Torta Negra

Dark Rum Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 24 to 30


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

In many parts of Colombia, especially in the south Pacific, children’s parties are celebrated with Torta Negra. The alcohol in the cake evaporates during baking and even the youngest children learn to eat it, and enjoy being served this for their celebrations. In the northern coastal areas, we serve it during the Christmas holidays and for New Year. This Torta Negra is so good that I like it better before it goes into the oven!


  • ¾ pound pitted prunes
  • 1 pound candied fruit
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • ½ cup Moscatel or Port wine
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • ½ tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups (1 pound, 4 sticks) butter, softened
  • cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon burnt sugar (see Note)


Day 1

  1. In small pot place the prunes and 2 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes or until the prunes are very soft and mushy. Drain the prunes and set the water aside in the refrigetator.
  2. In a large, nonreactive bowl place the drained prunes, candied fruit, rum, wine, ½ cup of the marmalade, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside overnight or as long as 2 weeks. (The longer they sit the better the cake and the more alcohol will be evaporated. I always keep mine for 2 to 3 weeks.)

Day 2

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a mixer place the butter and cups of the sugar and beat on medium for 10 to 15 minutes or until you have a creamy mixture and the sugar has dissolved completely into the butter.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the dry ingredients: in a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt; sift 3 times and set aside.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix just to blend in. Stop the mixer, add all the flour mixture and turn on minimum speed; mix for one minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the burnt sugar and mix one minute more. Remove bowl from the machine, fold in all the macerated fruit by hand, and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, making sure it is very clean and completely free of grease or fat, place the egg whites. Mix on high speed for 30 seconds and when foamy add the remaining ½ cup white sugar. Mix for 2 minutes more or until it looks shiny but not dry.
  5. Fold the whites into the cake mixture.
  6. Butter and flour a 10-inch round by 3-inch deep cake pan. If you wish you can cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Gently pour in the batter.
  7. Bake for 1½ to 2 hours.
  8. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before unmolding.
  9. In a small pot mix ¼ cup of the prune cooking liquid, the remaining ½ cup of orange marmalade and ¼ cup of rum, and cook over low heat only to blend the ingredients and dissolve the jam. Brush on the cake, cool completely and serve.