Recipe: Midnight Mocha Rum Cake

Let’s talk about world peace for a second. Pretty much everyone I know agrees we need a big dollop of it to make the world a happier place, but not many people know what this world loaded up with peace would actually look like.

Except for that one image of children holding hands.

While the notion of all our children holding hands is a beautiful image, I can’t help but wonder where all the adults are. Why is it always just children? Are we so jaded that we think they’re the only ones who can do it?

Are we past the point of no return? Is it really too late to lead by example?

I’ve put some thought into this lately. I think world peace will be a lot like chocolate cake. Delicious. Lovely. But definitely not overly sappy or idealistic. Sure, everyone would wear the smile of the dove in their heart (they’re eating chocolate cake, after all) but there would still be varying points of view.


People need to be able to have opinions, express themselves – be unique, eat unique, and love uniquely.

In a peaceful world, we wouldn’t have to be the same… but we also wouldn’t get so worked up about our differences.

We would just let each other be … and celebrate each other. As is.

Which brings me to this chocolate rum cake from Panama (and popular all over Central America and the Caribbean).

With a lovely burst of rum and deep mocha love, it’s a little different. A little unique.

This cake is glorious, but here’s the truth: I would rather experience this cake one day and an Irish Guinnesss Chocolate Cake another day.

No way would I want all the chocolate cakes in the world to conform – to taste the same for the rest of eternity. 

That’s not world peace. That’d be terrible.

And, excuse me, but I’ll need my hands free to enjoy the cake. Unless you’re going to feed me.

So we’re not going to be able to hold hands.

In fact, I’d much rather sit around a Global Table than hold hands while standing on a tiny cartoon globe. After all, I might get an itch, let go and float into outer space. And I’d definitely get hungry standing around like that.

So… let’s eat some cake, celebrate each other, and call it one very grown up step towards world peace.


Bocas del Toro, Panama. Photo by The Wolf.

Fills one 12-cup bundt cake to the tippy top (leave 1 inch on top so it doesn’t overflow). Inspired by Epicurious

Tip: To make this cake extra boozy: (after flipping it out of the baking pan) poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer and sprinkle on a shot or two of extra rum… let sit overnight in the refrigerator to soak it all up.


cocoa powder for dusting

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter
3/4 lb bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), broken

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs


extra rum, as desired
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
dollops of whipped cream

Extra rum for soaking cake, optional


Let’s get this “world peace” thing started.

First of all, preheat your oven to 300F. Then butter a 4 1/2-inch-deep (12-cup) bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder.

In a medium pot, melt the butter into pools of deliciousness. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate pieces. Cover and let melt.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Stir the rum, vanilla extract, coffee, and sugar into the melted butter mixture.

(P.S. The mixture will smell exactly like “intoxicating glory” right about now)

Slowly combine butter mixture with dry mixture (add about half, whisk until smooth, then add remainder).

Add 3 eggs and beat until a smooth batter forms. Scrape the sides as needed to work in all the flour.

Lick the beaters as needed.

Pour into bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Be sure to leave at least one inch clear at the top of the bundt pan so that it doesn’t overflow.

Lick the bowl, as needed.

Let the cake cool to room temperature on a rack, then flip out.

If you rush and flip it out while still warm, half your cake might stay in the pan.

Once flipped, you may refrigerate until needed (for up to 3 days). You can even poke it with a skewer and sprinkle on a shot or two of extra rum, if you’re feeling wild (just be sure to let it sit overnight to soak it all up evenly).

Then dust with a flurry of powdered sugar…

Slice.. (go ahead and slice it thick… life is short)

… and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

If chocolate cake isn’t the key to world peace, I don’t know what is.

Have a beautiful day.

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  1. Ahh that rum cake looks divine. I like the richness of rum in desserts.

  2. It really does look like midnight! And yet the crumb looks perfectly even – hmm, I just might be motivated to finally get a bundt pan. :D Do you think I could do it in a springform pan too? (P.S. What a lovely intro… it’s always a joy to read your new posts)

  3. Sounds like a “deal” to me. Amen, Sasha. Well written. As for the cake, it looks absolutely delicious.

  4. Collette Lemons says:

    This is another one I would try so I printed it out.

  5. Happy belated bday Keith, Niva’s is today so they are real close. Too bad he isn’t
    here or we could have done a combined effort ;), not that we have had a chance. Wow,
    good luck with choosing a cake from all those choices!

  6. I think I need to make this. Today. Like, right now.

  7. Gf version in the oven right now…..smells divine!

  8. love your analogy :)
    this looks fabulous. your photos are also fabulous!

  9. I made this cake and it was a big hit! I will definitely be using this recipe this holiday season. Since I am not a coffee drinker any suggestions on dark coffee would be appreciated.

  10. Just made this and it is AMAZING. None of the flavours are too strong (I am not a keen coffee drinker). It tastes delicious. I had dough leftover that wouldn’t fit in my shape, so I poured it in small madeleines shapes. Delicious!

  11. comment box is kinda hard to find
    (sympathies for being stuck in OK…)

    Nice photos!

  12. Just found this wonderful, beautiful blog – thank you, Sasha!
    I absolutely had to try this recipe for the New Year’s Eve cake at our house this year, and it came out really well (plenty of liberal batter-tasting along the way, just to be sure things were progressing properly)!
    Kind of a long comment here (sorry), but I had to make a couple of adjustments, similar to those that others referenced, and I thought the info might be of some use to folks.
    1. I used something called “Caffix” instead of coffee, as my husband is allergic to caffeine. Caffix is a powdered mixture that is barley/chicory based, and while I can’t say it tastes exactly the same, it’s a very good replacement (hubby really missed coffee after the allergy developed, so we spent a lot of time looking for something new). The cake didn’t seem to suffer by the change and still has a nice mocha flavour to it.
    2. I, too, don’t have a bundt pan, so I used my Pyrex Savarin mold (ring-cake mold), and for anyone who has one of these, it worked perfectly well (although cooking time was less, of course, so had to keep an eye on things – the clean-knife test worked just fine). Sadly, I don’t have madeleine pans (got to get some), and so used a few small stoneware ramekins I had on hand – kind of cute to have little round chocolate cakes resembling pop-overs cooling on the stove top.
    Hope this is helpful – Happy New Year to all!


  1. […] My vote? Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream from Ireland. Either that or Midnight Mocha Rum Cake from Panama (bonus: it’s ring-shaped!). Both cakes are so amazing, you won’t even miss […]

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