Black cake

Black cake

This speedy version of the classic Caribbean treat is a mainstay at important events. Featuring port, dark rum and dried fruits, it's rich and decadent – perfect for Christmas
  • Preparation:
  • Cooking:
  • Total:
  • Serves: 16 persons



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Step 3

    Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.