It’s a Cultural Thing
Caribbean black cake is decadently rich, very spirited and highly addictive. If you know anything much at all about English Caribbean cuisine you already know that Black Cake is our official Christmas Cake. It can also be found at most other Caribbean celebrations, year round. Even though this rich treat can be found in some variation throughout the Caribbean, it is most closely identified with Jamaica and Jamaicans. A cousin of the British Plum Pudding this decadent treat is made using an array of wine-soaked dried fruits and candied peel, eggs, butter, brown sugar, and other natural ingredients.
Black cakes require a good deal of costly ingredients, time and technique. If you are an inexperienced baker I strongly recommend that you read the recipe through carefully before you begin baking. If you have any questions or concerns please leave a comment below.
As with all recipes, there are slight variations across cultures but the base ingredients and the preparations are almost identical. After baking the cake is ‘wined’ (I opt for a combo of wine and premium overproof rum) with another helping or 2 of port wine, before serving. This means that for optimum flavor, you MUST bake your cake a few days before you plan to serve it. This allows sufficient time for ‘wining’ Some folks opt for icing/ frosting the cake. Others enjoy it as is.
Jamaican Black Cake Recipe
- blender or food processor
- 1 lb wine-soaked fruits
- 1 C dark rum
- 1 C port wine
- 1 lb brown sugar
- ½ C molasses
- 1 lb butter
- 12 lg eggs
- 1 jar 14 – 16 oz mincemeat
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 C flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon or sweet spice
- 2 TB browning or ¼ C molasses
- Combine fruits with rum and wine in blender or food processor and grind into a paste. If using a blender, you may need to divide it into 2 or 3 batches.
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Using a mixer; cream butter, sugar, molasses, and egg yolks together. In a separate glass bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Fold (slowly beat in) egg whites into butter mixture. After egg whites are fully combined, add fruits 1 cup at a time until completely mixed in. add mincemeat to the mixture.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to mixture. Mix should be dark brown. If not add ¼ C. molasses or ½ tsp of browning, if available.
- Butter and flour 3 – 9” cake pans you may line the buttered pans with parchment paper instead of flour. Pour batter into cake pans. Fill almost to the top. Cakes will not rise very much.
- Bake for 1 hour. After 1-hour increase the temperature to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes insert a toothpick or clean knife into the center of the cake and remove it If the knife comes out clean. Otherwise, return cake the oven. Use a clean toothpick to test again after 5 minutes
- Remove cakes from oven and place on cooling racks. Sprinkle cakes with wine or rum. Cool for about 2 hours and sprinkle with rum again. Cover cakes and allow to cool overnight (at least 8 hours) before icing or serving.
- Fruits can be any combination of prunes, raisins, currants, cherries, and candied citrus peel. Use at least 3 for best flavor
- For best results soak fruits in port wine (in a tightly sealed container) for at least 30 days
- If using unsoaked fruits; boil fruits in a 750 ml bottle port wine for 30 minutes. Cool 45 minutes before blending. Use this method as a last resort. Cake will be more dense and less sweet.
- Cakes can be kept frozen for up to 1 year or securely covered at room temperature for up to 1 month. To keep cakes without freezing. Cover cakes securely (a cake server will NOT do) Sprinkle each cake with ¼ C. rum or port wine every 5 days to retain moisture.
- To freeze cake sprinkle with rum or port wine a 3rd time then wrap a layer of parchment paper and 2 layers of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and odors. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours before serving.
In the last couple of years, mincemeat has become increasingly hard to find. Especially before and after the Christmas holiday season. If you cannot find it, it is fine to do without it. Your cake might be a little bit drier but not very much. If you absolutely must have mincemeat try Amazon or make your own