Friday, December 16, 2005

The Jamaican Culture - Jamaican Christmas Cake

Recipe for The Jamaican Christmas Cake

My dear wife has kindly consented to share a Christmas Cake recipe with you. This recipe is also used when making a Jamaican wedding cake. Enjoy!

The following recipe will make two 9" round cakes:


2 lbs. Raisins
1/2 lb. Prunes
1/2 lb. Dates
1 lb. Mixed Fruit
Red Wine to soak fruits
6 tablespoons Jamaican white rum

1/2 lb. Cherries - DO NOT SOAK with fruits named above. The unsoaked cherries will remain red and attractive to look at in the cake after baking. Add to mixture after soaked fruits have been added.

With the exception of 1/2 lb raisins, grind all fruits and soak in wine and white rum. Add the 1/2 lb. raisins that was not ground.

It is best to have your fruits soaking well in advance. Some Jamaicans will have this fruit mixture soaking sometimes, even for 1 year! But if you need it quickly, you can still get a nice cake the same day that it is soaked!

Chop up 1/2 lb. cherries but do not add to the fruit mixture. Add these cherries at time of baking.

N.B. My wife does not like using currants since sometimes there are seeds in them.

1 lb. Butter
3/4 lb. dark Sugar
10 Eggs
1 teaspoon Almond Essence
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Rose Water (Optional)
1 lb. Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons Mixed Spice (NOT Allspice!)
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
Browning (Optional)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Line the sides and bottom of two 9" baking pans with a double layer of greaseproof paper and set aside.

  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  • Add eggs 2 at the time creaming after each addition. After adding the eggs, you will have to move the butter, sugar and egg mixture to a larger bowl and prepare to manually do the balance of the recipe by hand.

  • Add vanilla and almond essence to the butter and sugar mixture.

  • If you use browning, pour a very small amount in mixture and stir. Note: Be very careful with browning! It makes your cake too dark!

  • Add baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon to the flour.

  • Pour butter and egg mixture in a larger bowl.

  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture by folding it in.

  • Continuously add flour mixture to butter mixture.

  • Add soaked fruits to flour/egg mixture and thoroughly fold it in.

  • Add cut-up cherries to mixture. Leave a few cherries for decorating top of cake.

  • Pour mixture in the 2 lined 9" baking pans.

  • Bake in pre-heated oven until done. Use a knife to test for doneness, etc. The knife should come out clean.

  • Stick cakes all over with a toothpick. Sprinkle sherry over hot baked cakes.

  • Enjoy!
N.B. My wife does not use browning in her cakes, she depends on the very dark sugar, the spices and the red wine to give her the brown color.


Anonymous said...

I am going to try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hi how are you? Not sure of yoour origins but this is one of the closest real jamaican fruit cake recipies that I have come upon. It's also nice to see a proud jamaican doing something positive.
Keep up the good work and dont loose focus.


Anonymous said...

This recipe sounds a lot like how my mother used to make her cakes. I look forward to trying it.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful cake. It is soft, morish and the flavour is glorious. I usually make English Christmas cake but this is so much better.

I would say that I cooked it at 150degees instead of 250 as stated (a misprint I expect). Mine took nearly two hours.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

great recipe - thank you ! will be making this christmas ! Catherine

thringfamily said...

Thanks for the recipe
You don't need to be a jamican to make and enjoy this cake,its so much nicer then the normal fruit cakes -I've never soaked the fruit in wine before so i'll this year-even though its a bit late to be soaking your fruit now.
Here's looking forward to the first bite!

Anonymous said...

hi i wii be trying this one this year

Anonymous said...

a very good receipe. sounds like how my grandma use to make it.

you should come out with a recipe book.


Anonymous said...

Thanks alot, this recipe reminds me of the way my Mom made cake every Chrismas before sh passed away.... Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

This is very close to my own recipe, I don't usually add the cherries, I will this year in fact mine is being prepared now! This is a great recipe folks as Jamaicans are notorious for keeping theirs secret. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from London.

Anonymous said...

This is the best, tell your wife THANK YOU!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank u for this one, it is easy to read and follow since i am not a pro at it. I will post a comment after i bake this XMAS. Thanks

Anonymous said...

i will try my baking skills with this recipe.without the RUM {smile}

Anonymous said...

i will try my baking skills with this recipe. but without the RUM smile}

HUE said...

Absolutely divine! Thanks for taking such keen notes into what your wife did and sharing it. This is the REAL deal!

Dorrell said...

I tried this oneIi wlii definetiley share the outcome

rebecca campbell said...

Hi there, the cake went down a treat! I am from Southampton in the UK, and everyone said it's the best rum cake they ever tasted! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Karl said...

Hi Rebecca,

I am happy that you enjoyed the cake.

All the best.


Anonymous said...

Seems like a great recipe.... have tasted may jamaican fruit cake versions but very few have the flavour of what i consider CLASSIC Ja christmas cake.. but this recipe seems like the real deal will try it...
in your recipe did you mean RED LABEL WINE or are you suggesting any red wine/port/shiraz in the absence of the above?

Karl said...

Thank you for visiting. If you cannot get Red Label wine, you could use any port wine. I use Livingston Red Rose when I cannot get Red Label.

Please contact me again if you have any further questions.

All the best.


Anonymous said...

I love your very simple recipe and i am going to try it out.

i will let you know the result when i try it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you I am making this for my son's birthday

Anonymous said...

How long can you store this cake for, 2-3 months? Defiantly will try it!

cmckenzie said...

Do you drain the soaked fruits before adding them ?

Karl said...

To Anonymous: This cake can normally be stored for more than 3 months. It can be frozen for extended periods. Wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap, place it in a plastic bag and secure properly. Freeze for extended periods. Allow to thaw before using.

This cake can be kept outside of the refrigerator for a few weeks.

To cmcKenzie: Drain some of the liquid from the soaked fruits before adding to the cake mixture.


Anonymous said...

I saw a baking program where a Jamacian couple were looking for a wedding cake. The one they chose sounded like this, so thought I'd try it for Christmas. just off to go buy the ingreedients to get them soaking.Can't wait for Christmas xx Thank your wife so much for sharing. Karen from Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

Valerie said...

Hello Karl and your lovely wife, I am half English, half Jamaican (Patty Hill) living in England and when it comes to cakes Jamaican beats all. I am making your wife's recipe again, I would now not try any other. Thank you so much for giving everyone the opportunity to make this best cake ever!!! xxxx

Valerie said...

Hello Karl and your lovely wife, I am half English, half Jamaican (Patty Hill) living in England and when it comes to cakes Jamaican beats all. I am making your wife's recipe again, I would now not try any other. Thank you so much for giving everyone the opportunity to make this best cake ever!!! xxxx

Karl said...

Hi Valerie,

My wife is happy to know that you are making her Jamaican Christmas cake recipe again! Enjoy!

Kindest regards, Karl

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe, it reads just like my mothers;I salivate just at the thought of making it.

Anonymous said...

Awesome recipe. I did a test run so I halved the recipe. No tweaking necessary. Recipe will be doubled next week for family and friends.
Good call for letting amateurs know not to substitute Allspice for Mixed Spice

Karl said...

To: Anonymous - posted on December 11, 2011.... Glad you liked the recipe! Yes... It is very important to know that you should NEVER substitute ALLSPICE for MIXED SPICE. Allspice (also known as Jamaican Pepper) is a berry from the Pimento tree.

For your Jamaican fruit cake, use mixed Spice, which is a mixture of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Pimento and this combination provides a nice flavor for your cake.

Using Allspice (pimento) in your Jamaican fruit cake instead of mixed spice (Cinnamon, nutmeg and pimento) will not provide a flavor that you will like!

There are times that recipes will need allspice but this does not include your Jamaican fruit cake.

If a recipe calls for allspice, use allspice. If a recipe calls for mixed spice, use mixed spice.

Regards, Karl

Anonymous said...

Should I use, plain or self raising flour.

Karl said...

You should NOT use self raising flour when making this cake. Use plain flour.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Karl, I use to bake like with my mum when I was in Jamaica but since I migrated I haven't baked because I always go home for Christmas and have my mums Christmas cake instead but seeing that I won't be going home this year, I need to refresh my memory of baking my Jamaican Christmas cake (one in a million!). Thanks a lot for the recipe. I hope it's not too late to soak the fruits! Gonna do it now!

Paulette said...

Just been shopping Karl for the ingredients for cake. Can't wait to make it. Am a little short of time so can't soak fruit for more than 24 hours. Wish me luck everyone. My grannie Florence from up in Spanish Town would be proud of me making this. I'm a UK 3rd generation Black b
British JA girl so trying to keep a tradition going. Thanks again Karl and wifey..

Karl said...

Hi Paulette,

As per my wife, although you will be soaking the fruits for only 24 hours, your cake will still taste great.

TIP: The key to an excellent tasting Jamaican fruit cake is not the soaking of the fruits for many, many months. It is the sticking of the cake all over with a toothpick (as soon as it is baked - while very hot) and sprinkling a small amount of (good) sherry all over the cake. Do not sprinkle too much sherry on your cake. It might make your cake too soggy.

The sprinkling of the sherry makes the cake taste like it was soaking for many months.

My wife has on a few occasions done her cakes without soaking the fruits for any period of time! Christmas Day is next week and, up to this time, she has no fruits soaking and she plans to be baking her cakes tomorrow! The pouring of the sherry on the cake while very hot is the key to a great tasting Jamaican fruit cake.

Good luck and let me know how it comes out.


MaryAnn said...

What can I substitute for pimento spice. I live in Michigan and it is not available here? MaryAnn

Anonymous said...

Hi, I want to try this tonight but what about the bread crumbs, I remember clearly that my Jamaican helper made the very best fruit cake and she used breadcrumbs , where does this come in?

Karl said...

My wife does not use breadcrumbs. Plesae follow the recipe as stated.


Karl said...

This reply is for MaryAnn...

MaryAnn, the recipe uses mixed spice NOT ALLSPICE. Allspice is pure pimento. Why are you asking for a pimento spice substitution?? Please get back with me to explain.

Mixed spice is NOT ALLSPICE. Allspice is pure pimento. Mixed spice consists of a small amount of ground pimento, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground mace and ground cloves.

Using allspice (pure pimento) in your cake will ruin it.



Anonymous said...

Hi Karl
I tested the recipe on December 11 and as I told you then, it was delicious! I made the big batch the week of Christmas (6 cakes) and was not dissappointed at all. Please tell your wife that this recipe rocks. Next year, I will be soaking more fruit to make at least 10 cakes because my 6 this year was just not enough to go around the neighborhood when the word got out. As a side thought, just made a Callaloo and Tomato quiche and it is divine!
Happy New Year to you and your family

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for this recipe for years. Thank you for sharing this with us all, and many thanks to your wife for letting you. I will bake it this year, and soak the fruit this week. It will be a treat for all the family.

DeeLoveslife said...

Hi Karl

Thank you for posting your wife's recipe, I've tried and baked many Jamaican Fruit/Rum/Black Cakes over the years, I must say this recipe is one of the best.

I brought a small book last year put together by a community group, who in the past had a yearly black cake competition. The money raise from the book went to the community center. The book had different recipes by women from the Caribbean and also told the history of the cake(yes I love black cake lol).

The cake is a tradition we should be proud of, we are fortunate to have the internet and people like yourself to help carry on such traditions.

Your recipe is very detailed but I must ask, what egg size did your wife use? I plan on baking the cake on Sunday for my Mother's birthday coming up.

Thank you once again,

Stay Blessed


Karl said...

Hi Davinia,

My wife would like to thank you for your kind words. You can use medium size eggs.

Anonymous said...

What sort of container should you soak fruits and wine in? And is it best to soak in a fridge or a cupboard?

Anonymous said...

Hello Karl
I would like to thank you and your good wife for posting this recipe. I made this cake last year but was a bit afraid to try it out on my Jamaican friends. It was so lovely I am making it again this year, I will be brave and share with my friends. I know that they will love it as much as we do.

Anonymous said...

I am going to try this recipe for the first time. Thank you for posting this recipe. This recipe reminds me of my mother's Christmas
cake.I have soaked the fruits for nearly a year now and going to buy the rest of the ingredients and will make the cake this Friday.

Anonymous said...

This is a great recipe. Similar to mine. However, I coarsely chopped my fruits with wine and rum and leave them to soak. That way nobody will be biting into fruits, instead they will enjoy a nice textured cake.