Harvey Wallbanger Cake


Way back in the 1970’s two of the most popular desserts around were  Bacardi Rum Cake and Harvey Wallbanger Cake. Everybody loved them and most homemakers made one or the other of them on a regular basis.  Other than their great flavor the most popular thing about them was that they started with a cake mix and went together in just minutes.   Back then cake mixes were considered a good thing and women celebrated baking shortcuts and how much kitchen time they saved.  Even though cake mixes have fallen out of favor in recent times I still bake these cakes with cake mix and love their texture and flavor.  And trust me, they are the first desserts to disappear off the buffet table at family gatherings.`

FYI –  a Harvey Wallbanger is a cocktail consisting of Galliano (one part), orange juice (six parts) and vodka (three parts). It is typically served in a highball glass with an orange slice garnish.  Cocktails were more popular back in the ’70’s than they are now and were typically served before and after dinner and wine was reserved for the meal itself. Legend is that a 1950s California surfer named Harvey liked his vodka and orange juice cocktail topped with Galliano. One evening, Harvey had too many of these cocktails and banged into a wall or two: the Harvey Wallbanger was born…maybe true, maybe not, but that’s the story.

Bacardi Rum Cake

Both of these cakes are delicious and are worthy of the popularity they enjoyed back when.  They have great flavor and texture, keep well and are wonderful with a little whipped cream and fresh fruit. The syrup glaze soaks into the cake and keeps it moist with lots of extra flavor.  I have made both cakes from scratch and always come back to the cake mix version.  Probably because that is what I remember my mom baking years ago. Here is the recipe at King Arthur Flour if you absolutely MUST make this cake from scratch. One of these days I will try KA’s recipe to compare, but for now it’s cake mix.
5.0 from 2 reviews
Harvey Wallbanger Cake
: 10-12
  • Cake:
  • 1 box (about 18.75 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup Galliano® liqueur
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 package (3-ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Galliano
  • 1 teaspoon vodka
  • Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or spray with floured vegetable spray.
  2. Place cake mix, oil, eggs, liqueur, vodka, pudding mix, and orange juice into a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed fo 3 minutes.
  3. Pour evenly into prepared Bundt pan and tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. (Do not overbake or it will become dry.) Let rest for 5 minutes. Gently loosen edges around the rims with a thin rubber spatula. Invert and unmold from Bundt pan onto a cake platter, then glaze while warm.
  4. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar, orange juice, liqueur, and vodka until smooth. (If it is too thick, add more orange juice a few drops at a time to get a drizzling consistency. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar a teaspoon at a time.) Drizzle over the warm cake and let cool to room temperature for glaze to set.


  1. says

    I make the Bacardi Rum cake at least once a year and you are right – at a buffet it is always gone – to the last crumb! I’ll have to give this version a try. What else is there to do with that awkward bottle of Galliano?
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  2. says

    When I saw your post, it brought a big smile. My mom used to make this cake. As I think back, I don’t believe that I ever made it. I think I missed out on something. Love your presentation…strawberries and whipped cream on the side, yum!
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  3. says

    You really brought some memories back, Cathy. I was just talking to our 21 year old niece, about the types of cocktails I drank at her age. One of them was a Harvey Wallbanger, and I was trying to remember what was in it. Galliano, of course! I admit, that I have snubbed cake mixes, but lately I’m starting to rethink that. I’m sure this one is moist and really, REALLY good. Your photos certainly do it justice.

    • says

      Oh, yum. I forgot about the tunnel of fudge cake, Gail. I may just have to dig out the recipe and make it. I think there is a version out there that has a coconut filling, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
      Cathy recently posted..Harvey Wallbanger CakeMy Profile

  4. says

    Great cakes and yours looks delicious! I remember the Harvey Wallbanger drinks and the rum cake. At every family function, Bill’s Aunt Doris, carried her rum cake and it was always devoured. I haven’t had it in years though, since her passing and will have to make it soon, plus your Harvey Wallbanger cake also. Thanks for the recipe, Cathy!

  5. says

    I’ve had my share of Harvey Wallbanger’s in the past, but not recently. Should probably do something about that. I’m a total cake snob and would rather not eat it at all if it isn’t homemade, BUT, one of the best recipes I have for using a box mix is for a California Sherry Cake… similar to this one, except using sherry for the liquor. I remember being so surprised when I ate a piece for the first time and asked for the recipe – couldn’t believe it was from a box mix!
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  6. says

    Cathy – I remember baking both of those cakes and loving them. Funny thing how I have the exact same cake stand and white plate used in the first photo. Now I need one of those beautiful silver flower holders!
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  7. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says

    I’ve made my share of the rum cakes in the 90’s, loved them! Haven’t tried this one (yet), your pics are pretty:@)

  8. says

    Oh Cathy, I remember both cakes so well! I often made the rum cake and my guest would absolutely love it! I never tried the Harvey Wallbager cake but I remember my first Harvey Wallbanger drink…lol…it was the kind of drink that was sweet and refreshing and then wham –the wall literally hit me in the head…lol I guess the cake is not as potent –it looks so beauitul in your post!
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  9. says

    I remember these cake too Cathy. I seem to remember one of my mother’s friends made these cakes and they were so very good. Yours looks delicious topped with the berries!

  10. says

    Too funny…I used to drink Harvey Wallbangers. Along with Stingers, they were favorites. We sure were big drinkers back then. :)
    What’s odd, is I’ve never even seen a recipe for this cake (or my memory is so far gone I’ve forgotten) and it sure is looking good, Cathy.
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