How to Make Traditional Caribbean Black Cake: A Festive Christmas Pudding Alternative Recipe

Caribbean Black Cake is a rich, dense, and moist cake that’s a popular holiday treat in the Caribbean, especially as an alternative to the traditional Christmas pudding. It’s known for its deep, complex flavors derived from rum-soaked dried fruits and its dark color, typically achieved with burnt sugar. This recipe will guide you through the process of making this festive and flavorful cake, perfect for those looking to try something different this Christmas.


For the Fruit Base:

  • Mixed dried fruits (raisins, currants, prunes, cherries): 3 cups
  • Dark rum: 1 cup
  • Cherry brandy or port wine: 1 cup

For the Cake:

  • Unsalted butter, softened: 1 cup
  • Brown sugar: 1 cup
  • Large eggs: 4
  • All-purpose flour: 2 cups
  • Baking powder: 1 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon: 1 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg: ½ tsp
  • Mixed spice or allspice: 1 tsp
  • Almond essence: 1 tsp
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
  • Burnt sugar or browning: 2 tbsp
  • Blended rum-soaked fruits: 2 cups


  1. Prepare the Fruit Base (Preferably Weeks Ahead): Finely chop or blend the mixed dried fruits. Soak them in rum and cherry brandy or port wine in a sealed container. The longer the fruits soak, the richer the flavor will be – ideally, do this weeks or even months in advance.
  2. Preheat the Oven and Prep the Pan: Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Grease a round cake pan and line it with parchment paper for easy removal.
  3. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add Eggs: Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mixed spice.
  6. Mix Dry Ingredients with Creamed Mixture: Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
  7. Add Essence and Burnt Sugar: Stir in the almond essence, vanilla extract, and burnt sugar (browning), ensuring the color is evenly distributed.
  8. Fold in Rum-Soaked Fruits: Gently fold in the rum-soaked fruits into the batter.
  9. Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool in the pan before turning it out. Optionally, you can brush the cake with more rum for added moistness and flavor.


  • Burnt Sugar (Browning): You can make your own by caramelizing sugar until it’s very dark and then adding water, or use a store-bought version.
  • Soaking the Fruits: The longer you soak the fruits, the better. Some people soak them for up to a year!
  • Storage: This cake can be stored for a long time. Wrap it in parchment paper and then in foil, and keep it in a cool place.

Caribbean Black Cake is a cherished holiday tradition in many Caribbean households. Its rich, spiced, and boozy flavors make it an excellent alternative to the more traditional Christmas pudding, offering a taste of Caribbean warmth and cheer during the festive season.

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