While holiday rum cake is thought to have been brought to the Caribbean by British colonists in the 1700s, the boozy dessert was adapted and made popular by local chefs around the islands. Since its early days, rum cake has become a much-desired holiday favorite for the wider diaspora. With a punchy hint of spiced rum, these cakes are typically seen in a Bundt or sponge style with added flavors like coconut or pineapple.
If you’re a South Florida local looking to add a taste of home to your holiday dessert table this year, here are some local bakeries where you can pick up the decadent treat.
One place you can get Caribbean rum cake from this holiday season is from Guyanese vending and catering company 592 CHEW.
“Rum cakes are part of our Caribbean culture and have become a must during this time of year. You cannot have a table of holiday dishes with a black/rum cake present, especially in a Caribbean household,” says baker and 592 CHEW owner, Kyle De’Armond.
De’Armond recalls watching his grandparents bake together every weekend morning and credits their creativity and love for the craft with igniting his own love for baking. Caribbean baking, specifically, “is what I run to when I’m looking to keep coming with fresh ideas, the foundation never fails,” he says.
When asked about uniqueness in the kitchen, De’Armond says, “Sure everyone will tell you that they bake straight from their families’ secret book, and yes, the recipes might taste good. But can you bite into what they baked and say, ‘I never tasted that flavor before’? I possess that skill as a baker.” His transition to a Rastafari way of life also impacted his relationship with baking as well, challenging him to find Ital alternatives while keeping taste at the forefront.
To get your own rum cake, reach out to De’Armond and his team on Instagram or call for orders at 954-893-3683 or 786-597-4382.
Locally known as having one of Miami’s best rum cakes, you can’t go wrong with ordering from Ray’s Cakes.
Although she’s been an expert in the kitchen for over 40 years, Ms. Raymonde Marcel’s baking journey began when she started creating magical cakes for her children’s birthday parties, which soon became high in demand from friends and family. Lovingly known as “Ms. Ray,” Marcel opened the family owned and operated bakery, bearing her own namesake, in Miami with a specialty in traditional Haitian Cake and Raisin Cake. The goal was to spread her culture, love of baking and tasty original recipes with the entire community.
“Rum cake is the perfect choice for holiday celebrations. No party is complete without it,” said Edwidge De Jean, Ms. Ray’s daughter. The bakery even offers rum cupcakes by the dozen(s) for larger parties or gatherings.
“We always have the mini and the small rum cakes fresh and ready for walk-ins,” De Jean said. Though if trying to purchase a larger cake, an order must be placed in advance by calling 305-945-7773 or by visiting the storefront at 16606 North Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33169.
With various cakes, cupcakes and delicate desserts on the menu, classic rum cakes are still a best seller at Ganache Bakery in West Palm Beach.
For pastry chef and owner Jamal Lake, food always tells a story. “When you try someone’s food, you understand where they’re from and what they passed down for generations,” said the native U.S. Virgin Islander, who originally fell in love with sweets while baking alongside his mom every Sunday.
After moving to Florida, Lake opened Ganache Bakery in 2011 with his wife and in 2018, he found more sweet success after becoming a finalist on Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship,” attracting acclaim for his raspberry passion fruit petit fours and green velvet cakes.
After the show, Lake continued creating unique concoctions, but the holidays always require the same tasty treats: rum cakes. “There is no Christmas in the Caribbean without rum cake,” he said, “Just as a Christmas tree is an icon of the Christmas season, this is how I feel about fruits soaking in rum and wine.” Ganache Bakery has a lineup of two rum cake flavors — Chocolate Bailey’s Rum (with vanilla rum and Irish cream) and a Coconut rum cake. You can order these directly from their site for pickup or local delivery.
The bakery also makes black cake. “Many cultures have their own signature style which make the cake unique. I always make sure my fruits soak for a minimum of one year in white rum and wine. When the cake is done baking we then soak it in more. Growing up in St. Croix we usually only see black cakes, as we like to call it, at weddings and definitely at Christmas time.” To get your hands on one of these tasty treats, call the bakery directly at 561-507-5082.
Short on time and attempting to make your own rum cakes at home? Check out @readysetrum on Instagram and YouTube for weekly reviews of the best rum on the market to add into your mixture.
Now that dessert is covered, check out some authentic Caribbean Christmas dinner recipes that you can easily make at home.