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Battle of the Rum Cakes: Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake vs. Tortuga Golden Original

Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake vs. Tortuga Golden Original
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 16, 2016

Several years ago I was contacted by Adam Dell (on behalf of Pusser’s Rum) and asked if I would review their rum cake on my website. I accepted, and my friends and I got together and enjoyed sampling and discussing the cake. I took their comments and cobbled together a review of sorts. Recently, I was contacted by Adam again and was asked if I would sample some of their rum cake again, but this time he wanted me to also sample a competitor’s rum cake (Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake) and write a comparative review. This seemed like a fun exercise, and since Pusser’s have apparently been improving their recipe over the past several years, the new review would probably be timely as well.

According to the Pusser’s Rum website, it has (for a good part of the last three centuries) been a tradition of sorts for the British Royal Navy to bake cakes for special occasions and events (Royal Family events, a ship’s commissioning, Christmas parties, and so forth). These cakes (again according to Pusser’s website) typically use the rum associated with the British Royal Navy, Pusser’s Rum, as a part of their recipe.

With that tradition as their starting point, Pusser’s has introduced their own Premium British Navy Pusser’s Rum Cake. Each of these rum cakes contains Pusser’s Rum, and it is this rum which is at the forefront of both the aroma and the flavour of the cake.

Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cakes are produced by Tortuga International (founded as the Tortuga Rum Company). Although the company in based in Grand Cayman, they also have bakery operations in Barbados, Jamaica and the Bahamas, as well as a sales and distribution center in Miami, Florida.

The two rum cakes (sent to my by Adam Dell) arrived separately with the Pusser’s Premium cake arriving first and the Tortuga Golden Original cake arriving about two weeks later. This meant I had to refrigerate the Pusser’s Cake in the interim so that I would be able to taste the two side by side. When I asked Adam if this would affect the quality of the Pusser’s product he assured me that as long as the cake was left sealed and refrigerated it would keep for up to 10 months. Once I had receives both products, I placed them each in my refrigerator and arranged to have a few of my rum friends over to help me taste them.

Here are the results of the Rum Cake Battle:

Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake 

Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake

In the Tin   20/20

Pusser RC

 The Pusser’s Premium Rum cake arrives in an extremely attractive collector’s tin. Not only is the tin attractive but it is also very durable ensuring that if you choose to purchase the cake as a gift or present it at a special occasion, the item will ‘look the part’ so to speak and provide everyone with a very positive first impression. My Rum Chums and I all felt the Pusser’s display was top-notch.

In the Box   14/20

Totuga RC

 The Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake arrives in a hexagonal cardboard box. The colour scheme is perhaps a little dated with a pastel colour scheme which looks a little drab in comparison to the Pusser’s display. The durability factor is also an issue as my cake arrived with the box looking a little battered  after its trip by courier.  My guests and I all felt that the Tortuga display could use a bit of an upgrade.


On the Plate   14/20

Pusser's Cake

 When I opened the Pusser’s Display tin, I saw the cake was sealed in plastic wrap which protecting the cake from drying out. I unwrapped the cake and place it upon a serving plate. I noticed immediately that the bottom of the Pusser’s cake was a little soggy. Apparently the time in my refrigerator had allowed some of the rum within the cake to settle to the bottom.  The aroma from the cake though was luscious and full of a combination of sugary sweetness and rum-like goodness. If not for the unfortunate sogginess of the cake bottom I would have been extremely pleased.


On the Plate   18/20

Tortuga cake

The Tortuga Rum cake is much more pleasing visually (once it is out of the box).  The cake is taller than its counterpart  and has a more spongy look upon the plate. It also held together better when it was cut and served, and it had no evidence of any sogginess.  Whereas the Pusser’s Rum Cake had a very rum forward scent oozing from it on the pate, the aroma of the Tortuga rum cake was less rum forward. The sweetness was also more muted. I am not sure if this is more positive or more negative, but if I were to make a differentiation based upon visual appearance and aroma, I would say that the Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake is more rum-like, and the Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake is more cake-like.

Taking a Taste   49/60

Of course this is the most important part of the comparative review. How does each rum cake taste. The Pusser’s Cake is sweet and full of rum flavour.  In fact, both dimensions of flavour are off the charts. I loved the richness of the rum flavour, which pretty much oozed out of the sponge cake and swamped my senses. However, the sugary sweetness which was combined with the rum flavour was perhaps just a little too intense. Everybody at my cake tasting liked the Pusser’s cake, but when it was time for seconds, fewer of my friends opted for a second piece of the Pusser’s cake piece whereas everybody opted for a second piece of the Tortuga cake. It was the heavy  sweetness which was dissuading some from having a second piece.

Taking a Taste   55/60

 The Tortuga cake does not carry as much rum flavour as the Pusser’s nor is it so sweet. In fact, rather than sweet, the Tortuga cake has a ‘wholesome’ feel to it . It is indeed more ‘cake-like’. For myself (and for my friends who were helping me) the Golden Original Cake from Tortuga was a very appealing afternoon serving. The cake is less dense than the Pusser’s cake with a spongier consistency. The rum flavour is milder, but with the less aggressive sweetness the cake is easy to eat and enjoy.




Final Scores:

Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake   83/100

Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake   87/100

Final Thoughts 

In the Battle of the Rum Cakes my friends and I were pretty much in agreement in all phases of the review. The Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake has  arrives in a splendid collector’s tin which when you receive it immediately give you a strongly positive first impression. And the rum cake certainly lives up to its name with rum serving as the centerpiece of its flavour. If you have a sweet tooth to go along with your love of rum, then this Rum Cake should be your first choice.

The Tortuga Golden Original Rum Cake on the other hand suffers from a dated display presentation with had my guests underwhelmed. However once the cake was out of the box, we all loved it. The cake from Tortuga is less dense, less sweet and less rum-like; however its flavour and consistency were more appealing for our palates. Whereas only some of my friends partook in a second helping of the Pusser’s Rum Cake, all of my friends had a second helping of the Tortuga Cake, and some even had a third.


One Response to “Battle of the Rum Cakes: Pusser’s Premium Rum Cake vs. Tortuga Golden Original”

  1. Jack said

    Mmm…rum cake. I did not have much experience, regretfully, but have tried Tortuga rum cake, and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the thorough and fun review.

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