The Traditional Fruitcake
A two-tiered traditional wedding fruitcake.

It's time for us to savour the sweet taste of tradition with a slice of Jamaican fruitcake! This delicious holiday treat has been around for ages, delivering its signature dense texture and robust flavour every year. Whether you're just enjoying it as is or adding an extra dash of your favourite topping, there's nothing quite like traditional Jamaican black cake (aka Christmas Pudding!). Bathed with exciting spices and loaded up with juicy fruits such as raisins, cherries, and prunes, this decadent delight goes beyond mere sugary indulgence. Its unique texture is delightful whilst its robust taste will have you wanting more.

From Christmas celebrations to weddings, Jamaicans love their black cake! With a unique blend of fruits soaked in wine and/or rum for up to a year before being baked — every family recipe is sure to be bursting with flavour. This classic Caribbean dessert is filled with rich tradition, passed down through generations. It's no wonder that this delicacy always makes an appearance at special occasions. Ready your tastebuds as wedding cakes are here to give any reception that sweet finish!

The cake

The black cake has a dense texture, dark brown colour, and a rich flavour. Its appearance is close to that of a chocolate cake, with its dark colour the result of dried fruits, soaked in rum and local wine. These fruits include prunes, currants, raisins, and cherries, which are chopped and soaked for months or even up to a year, before baking. The fruity combination is added to batter with flavourings and spices to make the perfect cake.

Once baked for a wedding, the cake is then traditionally covered in English icing not a frosting. The English icing is firmer, sweeter with more body and so easy to decorate. Modern times have seen these cakes being covered with almond paste and fondant for a smoother finish before being decorated with elaborate sugar or fresh flowers. Making this cake takes some effort, but the outcome is delicious and satisfying.

Traditions and the history

Tradition would dictate that the cake is a minimum of three tiers — the bottom one is cut by the bride and groom and then shared with the guests. The top tier would be put in the freezer to celebrate the first anniversary or birth of a first child.

A sliver of the cake would be taken from the second tier and put under the pillow of the bride and groom that same night to guarantee conception. The reason for the sliver is that the bigger the slice the more children one would have.

The black cake made its way to the Caribbean via the UK, with the recipe spreading across the region and being customised within each country, to its people's liking. It is derived from the English plum pudding: a rich mixture of blended fruits soaked in wine/rum and baked. Today, this cake is called by several different names, including fruitcake, Christmas cake, or black cake.

The cake is associated with many traditions; allow me to share some. Traditional weddings required elaborate preparations, including the cooking of vast amounts of food and several cakes. Cakes were carried to the wedding location by a procession of married women clothed in white dresses and head-ties. The cakes were covered with white lace so that the bride did not see them until the day of her wedding. This is where the Jamaican tradition for the "unveiling of the cake" originated.

Wedding cake costs

The cost will depend on the size, the number of tiers, style or design, and icing type.

The traditional Jamaican wedding cake, made with dried raisins and currants that have been soaked in rum and wine for months, is very rich and heavy, the cost of the alcohol and pounds of fruit are the largest costs which makes it a lot more expensive.

This beloved fruitcake is highly revered and sought-after during the festive season as well as for weddings and celebrations.

A Jamaican cake with royal icing.
Shikima Hinds Logo.

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