Hurricane Rum Balls Are a Must at Your Mardi Gras Party

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Hurricane Rum Balls


These hurricane rum balls are not like the rum balls that you find on Grandma’s Christmas dessert spread.  They are meant to be taken with you on a Mardi Gras float, brought to a Mardi Gras parade, or served alongside King Cake at a Mardi Gras party.  These hurricane rum balls pack a serious rum punch and are decidedly NOT kid friendly.

The hurricane drink is ever-present during Mardi Gras and there are a variety of recipes for it.  I chose to base my hurricane rum balls on the more classic hurricane cocktail recipe.

Traditionally, hurricanes were made using rum, passion fruit syrup, and lemon juice.  I was able to track down passion fruit juice at Whole Foods and reduced it with sugar to use for the rum balls. (View on Amazon) [paid link]

Although I haven’t personally tried it, fellow St. Louis blogger Kitchen Riffs (who has a fantastic post about hurricanes) strongly recommends the passion fruit syrup from Aunty Lilikoi.

Hurricane rum balls start with rum cake.  The cake is then balled up with powdered sugar, passion fruit syrup, agave nectar, and lemon zest.

Lastly, the balls are dipped in a passion fruit glaze and rolled in festive non-pareils. (View on Amazon) [paid link]

These days, hurricanes are often made with Hawaiian Punch, giving them their bright red color.  If you prefer, you can use punch instead of the passion fruit syrup in this recipe. (View on Amazon) [paid link]

Because I like options, you could instead use a hurricane drink mix in the rum balls. (View on Amazon) [paid link]

Hurricane Rum Ball Recipe

To develop this recipe, I used the brown sugar-rum pound cake recipe from AllRecipes, the hurricane drink recipe from Kitchen Riffs, and the rum ball recipe from THK (originally adapted from The Joy of Baking).

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Hurricane Rum Balls
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Hurricane Rum Balls

These hurricane rum balls pack a serious rum punch and are decidedly NOT kid friendly.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 50 hurricane rum balls
Calories 102kcal
Author Stefani


Rum Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Passion Fruit Syrup Ingredients

  • 1/2 liter passion fruit juice 16.9 fluid ounces
  • 1 cup sugar

Hurricane Rum Ball Ingredients

  • Rum cake from above minus one piece you can't make a cake and not taste a piece of it
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup passion fruit syrup from above
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • zest of one lemon

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup passion fruit syrup
  • purple green, and gold non-pareils


Rum Cake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  • Mix in eggs one at a time until just combined.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine milk, dark rum, and vanilla.
  • In another mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add flour mixture a little bit at a time alternately with rum mixture to the butter/sugar/eggs, mixing until just combined after each addition.
  • Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan and pour batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top begins to brown. I suggest slightly overcooking the cake. You don't want the cake to be too soft because you'll be adding a lot of liquid to it.

Passion Fruit Syrup Instructions

  • Fill a small saucepan on medium-high heat with passion fruit juice.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until it reduces by half (about 45 minutes).
  • While still on the heat, add sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. The syrup will not be thick, but it will have a stronger and sweeter flavor than the juice.

Hurricane Rum Ball Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash up the rum cake (minus the one piece you ate) until you have quarter-sized crumbs.
  • Mix in powdered sugar, rum, passion fruit syrup, agave nectar, and lemon zest.
  • Cover and set aside for a few hours to let the liquid fully absorb into the cake.

Glaze and Assembly Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and passion fruit syrup.
  • Roll cake mixture into small balls, roll in glaze, and then roll in non-pareils.


Passion fruit syrup can be replaced by any fruit punch or hurricane mix. If you are using fruit punch or hurricane mix, do not follow the instructions for cooking it down and adding sugar; these beverages are already sweetened heavily.
If you are using passion fruit juice to make passion fruit syrup, it's OK if the juice isn't 100% passion fruit, but it should be 100% juice. The one I used was pear juice and passion fruit juice. You will not use all of the syrup in the recipe - you can use leftover syrup to make drinks.
These rum balls will work with any rum cake recipe.


Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 44mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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