Black Cake (Caribbean Rum Cake)

Yes, this is it. In the Caribbean, the different islands (countries) have their own recipes for the making of the Black Cake which is a variation or version of the English Christmas Pudding.

The first step is to prepare the dried fruit mix by pre-soaking. Some swear to soaking the fruits for a year ahead of baking, some 3 months and some overnight.

My first exposure to this was obviously near Christmastime at a beach on Beef Island, British Virgin Islands. I was offered a piece of a Dominican black cake and was told that she blended her pre-soaked raisins to a pulp.

Interest piqued, nothing done till 10 years later when I had more time and a bigger kitchen to experiment. Making guavaberry wine, seagrape wine & literally any leftover berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries…. ) into a mixed berry wine. In the Caribbean, this wine uses a rum base and is what we would call a liquer, as it is sweetened.

I digress, back to the Black Cake. The ingredients & method is as below.

Mixed Fruits:

454g (1 lb) mixed peel

454g (1 lb) prunes, chopped (preserved prunes)

454g (1 lb) raisins,

zest of 1 lime

zest of 1/2 orange

1 cup dark rum or black wine or homemade liquer

  • Mix all together and soak overnight or longer.
  • Toss every now and again to ensure that all the fruits absorb the alcohol.



227g (8oz or 2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup soft brown sugar

2 tablespoon browning sauce (you can substitute with 80ml molasses)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1-1/2 to 2 cups plain /all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs

1 cup pre-soaked fruit mix


  • Preheat oven to 175ºC (350ºF). Grease a 20cm (8″) round cake pan. You can line with parchment paper if desired.
  • Sieve the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg powder) together. You can do this over a bowl or in a plastic bag
  • Place the softened butter & brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat together till light & creamy.
  • Add the vanilla essence & browning sauce (molasses) and beat to mix.
  • Add eggs, one at a time to the butter mix, beating after each addition.
  • Now to add the flour & fruit mix, using slow speed or the ‘STIR’ speed of your mixer.
  • Alternate between the flour & fruit mix being added in portions into the butter mix. This helps to even out the fruit in the batter.

Note: Add more flour if the batter seems to be chalky at this stage as the liquids                             from the fruit mix might have increased the liquid measure in the batter.

  • Pour batter into cake pan. Tap the pan onto the counter to let any air escape.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes till cooked. Test if done with a skewer poked into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is cooked. If not, bake until done.
  • Let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
  • Cool on baking rack.

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