December is here and with it, the official holiday season for Black Cake. The Caribbean Rum Cake is also known as Caribbean Fruit Cake, or by the addition of burnt sugar "Black Cake". Depending on the Island you are from the cake is known as Black Cake, Christmas Pudding, Great Cake, Wedding Cake, Grooms Cake, or Fruit Cake, while some people may know it as Jamaican Black Cake or Bajan Black. Black Cake is traditionally associated with Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago. In Puerto Rico, rum cake is called Bizcocho de Ron, and is a sponge cake, so as to absorb the rum. Called by any name, this cake remains the celebratory cake that speaks to the culture and essence of the Caribbean people and diaspora everywhere.
A black cake is a type of dessert cake which contains rum. In most of the Caribbean, black cakes are a traditional holiday season dessert, descended from the holiday puddings. Traditionally, dried fruit is soaked in rum and then added to the cake mixture with burnt sugar. The result is similar to a fruitcake, with a lighter texture.
The origin of black cake, related to British fruit cake, traces back to Indigenous and African people who were enslaved by English colonizers and forced to produce sugar. The recipe likely made its way to New England during the slave trade. The British challenged Spanish rule and successfully took control of Caribbean territories, including Barbados and Jamaica. They then cultivated sugarcane using enslaved African labor up until emancipation. During those years of British colonial rule, the British colonists added to the Caribbean culture by introducing the Christmas Plum Pudding. The Caribbean people added their twist to the Christmas pudding to make black cake what it is today.
The Black Cake ingredients came from around the world; spice came from India, currants came from Australia, and rum and sugar came from the British West Indies. People in the Caribbean have been making black cake for years before modern ways of cooking existed. They would use clay or iron coal pots, box ovens, brick ovens, or the kerosene pan.
From The Black Cake Company Caribbean family to yours, we wish you a blessed, happy, and healthy holiday season, filled with love and a taste of the traditional Caribbean Black Cake.