|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 46g||59%|
|Saturated Fat 26g||132%|
|Total Carbohydrate 145g||53%|
|Dietary Fiber 10g||35%|
|Total Sugars 91g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||19%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Christmas cake, black cake, wedding cake, or great cake are all names used to describe this famous Caribbean dessert that is made with aged rum-soaked fruits. This is a cake made to mark the celebration of Christmas, weddings, christenings, baptisms, and significant anniversaries, and in more elaborate versions it takes days to assemble as the cake is brushed with rum and wine syrup on various occasions to add a stronger flavor. In either case, the result is a dense and moist cake.
Each household and Caribbean island has its own version, but this basic recipe is easy enough to make and use as a template to add more fruit, flavored rum, or additional spices like nutmeg. Check our tip section on how to make your rum-soaked fruit mixture.
“This is a rich and delicious cake, while not being too overwhelmingly sweet. I like that you can customize your choice of dried fruits to adapt the cake to your preference. I used a dark, spiced rum for this cake, and I felt like the flavors really went well together.” –Tracy Wilk
3 cups dried fruit
1 cup rum
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for the pan
1 cup Demerara sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or vanilla essence
Gather the ingredients for the rum-soaked fruit.
Add the dried fruit to a medium non-reactive bowl. Pour the rum over the fruit and stir to combine. Set aside to soak for at least 8 hours or up to overnight, stirring occasionally over the soaking time.
When ready to bake, gather the remaining ingredients.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 F.
Generously grease a cake pan with butter. Rub it well all around the insides of the pan, sprinkle with flour, and swirl the pan to coat it with flour. Turn the pan over and tap it to remove the excess flour.
Line the bottom of the pan only with a cut-out piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
Cream 1 cup of butter and the sugar until the mixture is a pale color. If using a standing mixer, mix for 5 to 6 minutes. If working by hand, mix for up to 20 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, the baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy.
Add vanilla to the eggs and continue to whisk until well combined, about 1 minute.
Pour whisked eggs into the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar, stirring gently using a rubber spatula. Keep stirring until incorporated. The mixture will look curdled but that's okay as it will change texture once the remaining ingredients are added.
Drain the rum-soaked fruit, then add it to the egg-butter-sugar mixture and stir to fully incorporate.
Gradually add the flour-baking powder-cinnamon mixture to the wet ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly with a silicone spatula to incorporate. Do not over mix or beat the batter.
Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Lift the pan a little and let it drop back to the surface about 2 to 3 times to remove any air bubbles in the batter.
Bake for 90 minutes or until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean.
Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully and quickly invert the pan, removing the cake. Let the cake continue to cool completely on the wire rack.
Slice and serve at room temperature.
Make Rum-Soaked Fruit
To make liquor-soaked dry fruit you need:
- 3 cups of mixed dry fruit (raisins, dry cherries, dry cranberries, currants, and finely chopped dates and prunes)
- 1 cup of rum or sweet wine
Soak the fruits by placing them in a non-reactive bowl with the rum or wine. Mix well and leave to rest overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours, covered, mixing once or twice. If you believe the mixture needs more liquid, add more rum, or if you want to use less alcohol add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water. Once the fruit is soft, drain it well using a strainer and use as instructed in the recipe. You can choose any combination of fruit that you'd like, but a more varied fruit mixture adds a lot of different flavors and textures.