Caribbean Black Cake – This decadent and unique tropical cake is deep, dark, rich, and boozy and packed with dried fruits and warm spices. Do you need a simple but indulgent recipe for a wedding, Christmas, or rum cake? Then here it is!
While this famous Caribbean black cake has numerous variations, it’s pretty straightforward. I can’t claim that this recipe is the original, but I can say that it will BLOW YOU AWAY. So if you have to have your traditional fruit cake for Christmas, this will fill the bill.
Plus, you’ll fill the house with warm Christmasy aromas once this fancy boozy cake takes center stage. Every forkful of this Caribbean Black Cake is indulgent bliss. Everyone will be surprised that this deep rich color doesn’t have a speck of chocolate. You can make the chocolate cake for Valentine’s.😉
Quick and Easy Fruitcake
Quick and Easy Caribbean Black Fruitcake
This holiday cake closely resembles pudding and fruit cake together. While it’s not that crumbly, it does have the fruit cake’s dense texture. The rich deep black color comes from rum, wine-soaked dried fruit, and that special Caribbean touch, browning sauce.
This Caribbean black cake recipe is so versatile that you can vary the amounts and types of dried fruits and spices depending on your preference.
- Fruits – I prefer using dates, raisins, dried cherries, and prunes. And if available, you can also throw in some currants and candied citrus peels. Yum!
- Booze – Rum and wine give this dessert a complex, deep, and rich flavor. Feel free to add more if you must. 😉
- Sweeteners – Besides sugar, I added molasses and browning sauce for extra moisture and gorgeous deep color.
- Eggs, Flour, and Baking Powder – These ingredients make the basic cake’s structure and give it body.
- Spices – Holiday spices give you warm and cozy flavors, especially cinnamon and allspice.
- Extracts – Almond and vanilla extracts enhance the taste with their subtle nutty and vanilla notes. You’ll also love the added citrusy touch of grated lime.
How to Make Caribbean Fruit Cake
Soak the Fruits
- Chop Fruits – Start by chopping all the fruits into little chunks, then place them in a large bowl. (Photo 1)
- Soak in Alcohol – Pour rum and wine into the bowl of fruit, and then add enough rum or wine to cover the fruits. Cover and leave in a cool place for two days, so it soaks up the alcohol. If you let it soak for more than two days, you may need to add more rum. (Photos 2-3)
- Blend – Pour the soaked fruit with any remaining liquids into a blender and blend until it has a paste-like consistency.
Make the Cake
- Grease the Pan – Preheat your oven to 160°C/325°F. Grease and line the cake pan with baking parchment.
- Whisk – Cream the butter and sugar at high speed until it’s fluffy and looks white, 3-5 minutes. (Photo 4)
- Add Eggs and Flour – Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each one and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg to prevent the batter from curdling. (Photo 5)
- Combine – Sift in the rest of the flour and baking powder, followed by browning sauce, molasses, almond and vanilla extract, spices, and nutmeg. Mix the batter and then add the fruit blend and lime zest. (Photos 6-9)
- Finishing Touch – Stir well until everything is thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. (Photos 10-11)
- Bake – Pour batter into a greased 10-inch cake pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 2 hours. (Photo 12)
- Add More Good Stuff – If desired, poke the cake with a toothpick, then brush it with about ¼ cup rum or sweet wine while it’s still hot. Let the cake soak up the rum.
- Cool – Let it cool completely before serving.
- Store – If desired, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wax or parchment paper. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.
- Non-Alcoholic Caribbean Black Cake – Try making this recipe without adding rum or wine to make it family-friendly. Instead, you can soak fruits in fruit juices like orange and pineapple juice.
- Chocolate Goodness – Satisfy your chocolate indulgence with melted dark chocolate or chocolate syrup instead of browning and molasses, and soak the cake after baking. How about chocolate ganache for frosting? So good!
- Black Cake With Frosting – Is it too plain? Decorate the cake with yuletide designs to make it more festive. You can’t go wrong with cream cheese or buttercream frosting.
Tips and Tricks
- Cut all fruits into small chunks, so the rum and wine absorb evenly.
- Poke the cake and brush extra rum and wine when it is still hot so that the alcohol will soak in better. You can cover it with plastic wrap right after brushing it to seal in the moisture.
- Where to find browning sauce? You can purchase it in most Caribbean and international markets. Additionally, some major supermarkets carry it, even Walmart. However, you can use my browning sauce recipe to make your own.
- Feel free to vary the amounts and types of dried fruits and spices depending on your preference. I played around with 1 -2 pounds of dried fruits for this recipe, and it works. One pound of fruit is slightly on the dry side.
- If you’re uncomfortable whipping up the burnt sugar, you can practice a few times OR go with store-bought browning/burning sugar. Make sure to taste it first before adding it to the recipe. Bitter burnt sugar would surely ruin the whole cake.
- You may try baking it in a bundt pan but keep in mind that the cake will need to bake for considerably longer, and the resulting texture will be a bit denser than the original but still delicious. A 23cm (9″) cake tin will work too. It would require a few more minutes to bake, but it will be alright.
You can soak the fruit in rum and wine for a week to a month before to let all the flavors meld. Hardcore Caribbean Black Cake makers soak the fruit for up to a year; oh my! Remember to add more alcohol as needed so the fruit is completely submerged in the liquid. Then you can bake the cake with the fruit up to three months or longer ahead.
Serving and Storage Instructions
I prefer eating this cake firm and cold paired with my favorite cocktail. Because, you know, booze! Add cherries or other fruits on top for extra design and flavor.
Store the cake properly in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic. It will keep for four days at room temperature, six weeks in the fridge, and six months in the freezer. You can also feed the cake with rum or brandy to keep it moist and extend its shelf life.
Maybe, but it depends on much rum and wine you soak it in afterward. Your cake’s alcohol content will evaporate in the oven during baking, so no worries. But only you know how much it has when you soak the finished cake.
It’s black because of the delicious browning sauce. People also call it Caribbean Rum Cake or Fruit Cake.
A traditional fruit cake isn’t black, but this recipe is for a fruit cake. It’s just not the classic American fruit cake.
What to Serve with Caribbean Black Cake
Let’s kickstart this party with more comforting drinks! Are you with me? Oh yesss!
More Boozy Dessert Recipes to Try
- Rum Cake
- Chocolate Rum Marble Cake
- Rum Glazed Pineapple
- Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce
- Rum Raisin Pineapple Ice Cream
Enjoy the deep, dark flavor of spiked Caribbean black fruit cake for the holidays. Would you like more classic holiday recipes? Then sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date.❤️
Watch How to Make It
This blog post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video.
Caribbean Black Cake
- 1-2 pounds (500g-1k) dried fruits (raisins, currants, prunes, cherries, etc.)
- 1 cup (240ml) strong rum, plus more as needed
- 1 cup (240ml) sweet wine, plus more as needed
- 10 ounces (290g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2¼ cups (270g) flour
- 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) browning sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) molasses
- 1 teaspoon mixed spices (sub with cinnamon and allspice)
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons lime zest, grated
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) almond extract
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- Start by chopping all the fruit into little chunks, then place them in a large bowl.
- Pour rum and wine into the bowl of fruit, and add enough alcohol to cover the fruit. Cover and leave in a cool place for two days so it soaks up the alcohol. If leaving it for more than two days, you may have to add more alcohol.
- Pour the soaked fruit with any remaining juices into a blender and blend until it has a paste-like consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Grease and line the cake pan with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar at high speed until it’s fluffy and starts to look white, about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each one and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg to prevent the batter from curdling.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, followed by browning sauce, molasses, almond and vanilla extract, mixed spices, and nutmeg. Mix the batter and then add the fruit blend and lime zest.
- Stir everything well until it's thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as you mix.
- Pour the batter into a greased 10-inch cake pan.
- Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about two hours.
- If desired, poke the cake several times with a toothpick, then brush it with about ¼ cup rum or sweet wine while it is still hot. Then let it soak up the rum.
- Let it cool completely before serving.
- If desired, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wax or parchment paper. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
Tips & Notes:
- If you want a darker cake, you can add more browning sauce and less molasses. Browning can be purchased in most Caribbean and International markets. Some major supermarkets do carry them, even Walmart.
- Feel free to vary the amounts and types of dried fruit and spices depending on your preference. I played around with 1-2 pounds of dried fruits for this recipe, and it works. One pound of fruit is slightly on the dry side.
- Make sure to buy good quality dried fruits as it is a crucial ingredient to this recipe.
- Pay close attention to the ground fruit mixture. Make sure it’s not watery or lumpy but that of a paste-like consistency.
- If you’re not comfortable whipping up the burnt sugar, you can always practice a few times OR go with store-bought browning/burnt sugar. Make sure to taste it first before adding it to the recipe. Bitter burnt sugar would surely ruin the whole cake.
- Don’t forget to brush the cake with a rum or sweet wine and allow it to soak pretty well to add more flavor. You may cover it with plastic wrap right after brushing to seal in the moisture.
- The cake must be baked 3-4 days ahead before serving it for the best flavor and texture. Yep, I know! This cake needs a lot of waiting. But you can always cheat and serve it after it cooled down. 😉
- It’s said to have been introduced by the British colonists in the form of plum pudding. It has been adopted by the locals in the Caribbean islands, with readily available ingredients.
- You may try baking it in a bundt pan but keep in mind that the cake will need to bake for considerably longer, and the resulting texture will be a bit denser than the original but still delicious. A 23cm (9″) cake pan will work too. It would require a few more minutes to bake, but it will be alright.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.