One of the most emblematic foods in Trinidad for Christmas is Black Cake: a rich, boozy, fruitcake-like confection. The name is earned from the dense and fudgy appearance of the cake, made from rum-soaked prunes, currants and raisins. The key is soaking the fruit long in advance – even months! The ancestor of the Trinidadian Black Cake are the alcohol-soaked fig puddings and fruitcakes from England, meant to withstand long voyages, brought to Trinidad when the island was colonized by the British. However, over the years, Trinidad made the Black Cake entirely their own, substituting rum for other liquors, and adding the essential caramelized burnt sugar syrup. If you don’t have access to a local bakery, there are dozens of scrumptious recipes: We Trini Foods, Trini Gourmet, and Saveur. Or you can order a mail order cake from NY’s Black Cake Company.
Patrice Yursik’s recollection of Trinidadian Christmases is definitely worth a read, to get a taste of the food and music culture at the heart the celebration (including the hit by Lord Kitchener “Drink a Rum,” linked above). Black Cake is just one of the many delicious Trinidadian treats making Christmastime appearances, including Sorrel (also popular in other Caribbean countries), Pastelles, and Ponche de Creme (all highlighted at Trini Gourmet). Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!