RECIPE: Caribbean Rum-Soaked Black Cake
Because the Wilsons in Wanderland Book Club is “spending the month” in Barbados currently, I wanted to find a great recipe for one of my favorite Caribbean delights: Rum Cake. I found this version of the delectable rum-soaked fruit cake via Alicia’s Pepper Pot, as it is pretty spot-on to the yummy sweet treats we’ve eaten when hanging in the Caribbean. Often referred to as “Black Cake” because of the rich color that comes from the dark rum and the mixture of prunes, raisins and currants, this dessert (or breakfast, if you wish), has an extremely moist texture, more comparable to that of a pudding than a light and fluffy cake.
If you’re a rum drinker and a cake/pudding/baked goods enthusiasts like me, you will definitely enjoy this culinary trip to the islands! Let us know if you try it- or if you’ve ever had something similar- it in the comments below!
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 2-3 cakes
Macerated Fruit Mixture
- 1 lb prunes, pitted
- 1 lb currants
- 1 lb raisins
- 8oz red glaced cherries
- 4oz mixed peel
- 750mL bottle port wine (or another dark red wine)
- 3-4 cups white or dark rum
- Keep one extra small bottle rum on hand
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp port wine
- 1 lb unsalted butter, softened (4 sticks)
- 1 lb sugar, demerara brown or white (2 cups)
- 8-9 eggs
- Zest of one lemon
- Zest of one orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 tsp mixed essence
- 1 1/2lbs macerated fruit mixture (about 3 heaping cups)
- 300g all-purpose flour (2 1/2 level cups)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground all spice
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
Alcohol Mixture to Pour on Top
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/4 cup cherry brandy
- Wash and dry all fruits. Mix together in a large bowl. Place fruits a little at a time in a food processor, food mill, or ninja blender. Add enough wine to grind fruits to a paste. Repeat process until fruits have been macerated. Fruit mixture should not be too watery. Add 3-4 cups dark rum. Stir and let mixture soak at minimum one week or even one year+. Adding more wine or rum periodically.
- If using store-bought burnt sugar, skip this step. Place sugar in a small saucepan. On low heat turn sugar with a spoon until it begins to caramelize. Once dark brown, add wine and remove from heat. Let cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 275 or 300 degrees F.
- Line 3-8in or 2-9in baking pans with parchment paper. Trim paper and set aside.
- Bring eggs and butter to room temperature.
- Crack eggs into a separate bowl one at a time, Remove white membrane from each egg. Beat in zests, vanilla, almond, and mixed essence. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In deep mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs a little at a time. Blend well.
- Of the macerated fruit mixture, add 1 1/2 lbs (3 heaping cups) a little at a time, continue blending.
- Add flour mixture a little at a time- fold in with a spatula. Add 1 tbsp burnt sugar at a time until desired color is achieved. If using store bought burnt sugar, 4 tbsp should suffice for a very dark cake. Mix well.
- Pour batter into lined cake pans.
- Bake anywhere from 275-300 degrees F for 80-90 minutes. When cake come out of oven, pour alcohol mixture on top. When cool, cover cake with plastic wrap. Flavor is best after a few days.
1lb fruit mixture is traditionally used, you can try this recipe with these changes to see if it meets your preference. If you did not soak fruits months ahead, you can also simmer the fruits in wine for about 20 minutes. Let it cool then macerate and combine with rum. Batter may be split in 3 smaller cake pans. After removing cake from oven, it may seem it is under cooked. Do not be alarmed as this is how it is supposed to be. After 2-3 days the texture will change.
- Eggs and butter must be room temperature to help with even mixing.
- 8inch pan is the perfect size for me. The batter will fill 3 tins. 9in pans may be used, but make sure to adjust baking time. Bigger the pan, the less time needed to bake.
- I like to line pans with parchment paper. It keeps the bottom of the cake moist and also ensures the cake absorbs all the alcohol mixture when poured on top.
- When grinding fruits, make sure it is not lumpy. It should resemble a paste texture.
- If using store-bought browning/burnt sugar, make sure to taste it first to ensure it is not salty.
- You will have macerated fruit mixture remaining, this recipe only calls for 3 cups of the mixture and makes two cakes.
- You will use up most, not all, of the port wine when macerating/soaking the fruit.
- If you are not comfortable making your own burnt sugar, practice a few times. It can burn very quickly, so as soon as it gets very dark brown, remove from heat and add wine. Taste when cool to make sure it is not bitter. If too bitter, it will ruin the taste of the cake! Here is a great video on how to make your own burnt sugar – http://bit.ly/2AzGqFC
- After brushing cake with rum/brandy mixture, let it cool a few minutes then cover cake with plastic wrap. Make sure plastic wrap touches cake. This helps to seal in the moisture. Leave plastic wrap on cake and once ever few days, add more rum/brandy mixture.
HOW Alicia’s Pepper Pot LIKES HER BLACK CAKE:
- It must have a pudding like texture, not stiff, rubbery, or dry
- It must have just enough rum, not overpowering where you can’t enjoy the cake
- The cake must be baked at least 3 days ahead so it has time to dry for best flavor/texture
- It must have a good height, we want a piece of cake, not a sliver
- Royal icing for weddings and birthday parties; no icing for our black cake baked at Christmas