Nina Compton’s Caribbean Black Fruit Cake

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Christmas cookies and cake
Photo by Gabrielle Geiselman

Food Culture of the South

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makes a 1-pound cake

  • 1 pound dried fruit, soaked in rum or wine*
  • 1 cup rum, wine sherry, or brandy, divided
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon rosewater (optional)
  • 1½ cup molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain soaked fruit and puree half of it in a blender with 1/3 cup of rum or wine, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Set aside. Add eggs one at a time to butter-sugar mixture, incorporating thoroughly. Add soaked and pureed fruit, zest, lime juice, vanilla, rosewater (if using), remaining rum or wine, and molasses, and mix well. Add all sifted dry ingredients slowly and mix until batter comes together. Do not overmix.
  2. Pour batter into a greased Bundt cake pan. Bake for 2 to 3 hours, or until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan, then turn over to remove cake. The cake keeps up to a month, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature.


  • Recipe by Nina Compton of Compère Lapin, New Orleans

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  • George Fleck
    December 15, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    I followed this recipe precisely. Baked it for 45 minutes and the tester came out clean. Cooled the cake and then tried to turn it out on a plate. A gooey mess poured out of the pan. What did I do wrong???
    Seems like the cooking time was way too short.


    1. Hannah Lee Leidy
      December 15, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      Hi George, thanks for letting us know about this and we’re so sorry you had this experience when making the cake! The cook time was indeed too short. The cake should bake between 2-3 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. We’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect this new time.