Jamaican rum cake or black cake is a traditional Caribbean dessert served mostly during the Christmas holiday. It is similar to fruit cake in the United States, but it tastes richer, far too good to be the brunt of jokes. The rum cake is moist and contains dried fruit soaked in rum. It's dark in color due to the addition of browning, a bunt sugar and water mixture that has a slightly bitter taste. Browning can be purchased in a bottle at specialty cooking stores, or you can make it at home by melting sugar in a pan until it turns into a caramel-colored liquid and stirring warm water into it.
Making Jamaican rum cake requires that you soak the prunes, currants, raisins, brandied cherries, candied orange peel and other dried fruits you might like to add in a rum and port wine mixture for a minimum of two-and-a-half hours, but the cake will taste richer if you extend the soaking time to several days. The basic batter is similar to fruitcake served in the United States and includes butter, sugar, spices, flour, leavening, salt and eggs. Jamaican rum cake can be made without nuts, but when they are added, almonds rather than pecans or walnuts are used.
Baking the cake is simple. Add the dry to wet ingredients and bake the cake in a pan in an oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The key to making the cake extra moist is pouring additional rum and port wine onto the top right after you remove it from the oven so that the warm cake absorbs the liquid. After you pour on the additional liquid, let the cake cool for at least three hours before serving it. Wrap unfinished cake in parchment and plastic wrap to keep it fresh longer. It will keep for about a week at room temperature, but you can also freeze it for several months.