Guyanese Black Cake

If you want something special to serve at your next Christmas dinner, you have to make this delicious Guyanese black cake recipe. I know it looks like a rich dark chocolate cake, but really, it’s filled with fruit and booze.

Guyanese black cake is made using dried, macerated fruits, including prunes, currents, and glacéd cherries. The fruit is chopped and then soaked in red wine and dark rum, sometimes for months before the cake is made. The cake batter uses burnt sugar to get the signature dark color.

Guyanese Black Cake 

In the UK, fruit cake is a classic Christmas dessert. It’s usually made a few months in advance and soaked in dark alcohol, like sherry or brandy.

Guyanese black cake is the Caribbean version of that cake.

Both are loaded with chewy fruits that add natural sweetness, and both are soaked in booze to ensure it stays perfectly moist and tender.

But where this recipe differs is in its color. As the name suggests, it’s pretty dark - almost black.

Traditional recipes call for burnt sugar, where other recipes use caramel color or browning.

If you want to make this authentic as possible, I suggest using burnt sugar, but you’d be better off buying it readymade.

It’s a tricky thing to make yourself as it burns very fast. So, to save yourself some time, just pop onto Amazon and grab a jar.

Ingredients for Guyanese Black Cake

Okay, this list might look scary, but don’t let it intimidate you. I promise this cake is pretty easy to make!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fruit - the key to this cake is the right blend of chewy fruits. You’ll need prunes, raisins, and dried mix peel. I like to add extra cherries for sweetness as well as currents. Of course, you can always use dates instead of prunes.
  • Burnt Sugar - as mentioned, you’re better off buying this online. 
  • Dark Rum - this is another must-have. I recommend finding something not too expensive, but that has a smooth taste. After all, you’re baking with it, so it doesn’t need to be the best of the best.
  • Spices - the blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is perfect, though you could add a teaspoon of mace or anise too. 

Since this is so rich and deeply flavored, I like to lighten it up with a big glass of iced vanilla coffee!

How To Make Guyanese Black Cake

For the Fruit

  • 1 pound of Raisins
  • 1 pound of Prunes
  • 1 pound of Currents
  • 1/4 pound of Glacé Cherries
  • 1/4 pound of Mix, Dried Citrus Peel
  • 1/4 pound of Almonds or Peanuts 
  • 2 cups of Dark Rum

For the Cake

  • 1 pound of All-Purpose Flour (about 3.5 cups)
  • 1 pound of Butter (2 cups)
  • 2 cups of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 10 whole Eggs
  • 1/4 cup of Burnt Sugar
  • 1/4 cup of Dark Rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves


You’ll want to start with the fruit, which I suggest mixing about three months before you want to bake the cake,

If you want this for Christmas, start in the middle of October.

  1. Put all the fruit into a large bowl and cover with water. 
  2. Gently stir and then lift out the fruit, shaking off any excess water.
  3. Put the fruit into a food processor and blitz in batches with a splash of rum each time. 
  4. Once all of the fruit has been blended, add it to a large bowl and stir in the rest of the rum.
  5. Cover with cling film or a plastic lid and leave in a cool, dry place for 2-4 weeks.

Start the cake in the first or second week of November.

  1. Preheat the oven to 135°C/275°F.
  2. Grease two 9-inch baking pans and line with parchment. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour with salt, baking powder, and spices. 
  4. Cream the butter and sugar into a separate bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Blend in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next.
  6. Add the vanilla and the macerated fruit to the butter and egg mixture, gently stirring until it’s combined.
  7. Pour half of the flour mixture into the bowl and stir until it’s almost completely blended. 
  8. Add the rest of the flour mixture and fold until it’s almost completely blended.
  9. Pour half of the burnt sugar into the bowl and mix, checking the color. If needed, add more. 
  10. Finally, add the rum and mix until its smooth.
  11. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 2 hours.
  12. Open the oven and check with a toothpick. 
  13. If it comes out clean, the cakes are ready. 
  14. If it’s still wet, bake in 10-minute intervals until it’s ready.
  15. When the cakes are ready, remove them from the oven and pour 1 cup of rum over each cake.
  16. Allow the cakes to cool for around 20 minutes, then pour another cup of rum over each.
  17. When they’re completely cold, wrap with parchment and double wrap with cling film. 
  18. Feed the cakes with rum once a week until you’re ready to eat.

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