Jamaican Black Cake

Recipe courtesy of Venetta Williams
Show: My Grandmother's Ravioli Episode: Venetta Lurine Williams -- Island Eats
TOTAL TIME: 5 hr 30 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive Prep: 3 hr 15 min
Cook: 1 hr 30 min
YIELD: 2 cakes
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 1/4 cups port wine
  • 1 1/4 cups white rum, such as Appleton
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup brandied cherries with their liquid (or substitute maraschino cherries)
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup candied orange peel
  • 1/2 cup dried prunes
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing cake pans
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon browning
  • 5 eggs
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Add the dates, figs, 1 cup of the port, 1 cup of the rum, the almonds, brandied cherries with their liquid, currants, candied orange peel, prunes and dark and golden raisins to a food processor. Process this mixture until the dried fruit is broken down into smaller chunks. Stir in the orange juice. Allow it to soak in the rum for at least 2 hours 30 minutes, but preferably for 2 to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 cake pans and line them with brown or wax paper.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, molasses, browning and eggs. Slowly add the rum-soaked fruit to the mixer a little at a time and mix to combine all of the ingredients.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake the cakes in a water bath by filling a large roasting pan halfway up with water and then setting the cake pans inside. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining port and rum on top of the cakes and let them cool. These cakes will last for days stored in parchment paper and plastic wrap and for weeks when frozen.


Browning is a Jamaican burnt brown sugar sauce, available in specialty stores or online.


A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

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