Categorized |Desserts

How To Make Caribbean Black Cake Part 2.

In part one of this black cake making recipe we focused on preparing the aromatic fruits we’ll be using to give the cake it truly unique Caribbean flavor. Black cake is one of those desserts you’ll find in just about every Caribbean home during the Christmas holidays and as we’ve discussed in part 1, just about everyone does things a bit different. This black cake recipe is one which takes me back to my childhood in Trinidad and Tobago as we all (brothers and sisters) assisted my mom in making these the night before Christmas. Besides the scent of freshly painted walls, varnished floors, new curtains and bed sheets… the tempting fragrance out of the oven leading up to and including Christmas day is one of pure joyful memories for me. Cake, bread, bake pork and the smoked ham.

Let’s get baking…


You’ll Need…

2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 lb)
1 cup brown sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon mixed essence
4-5 cups dried fruits (puree/soaked)
2 cups allpurpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon browning (see note below)
1 teaspoon lime zest (grated)
dash of angostura bitters (optional) and a pinch of salt

Note: The browning required to give the cake the dark rich color and Caribbean flavor is not your typical gravy browning. It’s a Caribbean style  burnt sugar browning. Its consistency will be similar to molasses (thick). You can source this at any West Indian grocery store or you can make  your own if you prefer.

* Make sure the eggs are room temperature and the butter is soft.
* if you prefer to use granulated sugar instead of the brown sugar I mentioned, by all means do so. This is just my preference.

We’ll start off by creaming the butter and sugar until you have a fluffy and smooth consistency. You will also notice that the color will become more pale as you cream the butter. This is one of those times you’ll be thankful if you have a standing mixers. we don’t own one (Santa, please bring Chris a Kitchen Aid for Christmas. please boss), so in a large bowl I put the sugar and butter and using my handy hand mixer I went to work. Back in the old days I remember it was my dads job to do this with a large spoon. Mr Man was old school.

After you have a smooth and fluffy batter base, it’s time to start adding the eggs. Remember to have them at room temperature for best results, add one at a time and mix it thoroughly.  Tip : Crack each egg into a small bowl first so you can fish out any shell if any pieces fall in.. this way you’re not diving in the batter for it)

After you’ve added and worked in all the eggs, it’s time to add the vanilla, bitters, mixed essence and lime zest and give it a good mix.  Seeing that I was using a hand mixer I added the soaked fruits in two batches to make less work for the mixer. I added 3 cups, worked it in with a spatula, then gave it a good mix with the hand mixer.. then repeated with the other 2 cups of fruits. I now had the ‘wet’ batter completely mixed.

By now you’ll start getting that wonderful scent of cake batter, spiced by the wonderful soaked fruits. Now it’s time to work with the dry ingredients, then combine everything. In another bowl I placed the flour, pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg (if you have freshly grated that would work best) allspice and baking powder. Give that a good mix and I would even suggest sifting to really have it mix evenly. We’ll now start adding the dry ingredients to the wet batter, but do so in 1/3 amounts (so three times). To make mixing easier and to allow for even mixing.

 With the batter completely mixed, it’s time to add the browning (see note above about type) and time to give the entire batter it’s final mix.


You’ll have enough batter here for 2 round pans (10-12 inches) or as in my case I used 3 disposable rectangle pans. Not only did I grease then, I also lined them with parchment paper to avoid any issues when they were done baking (to remove them). I got the pans in the dollar store and I like the fact that they came with lids, so I could easily seal them when they were cooled. Great for giving as Christmas gifts.

Pour in enough batter to 2/3  up the pan and place in a preheated 250 F oven for 2.5 hours. Since your oven will differ from mine, I suggest you give the cake the toothpick test after the 2.5 hrs to see if it’s fully baked. In the video below I explain this. If it’s not fully cooked, put it back in for another 20-30 minutes. I baked mine on the middle shelf of my oven if you’re wondering and it was completely baked after 2.5 hours.

After you remove the cakes from the oven allow it to cool for a bit, then you can brush a mixture of rum and sherry over it and allow it to soak through the cake. This will give it that added kick! Trust meh!

Before you go I invite you to leave me your comments below.. even if it just to say hello. It’s always appreciated. And don’t forget to join us on facebook and do check out the cooking videos.

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92 Responses to “How To Make Caribbean Black Cake Part 2.”

  1. jillian says:

    I made this cake today and the directions were very clear and easy to follow. My cake turned out to be a great success.

  2. Lisa says:

    My mom and I tried your recipe tonight and we doubled it, except for the eggs, and the batter was delicious, we can’t wait for the cakes to come out of the oven. This is going to be our yearly black cake recipe. Thank you a million.

    Your Grenadian followers.

  3. C. Niles says:

    Didnt want to make mistake after soaking fruit for 2 months (expensive cake to make). With the essense, cinnamon, nutmeg, fruit, dont need so much sugar; especially since I’m going to put royal icing on it. See what you meant about brushing with more alcohol after baking. Nice! 250 on my oven is setting for warming, so 275 for 2.5hrs worked perfectly. Gotta know your own oven. A blessed holiday season to all of you. Long life, good health, many, many more. Thnks from the resident Bajan.

  4. Astrud says:

    Hey Chris, Hope you are doing well and enjoying the holiday season.
    Thanks for this receipe.
    This is what I found worked for my mother and aunt.
    . When you soak the mixed fruits in port wine and rum, for about a year, it will give you the color and you wont’t need as much browning which does change the taste.
    Use More port than rum it will give it sweetness and color and with rum the flavors heighten. Too much rum will dry out the cake during baking. So, soaking with rum after it cools give you the carribean high taste. You can soak it cap full at a time every week-if you baked week(s) before season.
    If you don’t have a year to soak the fruits, you can put fruits with rum and port wine , on stove in deep pot under low heat, boil them with pot cover on and adding port wine as it evaporates. Test Fruits if soft, with a fork, if soft turn off fire and rest til cool then add more rum and port then add to you mix as Desired.
    I learnt this from my busy town cousin, who had no time to soak fruits and needed to add some more to already year soaked ones.
    Thanks again as always for your carribean passion cooking. Have a good holiday with your family and friends. May God’s unconditional love continue iin your life. Keep safe.

  5. Christine says:

    Hi Chris,

    I tried this recipe, great except the appears greasy after cooling but after 3 days perfect. thanks

  6. Sherry says:

    I made this. I am in black cake heaven.

  7. Natasha says:

    Tried this recipe tonight. It’s been 2 hours + 45mins at 250 degrees as suggested and my cake is still not baked. It’s 2:00am! I know you mention in your YouTube video that you cannot judge other peoples ovens but after reviewing other websites, everyone else suggests 300 degrees F. I think you really under estimated the suggested temperature.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Natasha
      I found that it depends on the depth of the pan. That is something I can never judge, the size of the pan to how much of the mixture should go in one pan. I just baked a cake at 180oC for a 2.5hr recipe and it took only 1 hr!! Nearly burnt my cake. Give it another try sometime. It’s a great recipe.

  8. Imani says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I used it last year and it was a great hit. So, guess what, I’m using it again this year.

    However, I have a few questions…1 tablespoon of browning had the cake a bit light in colour so i added another tablespoon.

    My question is, will adding too much browning change the taste of the cake?
    Also, even though the cake looks light before baking, will it darken with baking?

    Thanks for a speedy response.

    • admin says:

      it does darken a bit… try not to overdo it with the browning or you’ll end up a a sort of ‘burnt’ flavor. The problem with bottled browning is that it varies (in color and taste) based on manufacturer.

  9. Karen says:


    Thanks for the recipe I have never made this cake before, I am making this cake and whilst mixing in the eggs the mixture looks a little watery. Should I have put in extra flour? I did however put in extra flour and its in the oven now. So fingers crossed.

  10. grazor says:

    This was some great info and while i have been successful previously by using the Naparima Girls cookbook in conjunction with other sources this is probably the most definitive recipe for how I want to do by Christmas/Black Cake as my minced fruits have been marinating all year in good Grenadian (River Antoine ) rum. Your methodology looks like my Mum’s and so I feel super confident. Many thanks Chris. Keep doing what you clearly love man!

  11. Gerville says:

    Hi Chris

    Thanks, I will be making this tonight.

  12. Joann says:

    Hi Chris wonderful recipe here… couple questions 1. How soon after its out the oven should i add the rum, whine sherry… 2. Should I brush or pour over. 3.. Is there a reason why the cakes go flat after i take them out. 4. For these cakes what icing should I use if using for a wedding..

  13. dc says:

    Hello Chris,
    The season is near upon us again.
    I have been asking this question to many people but have gotten no answer, so now I ask you.
    I would like to take a black cake recipe (I shall be using yours this year) and bake the recipe in standard sized muffin tins.
    So: black cake recipe, standard sized muffin tins – (1)at what oven temperature should I bake the muffin tins at and (2) for how long should i bake the muffin tins for?
    Thanking you for your reply.

    • Angela says:

      Hi Chris
      quick question
      Do you ever answer any question posted?

      • admin says:

        No (kidding).. email and the FB fan page are the best places to get answers. I don’t have support staff, so with 200+ questions/emails/instant messages.. I simply dont have time

  14. Layla says:

    This is so great, can’t tell you enough how glad I am with this recipee.

    Thank you Chris.

  15. D cordice says:

    Looks absolutely divine, will be definately making your cake as soon as the fruits have been soaked for another 2 weeks


  1. […] engage in as we visit family and friends during the Christmas season on the islands. Currants roll, Caribbean fruit (rum) cake, Jamaican spice bun, rock buns (coconut drops), red coconut tart and pineapple […]

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