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The Bacardi Rum Cake (1976)

This 1976 vintage poster was part of a series of 1970s advertisements published in housekeeping magazines in the United States. The posters were commissioned by Bacardi & Company to showcase cake recipes featuring the use of Bacardi rum as ingredients.

Imagine Betty Crocker, but boozier. During the 1970s, Bacardi & Company created and distributed a recipe for a Bacardi Rum Cake - a curious combination of vanilla pudding mix, instant yellow cake mix and, not to be skimped on, a cup of Bacardi Dark Rum. The advertisers sought to emphasise the versatility and mix-ability of the spirit, which could be just as compatible in baked desserts as it was in a daiquiri. 

Don't be surprised to know that this famous Bacardi Rum Cake recipe from the 1970s continues to hold cult status among many baking aficionados til today. According to a few gushing online recipe reviews, many a home baker has given assurances that while most of the alcohol is baked off in the oven, the delicious mellow flavour of the rum still remains.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s a clever way of building awareness and adoption of your product among a wider consumer group. These tear-out magazine recipes probably helped turn more than a few American housewives into free brand advocates. Just imagine: You're a guest at a house party in the 1970s and spot a moist yellow cake perched on the potluck table. After taking a bite and passing your compliments to the hostess, she replies with a sneaky glint in her eye, “there’s Bacardi in it!” 


For those curious, the recipe for the Bacardi Rum Cake is as follows:


1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 18½-oz. pkg. yellow cake mix
1 3¾-oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup Wesson©️ oil
½ cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)
¼ lb. butter
¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 10" tube or 12-cup Bundt® pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up. For glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.
Optional: Decorate with whole maraschino cherries and border of sugar frosting or whipped cream. Serve with seedless green grapes dusted with powdered sugar.