Caribbean Black Cake Christmas Cake

Caribbean Christmas Cake Recipe

The Spruce

  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Soaked Fruit: 8 hrs
  • Yield: 1 10-inch cake (serves 5)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1090 Calories
46g Fat
57g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 10-inch cake (serves 5)
Amount per serving
Calories 1090
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 26g 128%
Cholesterol 348mg 116%
Sodium 592mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 11g
Calcium 233mg 18%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Ingredients

  • 8 1/2 ounces butter (unsalted, room temperature, divided)
  • 1 cup Demerara sugar
  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla essence)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting pan)
  • 4 cups of rum-soaked fruit

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Christmas cake ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350 F.

  3. Grease a cake pan using 1/2 of an ounce of the 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 the sink and tap it to remove the excess flour.

    Greased cake pan.
     The Spruce
  4. Line the bottom of the pan only with a cut-out piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

  5. Cream butter and sugar until the mixture reaches a pale cream color. If using a standing mixer, mix for 5 to 6 minutes. If working by hand, mix for up to 20 minutes. Set aside.

    Creamed butter and sugar.
     The Spruce
  6. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl and set aside.

    Sifted flour.
     The Spruce
  7. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy.

    Frothy whisked eggs.
     The Spruce
  8. Add vanilla extract or essence to the eggs and continue to whisk until well incorporated, for about one minute.

    Extract added to eggs.
     The Spruce
  9. Pour whisked eggs into the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar mixture and stir gently using a rubber spatula. Keep stirring until incorporated. The mixture will look curdled but that's okay as it will change texture once all the ingredients are in.

    Rum cake mixture.
     The Spruce
  10. Add the rum-soaked fruits to the egg-butter-sugar mixture and stir to fully incorporate.

    Rum-soaked fruits.
     The Spruce
  11. Add the flour-baking powder-cinnamon mixture gradually to the wet ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly to incorporate. Do not over mix or beat the batter.

  12. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to scrape all the mixture from the bowl. Lift the pan a little and let it drop back to the surface about 2 to 3 times to remove any bubbles in the batter.

    Rum cake batter in pan.
     The Spruce
  13. Bake for 90 minutes or until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean.

  14. Remove pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, carefully and quickly invert the pan, removing the cake. Let the cake continue to cool completely on the wire rack.

    Baked Caribbean rum cake.
     The Spruce
  15. Slice and serve at room temperature.

    Sliced Caribbean Christmas Cake
     The Spruce
  16. Enjoy!

Make Rum-Soaked Fruit

To make liquor-soaked dry fruit you need:

  • 4 cups of mixed dry fruit (raisins, dry cherries, dry cranberries, currants, and finely chopped dates and prunes)
  • 3/4 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.