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Jamaican Black Rum Cake

Jamaican Black Cake, also known as Caribbean or Trinidad black cake, is a rich dark alcohol-soaked fruit cake that is a staple during the Christmas holidays. It’s heavily infused with rum and wine that give it a distinctively delightful taste. Essentially, it’s a boozy, fruity cake that is simply irresistible!

Freshly baked Jamaican Black Rum Cake, displaying its characteristic dark, glossy surface.

I believe every dish tells a story

If you have been keeping up with my cooking journey, you will know that I love recipes that are packed with flavor and have a strong connection to tradition, like my Nigerian Meatpie, Jamaican oxtails, or my East African Chapati. This Jamaican fruit cake is not an exception; it embodies the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica.

This isn’t just any fruitcake; it is packed with juicy rum-soaked fruits, warm spices, and browning sauce that gives it a rich, dark color.

Jamaican Black Rum Cake

Jamaican Black Rum Cake is a traditional Caribbean dessert known for its intense and distinctive flavor. It is a rich, aromatic, and decadent treat with a moist texture infused with dried fruits and a delightful kick of rum. It is perfect for festive gatherings or a delightful gift for the season.

Its batter consists of softened butter, brown sugar, eggs, and spices, with molasses, browning sauce, and chopped nuts for a velvety texture. Adjust the recipe by varying the dried fruits, nuts, or spices to suit personal preferences, and enjoy this flavourful dessert. 

Closeup shot of the dense texture and soaked fruits inside a slice of the Jamaican Black Rum Cake.

Ingredients

  1. Salted butter enhances the cake’s texture and taste.
  2. Brown Sugar: provides a rich, caramelized sweetness that complements the molasses in the cake, enhancing its overall richness. 
  3. Eggs: play a crucial role in the cake’s structure and texture, providing moisture and aiding in leavening.
  4. Pure vanilla extract: enhances its flavour profile by adding a subtle sweetness and depth.
  5. Browning Sauce: is an optional ingredient that enhances the colour of a cake by adding a dark hue, enhancing its signature appearance.
  6. Molasses: enhance the flavor by adding a rich, dark sweetness and a hint of bitterness.
  7. Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg: are aromatic spices that add warmth and complexity to the Caribbean flavour profile.
  8. Allspice: enhances the flavor profile of Jamaican Black Rum Cake by adding warmth and depth.
  9. All-purpose flour: serves as the cake’s base, providing structure and forming the foundation for the other ingredients.
  10. Baking powder and baking soda: are leavening agents that aid in the rise of cakes, resulting in a light and fluffy texture.
  11. Lime zest can enhance the cake’s flavor profile by adding freshness and a hint of sweetness.
  12. Salt enhances flavors, balances sweetness, and adds depth to the overall taste.

How to Make the Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake 

  • Preheat your oven to 300°F (149°C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round baking pan with butter and set aside. Prepare an additional pan with water and set it at the bottom rack of the oven when baking.
  • Place the softened butter and dark brown sugar into a large bowl. Use a stand mixer to cream the ingredients at medium speed until they are light and fluffy (about 5 to 6 minutes). Set aside.
  • Beat the eggs in a separate bowl until they’re light yellow in color and foamy. This process should take about 3-5 minutes using a mixer. Add vanilla, browning, molasses, lime juice, and zest to this egg mixture. Mix gently using a low-speed setting (about 30 seconds). Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, salt, and lime zest. Mix again at low speed for another 30 seconds.
  • Combine the egg mixture with the creamed butter and sugar, folding them together until fully mixed. Once blended, fold in the pureed fruit mixture, followed by the flour.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and place it into the preheated oven. Remember to place the water-filled pan on the bottom rack to prevent your cake from drying out. Bake for approximately 2 hours. You’ll know when the cake is done if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Equipment for Making Jamaican Black Rum Cake

Here’s a list of essential items to make Jamaican Black Rum Cake:

  1. Mixing Bowl: for combining and mixing ingredients.
  2. Electric Mixer or Stand Mixer: For mixing and achieving a smooth batter.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate measurement of ingredients
  4. Spatula: To scrape the sides of the bowls and ensure all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Whisk or Sifter: To sift dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and spices together, ensuring they’re free of lumps and thoroughly mixed.
  6. Bundt Pan or Cake Tin: Ensure it’s well-greased and floured to prevent sticking.
  7. Oven: Preheat to the specified temperature for baking the cake.
  8. Cooling Rack: To cool the cake after baking and allow air circulation, preventing the bottom from becoming soggy.
  9. Cheesecloth or Parchment Paper (Optional): For wrapping the cooled cake in rum-soaked material to enhance its flavor.
Beautifully presented Jamaican Black Rum Cake decorated with cherries

Frequently Asked Questions 

What makes Jamaican Black Rum Cake unique?

The Jamaican Black Rum Cake is a distinctive Caribbean dessert made from mixed dried fruits, dark Jamaican rum, aromatic spices, and optional ingredients like browning sauce or sweet red dessert wine.

Can I substitute the dark Jamaican rum with another type of rum? 

Dark Jamaican rum is traditionally used for authenticity, but you can use other dark rums for similar flavor depth. Different rums may have varying tastes.

What does browning sauce add to the recipe?

Browning sauce enhances the color of a cake by adding a dark hue, contributing to its signature appearance without significantly altering the flavor.

How long should I soak the fruits in rum? 

Soak mixed dried fruits, cranberries, cherries, and Mixed Peel in dark Jamaican rum for a few hours or overnight to enhance flavor and moisten the cake.

Can I customize the recipe with my favorite rum or additional ingredients? 

Absolutely! The recipe is customizable with your preferred rum or additional ingredients, allowing you to experiment with different rums and flavors. 

Tips

  • Soak mixed dried fruits, cranberries, cherries, and Mixed Peel in dark Jamaican rum overnight to enhance flavors and moisture content.
  • Before using butter and eggs in the batter, ensure they are at room temperature to create a smoother and more cohesive mixture.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together to create a uniform batter texture and prevent lumps.
  • To prevent overcooking, monitor baking time and check the cake’s center with a toothpick, which should come out clean or have moist crumbs.
  • Customize the flavor profile of your dessert by adding optional ingredients such as browning sauce, sweet red dessert wine, or a rum glaze.
  • Ensure that the cake is cooled before you apply the glaze.

To store Jamaican Black Rum Cake, follow these guidelines:

  • Cool completely, place in an airtight container, and store at room temperature. 
  • Refrigerate for longer shelf life. 
  • Freeze for a bit of time. 
  • Control moisture with parchment paper or wax paper, and occasionally brush with additional rum to enhance flavor. 
  • Store the cake away from strong-smelling foods and freeze it securely.

Remember that the cake often improves with time, allowing flavors to meld. Proper storage helps maintain the quality of the cake and allows you to enjoy its rich flavors over time.

What to Serve with this Recipe

Jamaican Black Rum Cake is a rich and flavorful dessert that pairs well with various recipes. Some suggestions include whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, Sorrel drink – sorrel, Simple Homemade Lemonade Recipe, African Lemon Ginger Tea, fruit compote, caramel sauce, crème fraîche, fresh berries, chopped nuts, coffee or tea, Rich And Creamy Blueberry Banana Smoothie, rum-infused beverages, and chocolate ganache.

Other cake recipes

Freshly baked Jamaican Black Rum Cake, displaying its characteristic dark, glossy surface.

Jamaican Black Rum Cake

Jamaican Black Rum Cake is a rich, aromatic, and decadent treat with a moist texture infused with dried fruits and a delightful kick of rum, offering a blissful tropical taste. It is perfect for festive gatherings or a delightful gift for the season.
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Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 543.1kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl: for combining and mixing ingredients.
  • Electric Mixer or Stand Mixer: For mixing and achieving a smooth batter.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate measurement of ingredients
  • Spatula: To scrape the sides of the bowls and ensure all ingredients are well combined.
  • Whisk or Sifter: To sift dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and spices together, ensuring they’re free of lumps and thoroughly mixed.
  • Bundt Pan or Cake Tin: Ensure it’s well-greased and floured to prevent sticking.
  • Oven: Preheat to the specified temperature for baking the cake.
  • Cooling Rack: To cool the cake after baking and allow air circulation, preventing the bottom from becoming soggy.
  • Cheesecloth or Parchment Paper (Optional): For wrapping the cooled cake in rum-soaked material to enhance its flavor.

Ingredients

Mixed dried fruits

  • 1 1/2 cup Prunes Dried and pitted
  • 1 cup dried raisins seedless
  • 1 cup dried Cranberries
  • 1 cup dried Cherries
  • 1/2 cup orange zest lemon, citron (Mixed)
  • 1 – 2 cups red wine cherry wine, sweet red dessert wine
  • 1 cup Rum

Ingredients for the cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs plain
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 lb butter 2 sticks room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice and lime zest
  • 2 cups dried berries about 2 cups of pureed soaked dry fruits
  • 4 tbsp browning sauce commercial or homemade
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 cup red wine Red label wine

Instructions

Instructions for the Mixed dried fruits:

    Method 1:

    • Place the fruits in a large jar, pour wine/rum in until fruits are entirely covered, and seal the jar tightly. Leave the fruits to soak for at least one week or up to a year to allow them to absorb the flavored liquid.

    Method 2:

    • To quickly and easily marinate dried fruits, place them in a pot and pour the wine over them until they are fully covered. Boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes, then let it cool and marinate for 24 hours. This will result in the fruits being soaked as if they had been left to marinate for a month in advance.
    • When you are ready to use the soaked fruits, depending on the texture you want, yo can either blend till smooth with a blender or use a food processor to achieve a coarsely blended texture.

    Instructions for the cake

    • Preheat your oven to 300°F (149°C). Grease and line a 10 inch round baking bowl with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare an additional pan with water and set it at the bottom rack of the oven when baking.
    • Mix the flour, bread crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
    • Place the room temperature butter and dark brown sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and using the beater attachment, cream until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes. May take a little longer if using an electric hand mixer.
    • Gradually add the egg into the creamed butter one at a time. Creaming after each addition.
    • Add vanilla, lime juice, and zest. Mix gently using a low-speed setting (about 30 seconds). Fold in the pureed fruit mixture with a wooden spoon.
    • Fold in the flour and bread crumbs mixture. Once combined, stir in the browning and molasses
    • Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and place it into the preheated oven. Remember to place the water-filled pan on the bottom rack to prevent your cake from drying out. Bake for approximately 2 hours. You’ll know when the cake is done if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    • Once the cake is baked, let it rest in the pan for few minutes then pour ¼ cup of sweet red wine over the cake. After that, leave the cake to cool overnight. During this time, the cake will absorb the liquid poured on top, giving it a delicious flavor.

    Notes

    • Soak mixed dried fruits, cranberries, cherries, and Mixed Peel in dark Jamaican rum overnight to enhance flavors and moisture content.
    • Before using butter and eggs in the batter, ensure they are at room temperature to create a smoother and more cohesive mixture.
    • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together to create a uniform batter texture and prevent lumps.
    • To prevent overcooking, monitor baking time and check the cake’s center with a toothpick, which should come out clean or have moist crumbs.
    • Customize the flavor profile of your dessert by adding optional ingredients such as browning sauce, sweet red dessert wine, or a rum glaze.
    • Ensure that the cake is cooled before you apply the glaze.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 543.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 81.6g | Protein: 6.6g | Fat: 15.8g | Saturated Fat: 8.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.9g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 271.7mg | Potassium: 393.3mg | Fiber: 4.3g | Sugar: 33.5g | Vitamin A: 912.1IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 97.2mg | Iron: 2mg

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