Also known as wedding cake, Christmas cake, and bolo pretu, among other monikers, this cake has roots throughout the Caribbean and is usually reserved for the celebratory events it’s named for. Not unlike the more common dark fruitcakes, it’s packed with dried fruits, nuts, and warm spices, but the molasses found in stateside cakes is swapped for burnt sugar (see “What to buy”), resulting in a slightly bitter yet rich, chocolaty flavor. This cake has endless ingredient variations, but one is universal—rum, and lots of it!
What to buy: Burnt sugar syrup is the crucial ingredient, giving this cake its deep black color and unique flavor, which cannot successfully be mimicked by dark corn syrup or molasses, not even blackstrap. Although burnt sugar can be made at home, the process can be imprecise. We like Blue Mountain Country for its moderate sweetness and chocolate notes.
Use our recipe for Candied Grapefruit Zest and swap out the grapefruit peel for orange. A homemade candied citrus yields the best results, but if you’d rather purchase some, use a high-quality candied zest, which usually appears in the fall at gourmet or specialty stores. Don’t even think about using the scary, Day-Glo fruit found in tubs—it tastes as horrible as it looks.
Game plan: You have to let the fruit macerate for 1 week before proceeding with the recipe, so factor that into your fruitcake-making plans.
Because the fruit in this cake is already saturated with alcohol, we found that additional soaking was not necessary. The cake can be eaten on the day it’s made, or can be aged up to 2 months without affecting its taste or texture.
This recipe was featured as part of our Shockingly Tasty Fruitcakes project.
For the cake: