My Nan’s Christmas Rum Balls

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Looking for easy and delicious treats to make your Christmas table feel more festive this year? Try my Nan’s Christmas Rum Balls recipe!

Rum Balls to me are more than just a delicious treat at Christmas, they remind me of the fun and wonderful time I spent with my extended family each Christmas when I was a child. My Nan used to fill the table with so many home baked goodies and we would all sit around chat and play cards for hours. Such good times.

Unlike a lot of other recipes I have seen, which use a base of biscuits instead of cake, this recipe uses Madeira butter cake. I just can’t alter this recipe, I like the soft cake balls!


Christmas Rum Balls

  • Author: Kat’s Nan
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 20 1x


  • 1 Madeira Butter Cake
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons rum, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam, extra
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut


  1. Wash your hands
  2. Using fingertips crumble cake into a bowl
  3. Add jam, cocoa and rum
  4. Combine together with hands until a thick paste
  5. Roll into bite sized balls
  6. Warm water and extra jam in a dish in mircrowave for 20 sec, mix together
  7. Place coconut into a small dish
  8. Dip balls into jam mixture then roll into coconut
  9. Refrigerate

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The imperfect housewife December 15, 2011 - 5:37 AM

I’ve never made them with apricot jam before- yummo!

Katrina December 22, 2011 - 1:00 AM

I don’t like apricots, but these taste so yummy!

Tara @ Mum-ments December 15, 2011 - 6:04 AM

We love chocolate balls here every christmas with a different recipe! I think my 3.5yo is going to love getting his hands dirty rolling the balls this year xx

Rachel Burchell on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 6:11 AM

Do you mean Madeira cake (orangey taste) or is it something else

Seva Har on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 6:13 AM

Thanks for recipe!

Elisha Laffy Pedler on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 7:56 AM

A great cheat to run balls is: buy a cheap fruit cake. Crumble. Pour run over it. Let it stand overnight in fridge. Roll into balls. Presto rum balls. I then roll in chocolate. Yum yum. Always a big hit!

Delilah Ekeberg December 8, 2020 - 8:28 AM

Never tryed that recipe I use my grands one for rum balls with witbix, its so nice and i soak the fruit over nite in rum, by Xmas they are so mature making them today

Nicole Keag on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 8:10 AM

Can u plz clarify on cake mix!!!???

The Organised Housewife on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 8:25 AM

Yes Rachel, Madeira sorry thought I spelt it right. Packaged in the bakery section of the supermarket. It looks like 1/2 a cake.

Rachel Burchell on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 8:26 AM

oh sorry to be picky but im 38 weeks pregnant and wasnt sure i wasnt just having a mental blank

Sandra Ludcke on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 8:48 AM

we use chocolate sponge cake, condensed milk, sultanas- soaked in rum :-), a bit of coconut and rum. Roll in balls, throw in freezer until needed. Always get comments on how beautiful they are!

Karissa Anderson on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 8:58 AM

Thanks I just made them with my 3 year old 🙂 changed slightly so they are gluten and dairy free to suit our needs.

Karen Grace on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 9:31 AM

thank you! I have been looking for a good rum ball recipe! I just found it!

Gil Watling on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 10:37 AM

Karissa how did u make gluten free?

Jenny Bowman on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 10:40 AM

Mmmmmm rum balls 🙂

I love beautiful hair on Facebook December 15, 2011 - 11:24 AM

they look really good.. thanks for sharing x

Claire @ Claire K Creations December 16, 2011 - 7:45 PM

I always assumed they were hard to make cause they’re so impressive looking. Maybe I’ll add some rumballs to my Christmas hampers.

Katrina December 22, 2011 - 1:01 AM

You should these are great. Sometimes I might just splash in a bit more rum for hubby!

Joyh December 23, 2011 - 10:09 AM

Butter Rum essence is nice if you want non-alcoholic 🙂

Katrina December 28, 2011 - 9:12 PM

Ooh, I have not heard of that is that in the supermarket?

Delilah Ekeberg December 8, 2020 - 8:30 AM

Never tryed that recipe I use my grands one for rum balls with witbix, its so nice and i soak the fruit over nite in rum, by Xmas they are so mature making them today

Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 5, 2021 - 9:54 AM

Old family recipes are just the best aren’t they?

tanya December 2, 2013 - 1:08 PM

a tip i learnt from a thermo-consultant friend… roll the ball mixture into a log, roll log in jam/cocoa/coconut, refrigerate then slice into discs. not traditional but a lot quicker!

Jen December 20, 2016 - 11:45 AM

Fantastic! Even if you rolled the discs into balls after that, you’d have the consistency of size that eludes me! ?

Jac December 2, 2013 - 1:48 PM

Looks yum! ‘1 Madeira butter cake’ I’m just wondering what amount this is? I have a madeira recipe that makes a large 25cm round cake, would that be right? Or do you mean the ones you can buy from the supermarket? Thanks! Jac

Mel December 2, 2013 - 2:15 PM

A silly question but what is a tlb

Seona Gray December 11, 2015 - 2:55 PM

Tablespoon I Think,
20ml in Oz

Amanda Woodford December 2, 2013 - 3:26 PM

Mel a tablespoon.

This is very similar to my family recipe but we use chocolate cake and dip them either choc non parells (choc sprinkles) or coat them with chocolate. we also soak aprox ! cup of chopped finely sultanas in aprox 2 tablespoons of rum over night and add them to keep the mixture moist and the rum flavour sweet.

Jenny Park December 8, 2013 - 3:56 PM

Hi, how much chocolate cake do you use size wise? Because I wanted to try chocolate cake or chocolate brownies. Could you possibly share your recipe please?

Amanda Woodford December 12, 2013 - 3:00 PM

I use two packet cake mixes and make in a baking tray, Aprox 1 cup sultanas covered with rum to soak overnight (chopped finely). Make these the day before. (easier). crumble cake add sultanas and rum mix then add as much apricot jam to make it a play dough consistency usually aprox three heaped tablespoons. If you want to add more rum nows the time. Roll into balls about walnut sized (heaped tablespoon) dip in chocolate or dip in warm jam and roll in choc sprinkles and let set . Makes about 60 rum balls of two bite size. Its all been handed down via osmosis so all the measurements are by eye. I hope it helps. note. If you make them a few weeks in advance and keep them in the freezer they will not freeze completely but they will get stronger because of the sultanas.

Jenny Park December 12, 2013 - 11:33 PM

thank you 🙂

Vicki O'Neill December 23, 2016 - 7:21 PM

Made these today, Katrina, ready for Christmas Day. Can’t wait to try them! Thank you for sharing your Nan’s recipe with us. I love recipes that have been handed down from our beloved, older relatives and, therefore, mean something special. Vxx

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Richard Kegler November 22, 2021 - 9:49 PM

Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. It is a good treat to make at home that guests will love to eat. It looks very delicious and tasty. God bless you thank you for sharing the recipe for this tasty treat.

Annette O’Brien December 31, 2021 - 9:08 AM

Love ?? your Recipe easy to follow

Annette O’Brien December 31, 2021 - 9:08 AM

Love ?? your Recipe easy to follow


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