-3 minutes. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes.

Boil glaze about two minutes. Pour most of glaze over hot cake and let stand in pan for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and pour remaining glaze over top of cake.

UPDATE: Here’s Caroline Langston’s wonderful NPR commentary about her Southern mama’s rum cake. Is rum cake a Southern thing? The recipe looks to be exactly the same as Ruthie’s, except Mother Langston used dark rum, not light. I love me some dark rum.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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