This Italian rum cake is just layer after layer of flavor. I love that the sponge cake layers are soaked in rum. And you can really taste it through the whole cake. It’s in the sponge layers, it’s in the cream, and that cream, I’m telling you, it’s like a custard mascarpone cream with the egg yolks. So flavorful.

If you want more holiday-worthy desserts, check out some of our favorites and reader favorites here:


  • 6 eggs (at room temperature for at least 2 hours)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour) sifted (see note below)
  • Pinch salt


1 ) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack on the second from the lowest slot.
Grease and flour an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan or springform pan. (I do not use baking spray for this cake.)

2 ) Using the whisk attachment from the stand mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar on high speed for about 10 minutes, even 15 minutes is acceptable, until very airy and pale. While the eggs are whipping, sift the flour and salt in a separate bowl.

3 ) Using a rubber spatula, very slowly and gently fold in the flour + salt into the beaten eggs, paying close attention so as not to deflate the batter. Mix in 3 – 4 separate times, do not add all the flour at once. Mix just until all the flour is incorporated, but do not over mix.

4 ) Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured pan and bake for about 33 – 35 minutes, or until the cake is slightly golden and springs back when lightly pressed.
Let the cake cool for 30 or so minutes, then remove from pan until ready to assemble.
Vanilla Pastry Cream.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch


1 ) Add the milk and vanilla to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear around the edges.

2 ) With the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow, about 5 – 7 minutes on high speed. Sift the cornstarch and salt and continue to whisk until incorporated.

3 ) Reduce the speed to low and gently pour about a half cup of the hot milk over the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Gently add the remaining milk and whisk to combine.

4 ) Return the cream mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly with a hand whisk, until it thickens to a pudding-like consistency.

5 ) Remove from the heat and add to a bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of cream. Refrigerate fully for at least 2 hours before using the cream for the cake.
Chocolate Pastry Cream.


1 ) Using the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, on medium speed, beat the whipping cream until very soft peaks form.

2 ) Reduce speed and slowly add the sugar and mix for about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla

3 ) Add the sifted cornstarch and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate cream until cake is ready to be frosted.