Air Fryer Cuban Rum Cake

In our house, we cannot have a family gathering or a holiday dinner without my husband’s family Cuban Rum Cake front and center on the dessert table. It’s so delicious that we have even made small ones and gave them out as presents. We think the original recipe was produced by Bacardi itself to promote their rum, which was originated and produced in Cuba before the revolution. The original cake has a layer of walnuts and is baked in large bundt pan then drizzled with a butter rum sauce. This cake is a staple recipe for our family and it bothered me that I have a blog of family recipes, and this one couldn’t be included because let’s face it, fluffy and light cakes and the Instant Pot just don’t go together. Until now!

When the Instant Vortex Plus came out, converting this cake recipe was the first thing I looked forward to working on. It took me a few trials to get it right (I sacrificed my diet for y’all making 4 cakes all for the sake of research. You’re welcome!), but I finally perfected the recipe for a moist, fluffy, and tender cake filled with buttery rum goodness, made in the air fryer. Oh and there’s enough batter to make 2 cakes. You get a bonus cake to give away as a gift….or….keep secret and eat yourself. I’m not judging.

Here’s a YouTube tutorial on how to make it. Scroll down for the recipe.

Air Fryer Cuban Rum Cake

Recipe by Lana Horruitiner-Perez adapted from Daniel Perez and Bacardi Rum


  • 1 box Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix (It has to be Betty Crocker. It has been tried with other box mixes and it just ever turns out the same. Try me, I’ve eaten my fair share of this cake.)
  • 1 3.4oz box Jello Instant Pudding (not the Quick Serve one, but the regular Vanilla pudding mix.)
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold Water
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Bacardi Dark Rum


  • 2 TBL Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/8 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Bacardi Dark Rum

Equipment: 8 inch high sided cake pan, foil, parchment paper

Pour the Betty Crocker box cake mix, Jello Vanilla Pudding mix, 4 Eggs, 1/2 cup cold Water, 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil, and 1/2 cup Bacardi Dark Rum into a large bowl.

Using an electric hand mixer, mix the ingredients in the bowl just until it’s combined and you don’t see any lumps. Using a spatula, stir it by hand just to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Set aside. cake batter

Prepare the 8 inch cake pan by spraying with Baker’s Spray or PAM with Flour. (You could also grease the pan with butter and a light dusting of flour.) Line with a round piece of parchment.

How to Make a Round Parchment

Place the round parchment on the bottom of the 8 inch cake pan and set aside.

In order to keep the sides from over browning, you need to make a foil collar for the pan. To make one, measure out a size of foil that is 4 times longer than the pan. Fold the foil in half long ways and then in half again so you have a long, thin piece of foil.

Wrap the foil collar around the outer edge of the cake pan. Connect the ends and then fold/roll into the side of the pan so it fits tight around the pan.

Preparing the Vortex Plus

Take the drip pan out from the bottom of the Vortex Plus. Place the baking tray that comes with the Vortex Plus, up side down and into the bottom of the Vortex Plus. This will allow for more air flow to get to the bottom of the pan. 20190711_102424

Close the door to the Vortex Plus and press the “AIR FRY” button. Adjust the time  to 25 mins and the temperature to 325F.  Press “START”.

The Vortex will begin to preheat and display “ON”.  This will take about 3 mins.

While the Vortex preheat, pour half (2 cups) of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Use a spatula to smooth and even the top of the batter.  When the oven is done preheating, the oven will beep and display “ADD FOOD”. At this time, add the cake and close the door. The Vortex will start cooking.

When the Vortex is done, it will beep and display “COOL” and then “OFF”. Once it is off, carefully remove the cake and set aside on a cooling rack. 20190710_100157

While the cake cools, start making the glaze.

Melt 2 Tbl of Butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add 1/8 cup Water and 1/2 cup Sugar and mix in. Bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, stir constantly for 5 mins. Remove from heat after 5 mins and stir in 1/4 cup Bacardi Dark Rum.

Invert the cake (it’s ok if it is not completely cool. It is better when it is warm.) into a 9 inch cake pan or a dish with a large rim. 20190711_102303

Using a wooden skewer, poke 10-20 holes on the top of the cake for the glaze to seep into.

Slowly ladle the rum glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Make sure to go slow so the cake absorbs as much of the glaze as possible.

Buen Provecho!20190710_100703



15 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    Is there a way to make this wonderful goodness in my oven? Vortex isn’t in the budget right now.


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Absolutely! The original recipe that my husbands family used for decades back when Bacardi was still making rum in Cuba is uses the exact same recipe for the cake however you line a greased bundt pan with chopped walnuts (if you want) then pour all the batter in the pan and bake at 325 for 55-60 mins (check with toothpick). Do exactly the same think but double the glaze recipe. If you want it as an 8 inch cake then follow the recipe exactly but bake in the oven at 325 for 28-30 min (check with toothpick).


    2. drlanaperez says:

      Also, if there are any of the recipes you would like that I have on my blog, but for traditional cooking methods, just let me know. Every recipe here is converted. 🙂


      1. Lisa Hill says:

        Thank you so much! I do have an 8qt Instant pot, so we’ve been able to make most of your delicious recipes!


  2. irvsp says:

    Lana, made it today. We just came back from Grand Cayman and had Tortuga Rum Cake. Comparing the two, yours is lighter and has more Rum taste! We prefer yours!

    Question, does it have to be refrigerated?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Wow that is high praise. Thank you so much! No you don’t have to refrigerate it and actually I prefer it not refrigerate it and just have it in a covered cake plate.


  3. Monique says:

    Can we add the walnuts to the bottom of the pan?
    Where did you get the pan?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Great question. I don’t see why you can’t. The pan is just a regular 8 inch cake pan.


  4. Zack Hernandez says:

    Why choose the air fry function over the bake function?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      You can choose either, they do the same exact thing.


  5. Jennifer Munoz says:

    I am not able to bake a cake on my Instand vortex. Every time I try to make a cake it look good on the top but the bottom is raw. The cake I am trying to bake is 6″ it is smaller that the one on the recepi. Any suggestions??


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi. Is your 6 inch pan taller, like 2 inches? You might be overfilling it so it’s denser. I would lower the heat a few degrees, place the pan on the bottom on the tray turned upside down, and place the other baking tray on the very top to block the air.


  6. Angie says:

    I love this but what about converting this to cupcakes? I bought a mini cupcake pan that is for the vortex. Would you use same temp but less time?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi. yes I would say the same temp but less time. Also, place the empty rack on the top level in the beginning to keep the air flow from over browning or making them rise too quickly.


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