Ever since I published a recipe for Trinidadian Black Cake in the Washington Post 6 years ago, it’s around this time of year when I make new Trinidadian friends on social media. Most people don’t make their own black cake– the rum-soaked, moist fruit cake that is celebrated at Christmas time in the Caribbean– it requires a lot of both time and labor. So I really enjoy chatting with those who make the effort, and have strong opinions on what makes their version the best.
I didn’t get around to making black cake this year (sorry everyone!), but I came up with this idea that captures its essence. If you’re looking for similar flavors, this recipe provides a lighter and less labor intensive alternative, while incorporating the fruit, booze and spices that normally go into a traditional Trinidadian black cake. It makes an excellent topping for pound cake or ice cream and you can use any combination of the fruits below– while glacé fruits and peels are traditional, they are not always easy to find and can be omitted.
Also, this image is your introduction to the gorgeous food photography in Spicebox Kitchen, by the fabulous Michelle K. Min with food styling by Haley Hazell. I can’t wait to share Spicebox Kitchen with you! (Preorder available now!)
Trinidadian Spiced Rum Soaked Fruit
Makes: 2 cups
½ cup pitted prunes
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup dried currants
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup glacé cherries
2 T mixed candied citrus peel dark rum, ideally from Trinidad, and cherry brandy or Manishewitz, enough to cover, in a 2:1 ratio (about 1-1/2 cups rum and ¾ cups Manishewitz)
1-1/2 tsp Angostura bitters
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Zest of a lime
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 days and up to 1 year. Shake or stir the mixture occasionally. Serve over pound cake or ice cream. (Careful, it’s potent!)
Yum! Looks really tasty!
Interesting idea – have you ever tried to put the fruits in a pot, cover with rum & cherry brandy & then bring to a slow boil? Once the fruit has plumped up, you turn off the stove and then put in a food processor. Cool and bottle for use later.
Hi Giselle, thanks for your suggestion, which is a method I’ve heard others use and would certainly speed up the process! It sounds like you make black cake? Any other secrets? Happy new year!