Can Pregnant Women Eat Rum Cake? Is it Safe?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Rum cake is a popular spiced dessert made with dried fruit, caramelized sugar, and, of course, rum! Since women are advised to not consume any alcohol during their pregnancy, you might wonder if a piece of rum cake is safe to eat.

Even though rum cake is baked, a significant amount of alcohol can remain. Therefore, pregnant women should avoid consuming it.

Rum raisin ice cream, a similar treat, also contains small amounts of alcohol and should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. 

Let’s discuss the intricacies of eating rum cake and whether or not it can be consumed during pregnancy. Read on to learn more!

Is Rum Cake Safe for Pregnant Women? 

Rum cake is cooked, but it also contains rum-filled dried fruit, so a significant amount of alcohol may remain. Therefore, you should probably skip it during pregnancy.

Rum cake has its origins in the Caribbean and is deliciously spiced and fruity. However, Barbara Gordon, a registered dietitian nutritionist who teaches at Idaho State University, says many factors impact how much of the alcohol is actually cooked off. 

rum cake with rum syrup and fresh blackberry and currant

Gordon approximates that even after cooking a baked good for 25 minutes without stirring, it would still contain 45% of the original alcohol content.

Additionally, there is a lack of evidence as to how much alcohol is in your rum cake, so it is best to avoid it during pregnancy. Rum cake could contain alcohol at unsafe levels, depending on the cooking time, container, heat, and other factors. 

This is especially true because cakes and other baked goods are typically not in the oven for that long. The ingredients and amount of alcohol in the recipe can also vary significantly. 

Consuming alcohol during pregnancy in any amount is unsafe. Alcohol intake passes straight from the mother’s blood to the unborn baby, which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and disabilities in the baby (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]).

In addition, consuming alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASDs. It doesn’t seem that one trimester is safer than another when it comes to alcohol, so it’s probably best to avoid it completely until we know more. 

For a similar flavor to rum cake minus the alcohol, opt for a spiced cake or a carrot cake to get that sweet cinnamon flavor. For more information regarding consuming cooked foods that contain alcohol (including foods that are not desserts), check out this article here

Rum raisin ice cream

Can I Eat Rum Raisin Ice Cream When Pregnant? 

As suggested by the name, the raisins in rum raisin ice cream are soaked in rum. Some recipes call for the alcohol to be cooked off of the raisins, but many do not. Therefore, it’s best to avoid rum raisin ice cream during your pregnancy unless it is store-bought. 

While the alcohol content in commercial rum raisin ice cream is likely very low, most brands (such as Haagen Dazs) do not specify exactly how much alcohol their rum raisin ice cream contains. However, the ingredient list does list rum. 

Many other flavors of ice cream can still be enjoyed during your pregnancy. Keep in mind that ice cream is high in saturated fat and sugar, which can contribute to excessive weight gain and heart disease, so make sure you enjoy it in moderation.

I hope this article was helpful in breaking down the recommendations behind consuming rum cake and rum raisin ice cream while you are pregnant.