Try our Caribbean black cake recipe then check out our Caribbean rum cake, rum and raisin cake and more Christmas baking recipes.

Tips for taking your black cake to the next level

Making your black cake ahead: If you’ve got time on your hands, skip the simmering and add all the fruit with the alcohol to a container, making sure the fruit is fully submerged. Seal and leave for at least three months, up to a year, topping up with more alcohol if necessary. When it’s time to use, use just the fruit.

Which spicing to use: Mixed spice is useful to save on storecupboard space but, if you can, use individual spices and don’t be afraid to mix them up for a more nuanced flavour that suits your taste.

Browning the sugar: Browning helps give black cake its dark colour and deeper flavour, making it the richer, denser cousin of British fruit cake. Take the sugar to the edge of smoky when melting for that bittersweet hit.

Which alcohol to use in your black cake: Choice of alcohol is important when soaking the fruit. You’ll be using a fair amount so pick a good-quality rum and port (or cherry brandy). Trust us, your taste buds will thank you later.

How to store a black cake: The cake can be stored and wrapped for up to a month. In fact, these cakes are often baked in multiples to give to family and friends who can brush with extra rum/port mixture if the cake looks like it’s starting to get dry.

Caribbean black cake recipe



  • 175g currants
  • 175g raisins
  • 100g prunes
  • 50g glacé cherries
  • 250ml port
  • 200ml dark rum


  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp port


  • 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 70ml port
  • 70ml dark rum


  • STEP 1

    Put the dried fruits and port in a wide pan over a medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced and the fruit is plump. Transfer the fruit to a large bowl and pour over the rum. Leave to marinate for 1 hr or overnight. Blitz the fruit and rum in a food processor to a thick paste.

    A bowl of dried fruits being soaked
  • STEP 2

    For the browning, put the sugar in a small pan over a low heat. Gently stir with a spatula for 2-3 mins or until the sugar melts – it will darken quickly, so remove from the heat once it starts to get smoky. Add the port, being careful as it will bubble. Return to a very low heat and break down any crystallised sugar with the spatula. Strain over a small bowl and set aside.

    someone making the browning for a black cake
  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.

  • STEP 4

    To make the cake, put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment for 4-6 mins or until pale and aerated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, adding 1 tbsp of flour if it starts to curdle. Beat in the zests and extracts.

  • STEP 5

    Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices, and beat into the batter in two parts until just combined. Add the puréed fruit along with the browning and beat again until combined. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin and smooth the top using a spatula. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hr 20 mins, testing if a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If not, bake for a further 5 mins.

    someone grating nutmeg into a white ceramic bowl
  • STEP 6

    Once baked, remove from the oven to a wire rack, keeping it in the tin, and pierce all over with a toothpick. Combine the port and rum, and brush over the surface of the cake. Leave for 20 mins, then brush with the mixture again. Repeat this twice more or until you have 1 tbsp of the mixture left. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and brush the sides of the cake with the remaining mixture. Wrap in baking paper and foil, and leave for at least 3-4 days before eating.

Check out more of our favourite Caribbean-inspired recipes

Jamaican Goat curry


Also try


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 5 out of 5.1 rating