Hand pouring syrup over a Caribbean black cake
How Caribbean Black Cake Utilized Local Ingredients To Make It A Staple Sweet
Caribbean black cake, a descendant of English and Irish-style fruitcakes, is greatly influenced by local Caribbean ingredients, including rum from island countries like Jamaica.
What makes this cake so unique is how each country adapts the recipe based on their own local customs, cooking practices, and especially, the availability of island ingredients.
Caribbean black cake is an overall dense, boozy, decadent dessert made with local island fruits that have been soaked in rum for up to 12 months, dried, and candied.
A process called browning creates a burnt sugar syrup sauce that provides dark coloring and rich flavor, which gets drizzled into the cake immediately before going into the oven.
More identifying features of a black cake include kola nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, and the unusually impactful flavor of tonka beans, which are similar to vanilla.
Common fruits for soaking include dried cherries, currants, prunes, raisins, and citrus peels from lemons or oranges, all of which typically flourish in summer in Jamaica.