If you are Guyanese, you know that there is no Christmas without black cake. Black Cake is also referred to as Fruit Cake or Christmas cake in some parts of the Caribbean; but in Guyana the two are not the same as they do differ in terms of texture and composition. It is a rich and moist cake that consists of any fruit combination of your choice such as raisins, prunes, cherries, and mixed peel. Traditionally, these fruits are pulverized then soaked in alcohol months before Christmas. The dark rich color of black cake comes from the addition of caramelized sugar, and its moist texture is maintained by the addition of wine or rum. Growing up, I do not think I have ever had a Christmas without black cake. Besides Christmas, black cake is traditional at weddings, and a slice must be kept for one year to devour on a couple’s first anniversary.
My grandma Irma makes the best black cake; it is moist, flavorful and heavenly. In my opinion, the process of making black cake is not difficult but not everyone knows how to make a GREAT black cake. I can only hope to one day perfect her recipe. I tweaked Grandma Irma’s recipe by using a bit more fruits. If you are unable to soak your fruits months prior, grandma taught me an alternative method of ‘stewing fruits’ in alcohol. This means cooking it on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes to infuse all the alcohol into the fruits. This method can be done a few days prior to baking. This is an easy alternative if you have busy schedules. I do hope this recipe revives happy memories and it fills your home with joy.
Note: I did this awesome black cake recipe in collaboration with my friend Taio from Thyme & Chive, so check us out on her YouTube. GRANDMA IRMA’S BLACK CAKE | HOW TO MAKE CARIBBEAN FRUIT/BLACK/RUM CAKE | thyme and chive
How do I like my Black Cake
Grandma Irma did not put currants in her black cake and I do the same; I love the way it tastes without it. Also, I do not like a lot of sugar in my black cake. It’s just a personal preference. Taste your batter to determine if additional sugar is needed. I generally don’t like nuts in my black cake but you can add nuts as well. You can put some rum into your cake batter if you want; I personally pour a lot of rum on top instead.
Helpful Tips for making Black Cake
- Remove the chalazae (white string part) from the eggs. Grandma Irma specifically instructed me to do so as she referred to it as the ‘embryo’. This removes the rank smell from the eggs. Alternatively, you can use lemon zest.
- Crack your eggs into a separate bowl before adding to the creamed butter. Add eggs bit by bit to avoid curdling. You can also add all the spices and extracts into the eggs then incorporate into butter.
- No need for baking powder since you are using 12 eggs. It does the job.
- Grandma Irma covered her black cake for the first 1 hour of baking with foil for it to steam and cook.
- Burnt sugar is sold in most Caribbean markets.
- Just a preference, I love to use fresh spices mostly in my black cake instead of the already grounded store-bought ones.
- Cover your black cake with a kitchen towel to cool after pouring the rum to retain the moisture.
Storage and maintaining moisture
Store on a cake stand with a lid or in a tightly closed container and add a bit of rum every 3 days to retain moisture./p>Print