A Brief History of Caribbean Rum Cake

Rum Cake
Rum Cake | © solkanar/Shutterstock
Shimon Brathwaite

Bahamian history has a long-standing association with rum. Even today, most of the world’s rum is produced in the Caribbean and Latin America. On Nassau’s Paradise Island, tourists love visiting John Watling’s Distillery to see how this spirit is made, getting the opportunity to try sample of the in-house product. Rum isn’t just for drinking, though – it has been incorporated into a variety of different food recipes. One Bahamian favourite is rum cake. Here’s a brief history of how it came to be one of the region’s much-loved deserts.

Rum Cake

The Bahamian rum trade

The creation of rum cake can undoubtedly be attributed the Bahamas’ bootlegging history. In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the consumption and brewing of alcohol. As the Bahamas is extremely close to Florida (approximately 182 miles away) this made it a an ideal port from which to smuggle spirits to the States, a practice commonly referred to as rum-running. This brought huge amounts of income to the country, as well as rum – so much so that the British Empire expanded Prince George Wharf to accommodate the increasing amount of alcohol passing through.

The creation of rum cake

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