Bajan Christmas Black Cake


Ins & Outs of Barbados

December 22, 2022

Black cake, also known as fruitcake or Christmas cake, is a traditional dessert that is popular in Barbados and many other Caribbean countries. In Barbados, black cake is a staple at Christmas time and is often served at holiday gatherings and parties. It is a time-honored tradition that has been passed down through the generations and is an important part of Bajan Christmas celebrations.

To make black cake, you will need a variety of dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, cherries, and mixed peel, as well as nuts like almonds and pecans. These ingredients are mixed with a combination of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and then soaked in rum or other spirits for several weeks or even months to allow the flavors to fully develop.

Once the fruit mixture has been soaked, it is mixed into a batter made from butter, sugar, and eggs. The batter is then baked in a large cake pan until it is golden brown and fully cooked. One of the unique features of Bajan black cake is the use of browning, which is a caramel-like syrup made from sugar and water. The syrup is added to the batter before baking to give the cake a dark, rich color and a distinctive flavor.

Whether you are a fan of fruitcake or have never tried it before, black cake is a must-try dessert during the holiday season in Barbados. It is a delicious, rich, and flavorful cake that is sure to become a new holiday favorite.

Recipe taken from Caribbean Cookbook A Lifetime of Recipes by Rita G. Springer

This book is available from, Best of Barbados Gift Shops, The Barbados Museum and Ganzee - The Island Shop


900g (21b) raisins
225g (1/2lb) mixed peel
450g (1lb) currants
100g (1/4lb) brown sugar
225g (1/2lb) prunes
1 cup rum
100g (1/4lb) glacé cherries
100g (1/4lb) chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon spice (powdered)
450g (1lb) butter
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
675g (1 1/2lb) brown sugar
1 tablespoon almond essence
10 eggs
1 cup port wine or falernum
450g (1lb) flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking powder
brown colouring (browning) 


Mince the fruit and soak in 1 cup rum with the spices, essences, nuts and 100g (1/4lb) sugar.Mix these ingredients well, put them in a glass or earthenware jar, cover and allow mixture to steep for three weeks or longer.When ready to bake the cake, cream the butter and sugar well, and add the eggs beating in one by one.

Now add the fruit mixture which has been cooked over low heat with a cup of water for about 15 minutes, constantly stirring. This preliminary cooking of the fruit shortens the baking time of the cake and reduces the possibility of the cake burning in the oven. Stir in about 1/2 cup burnt sugar colouring to make them mixture light brown in colour. Add the flour sifted with baking powderm and salt, last. Put the mixture intombaking tins greased and lined with two thicknesses of waxed paper. Fill the pans, 2.5cm (1in) from the top.

Bake them in a slow oven (140°C, 275°F or Gas 1) for 2 to 3 hours according to the size. Test with a skewer before removing them from the oven. As soon as the cakes are removed from the oven, prick them well with a skewer and pour slowly over them a mixture of rum and port wine or falernum which the cakes will absorb. Allow them to remain in the pans for 3 to 4 days, after which they may be covered with a layer of almond icing or marzipan, then iced with Royal Icing.

Things to do

From swimming with sea turtles, partying under the stars, exploring the rugged east coast to enjoying the island’s duty free shopping, Barbados has something for everyone.

Bajan Christmas Black Cake