Rum, Rum, Rum

My husbands birthday each year is….hmmm…difficult. I want to celebrate, and he wants to pretend its a normal day. I won, I think this year, in a quiet, but fun with the most awesome present I could think to buy him. An enormous hooded BBQ that I’m pretty sure he could cook me in….

I spent a couple of weeks wondering what to do about a birthday cake. He only has a few favourite things, one being Bundeberg Rum (yes, I married a rum drinker….but at least we don’t have to worry about each other drinking our own booze!) and another being chocolate.

So I started wondering… could I make the most amazing chocolate and rum based cake? And then, of course, it spiralled uncontrollably from there.

There are four elements to this cake, each one with its own hit of rum, so of course, when the extended family dropped by, the kiddies missed out on rum balls, and had very skinny slices.

It took quite a lot of coordination to get all the elements together, and perhaps my rum balls were too big, as the final product didn’t quite look how I’d imagined it would. But, it all disappeared pretty quickly, and most importantly the birthday boy thought it was pretty damn fine.

Michael’s Birthday Rum Cake – with White Chocolate Creme Pattisiere, Chocolate Rum Fudge Icing, and Rum Balls

The Chocolate Cake – adapted from KitchenAid


  • 1/2 cup (55g) dark baking cocoa
  • 50ml boiling water
  • 50ml dark rum
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of strawberry jam


Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake pan with butter and baking paper.

Place the cocoa, boiling water and rum in a bowl and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Place the butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 20 secs. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. This could be up to five minutes so don’t be in a rush.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scrapping down the sides if required. Once all the eggs are in, turn the mixer off to add the flour, cocoa mixture, and jam. Beat on a low-speed until its well combined. My mixer is a little high, so I make sure to use a spatula to get the bottom mixed in.

Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 50mins. Just be careful of the sides and top getting dried out, you might need to pop a foil cover over to protect it.

Stand for 10 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool completely.

The White Chocolate Creme Pattisierre – taken from my Chocolate E’clair receipe

Chocolate Rum Fudge Icing – adapted from Donna Hay magazine, Issue 76 – Chocolate friands with mocha fudge icing


  • 1 cup (250ml) single pouring cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 300g dark chocolate (either chopped or in buttons)


Place the cream and rum in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes before whisking until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool for 30-40 minutes.

When ready to ice the cake, whisk the icing to ensure smooth.

Rum Balls – adapted Donna Hay magazine, Issue 72 – Dark Chocolate and Rum Truffles


  • 300g store-bought fruit cake
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • 400g dark chocolate, extra, melted


Place the fruit cake and rum in a food processor and process to combine. Place the mixture in a bowl with the melted chocolate and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just set.

Roll the mixture into teaspoon sized balls. Using two forks, dip the truffles into the extra melted chocolate and place on a lightly greased wire rack over a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

Refrigerate until set.

Putting it all together!

I pinched the Jamie Oliver method with toothpicks to cut my cake into two layers. It’s not 100% foolproof but certainly gets me closer than winging it with my serrated knife.

Fill the layers with as much White Chocolate Creme Pattissiere as you like. For me it’s definitely more is better!

Top with the Chocolate Rum Fudge Icing, and then add as many Rum Balls as you fancy.

Add sparklers, sing enthusiastically and enjoy.