Torta Negra is a traditional Colombian cake made with dried figs, raisins, wine and rum. This dessert is popular in weddings, parties and Christmas.
Since starting this blog, I’ve had at least fifty people email me asking how to make Torta Negra Colombiana.
Torta Negra Colombiana (Colombian Black Cake)
- 2 cups of pitted prunes
- 2 cups raisins
- 1 cup port wine
- ½ cup dark rum
- 2 cups brevas caladas candied figs
- 1 pound butter
- 1 pound sugar
- 12 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 pound all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons of bakers caramel or dulce quemado or molasses
- One to two weeks before you make the cake, place the prunes, raisins,¼ cup of rum and ½ cup of wine in a non reactive container.
- When you are ready to make the cakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and flour two 8 inches round cake pans and set aside.
- Place the raisins, prunes and brevas in the food processor and process for about 60 seconds. Transfer the fruit mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla extract, and add the eggs, a couple at a time. Add the flour mixture and mix on the lower speed for about one minute. Add bakers caramel and mix for one more minute. Stir in the fruit using your hands until well combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake until cakes are done on top or a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Unmold the cakes and brush with the remaining rum and wine. Wrap cakes with plastic wrap, and then with aluminum foil. Let the cakes stand at room temperature for at least 3 days before serving or up to three weeks in the fridge before frosting.
Growing up in Colombia, it wasn’t a birthday party, wedding, anniversary or any other special event without Torta Negra. Considering all the queries for Torta Negra, I figured it was time to post a recipe for this wonderful Colombian cake!
This is my mom's and aunt's recipe, substituting dulce quemado for the bakers caramel and omiting the papaya calada (candied papaya). But other than those slight modifications, this is the same cake I’ve eaten all my life. There are many variations of this Colombian cake throughout the country, every person and family having their own recipe, using different combinations of fruits and nuts in the cake.
My mom likes to decorated her Torta Negra with buttercream frosting, but you can use the frosting of your choice.
Looking for more cakes recipe for you next celebration? Here are some of my favorites:
Torta de Tres Leches (Three Milks Cake)
Torta Tres leches de Arequipe (Dulce de Leche Three Milks Cake)
Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche Filling
This cake looks rich and delicious! Love the pieces of fruit throughout.
Sandi Montealegre White
Erica, I have been waiting for this for a long time I already have the dulce quemao. It brings back memories!! 1000 Gracias!
may I ask you where did you buy it??? thanks
What are you talking about?
where did you get the dulce quemado Miss Sandi
You can make it. Take 1 cake of panella cook in a pan until it's dark caramel color. Take off the stove, place hot pot in sink. Pour in 1 cup of very strong coffee and 1 cup of port wine. (Do it slowly it will bubble like crazy. That's why it's in the sink) return it to the flame and cook off the liquid. It should be thicker but not to thick and almost black. If it's too thick the quemado will harden in strips as you pour it into the batter. You can also but it in good spanish food stores.
En supermercados latinos lo venden
You can buy en Amazon
Do you happen to have a link? I have looked in amazon and cannot find it
I bought it in stop and shop. The name is blackstrap molasses.
It’s actually called burnt sugar or “browning” sugar in English. I don’t think we can post links, but I found a couple brands on Amazon: blue mountain country, and Grace both makes some.
Molasses is a good substitute though.
Now that is one richly flavorful cake!!
I grew up loving this delicious black cake and I have struggled for a long time trying to find the recipe. Thank you so much for making this dream a reality. Thank you, thank youuuuu!!
I live in America. My sons in-laws are from Columbia. I want to make something for Easter dessert. Would you recommend this or anything else?.
This. Ake would be lovely, but you need to make it ASAP as there is a 3 day “seasoning” time period. Also, if you need to order the dark caramel or figs in syrup via Amazon you won’t have time.
Classic Colombian desserts you could consider is Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) or Flan Caramel Custard.
The black torta looks so beautiful!
Norma-Platanos, Mangoes & Me!
Mu girfriend just brought me a few pieces...I have to ask her if its your recipe as I gave her your blog to follow....lol..by the way it was delicioso!
what a wonderful crumb, and there are some surprising ingredients too! nice share, erica. 🙂
Hola! Se ve deliciosa! Un pregunta, unas regular molasses o black strap molasses?
Thank You, Thank You!!! for posting this!! I'm Colombian but was born and raised here. I had this cake once as a child and my mother didn't know how to make it. I've searched for this recipe for years. I found one recipe but it seemed complicated .I will definitely try this for the holidays!!
Hi Erica,This looks heavenly!
thank you for your wonderful blog.
Since I live in Europe and I know the flour is different in many countries, i have a little question. Does your all purpose flour have baking powder added, as it does in many countries?
I never cooked Colombian food when I was home, I did Italian, greek and all kinds of other different countries and now that I am in the US I miss the arepa de chocolo and the frijoles and all of these yummy traditional Colombian goodies, I love this website and my family enjoy the Colombian flavors, I never learned how to make tamales nor this cake nor many of the delicious traditional Colombian dishes and I have been feeding my family Colombian food for the last 3 months since I found the website, such a wonderful job keep it up
I am baking it now! 🙂 thanks Erica.!
I didn't realize the aging time required, it's Sunday and I wanted to make the cake for next sat, what can I shorten the rum soak time or the minimum three day aging time?
Oh, my! Por Dios, this is incredible! I've got to try it. Need to get the girls together for some tea to taste this wonder. Thank you so much for sharing.
Erica: puedo reemplazar el port wine por cualquier otro vino rojo? Es para usar si es posible el mismo que consumo a diario. Gracias.
Can I use any regular red wine here? Like a merlot or cabernet? I am trying to use the ones I already have at home, what I usually drink.
Red Sweet Wine.
Hi, is the dulce quemado the same as the "burnt sugar colour" listed above?
there is a hispanic store by my home, but I do not think they would call it "dulce quemado". I live in California and Hispanics in this region may call it something different. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Dulce quemado is made with panela or piloncillo. I used "burnt sugar", I don't know if the brand you found made the same sugar I used, but you can try it!
Why do I have to let it stand three days before serving? Can I make it the 24th (christmas) in the morning and have it stand until dinner at night? Thank you!
That is part of the secret. Somethings taste better couple day after you make them. Torta Negra is one of them. Even if you order in a bakery, they ask you to order 3 days before.
I'm having trouble finding candied figs, can I use candied dates instead?
It's going to taste different.
Hola que es un recipiente no reactivo ?
I have a question. I need to make this cake for an event on Friday. Today is Tuesday, so I have to start. I had no idea that I needed to soak the fruit for 2 WEEKS. Yikes. So I am considering what is best. To make the cake on Wednesday, thereby only giving it two days to sit. Or make it with the fruit having only set a few hours? I did cut it up, and slightly heated the alcohols to help it absorb more of the flavors. I am just wondering which step is most important.
I think it's probably fine that the flavors aren't super... Ya know... What's the word... Well, you know. But if your ever want to to make this cake again, I suggest that you plan ahead.
I'm planning on making this for others kids and I, and there's TWO different types of alcoholic drinks I here, and I have no idea where the heck I'm supposed to find rum. Is there any non-alcoholic alternitives? Like coffee, maybe?
I can't wait to try different Colombian recipes. 😛
Is it possible to substitute the alchohols with a different liquid? And instead of candied prunes, can I use chocolate chunks? I know, I know. It will taste WAY different, and it won't exactly be traditional, but there's never anything wrong with changing a little bit of a recipe, right?
Can you suggest a substitute for the candied figs?
Is this safe for kids to eat, due to alcohol? I wanted to make this but was unsure if the kids could eat it because fruits were soaked in RUM and Wine. Do u really taste the alcohol in the cake?
does anybody know where you can buy the cake already made and frostednnestor
does anybody know where you can buy the cake already made and frosted,,,
YOur looking delicious lisa
I just soaked the prunes and raisins for this recipe. When ready to make, do I put in the liquid when processing the fruits or will it be absorbed by then?
Looking forward to tasting this cake!
Don't add the liquid.
This is similar to "English Figgy Pudding."
The terms "reactive" and "nonreactive" are referring to the type of metal from which your pot or bowl is made. Aluminum, cast iron, and copper are all "reactive." Stainless steel, ceramic, glass and metal cookware with enamel coating are all "nonreactive."
Thank you very much for the physics explanation. I was wondering the same thing.
Do you stack the layers or serve it single height?
You can do it both ways.
I made this cake and cut the first piece today for lunch that I left for our overwhelmed rural mail carrier. He sent me a text thanking me for the chili. He said “The chili was great, but I sure would like another piece of that cake!”
Lol! Probably, he is loving the cheer
Cannot wait to make this! Every time I use one of your recipes, I strike it big. Hope I don’t jinx it for the holidays!!!
I made this cake but the dough came up too dense. How can I make it fluffier
I'm looking forward to making this fun this moment Birthday in two weeks. Can I use "Dulce de brevas" or "Figs in Heavy syrup" for the Candied Figs? Of course not adding any of the syrup in the jar. Thank you soo much!!
I used drained figs in syrup and it turned out great!
Great!! Those are far more accessible for me!
What did you frost the cake with?
Use your favorite frosting.
I’m about to start the recipe but Zi wan to know where I leave the rainsins and prunes to get drunk... lol ... temperature room or in fridge?
Hello, I have made this cake once before for my husband and made it in the 2 regular 8 inch pans. He loved it but said as a child in Colombia he had it as one large thick cake. Does anyone know how I would adjust cooking times to achieve this ? Thanks
I am not Colombian but my husband is, and he requested this cake for his birthday (he hasn't had it since moving to the US years ago). I read the recipe and thought...a pound of butter? A pound of flour? Is this really going to fit into two 8 inch cake pans? I don't know what cake pans everybody else is using, but I have standard depth (for the US) pans. It ended up in the two 8 in cake pans PLUS 9 inch cake pan. Also I only cooked it for ~50 minutes.
Also, I used molasses and it didn't turn out very dark. Perhaps it would be darker with dulce quemado? I can make from panela next time, but forgot to buy some. I also substituted regular figs for candied figs, as I couldn't find any.
The cake is quite dense, so I did not serve as a layer cake, but rather one layer at a time. I used a light layer of cream cheese frosting on the top only.
For others wondering on time - I soaked the fruit for 4 days (at room temp for whoever was asking) rather than the longer time period, and we tried the first piece one day after baking. I'll find out in a few days when we try the next layer if it really worth leaving it an extra few days. As it was, it was delicious, and my husband thought it tasted the same as when he was a kid.
We will definitely be making again, though next time if it just the two of us I'll cut the recipe in half.
Hi, I actually did cut this recipe in half and made it in an 8" pan (it all fit). There's a recipe for candied figs on this site, I tried those. I baked it about 90-95 minutes. I left it wrapped at room temperature for three days and then in the refrigerator thereafter. It seemed to get better as time went on. 🙂 I've found other recipes online for this as well and it's interesting the little bit of variation (e.g., coffee, nuts, change the fruit, etc.).
Thanks for the comment! I agree it got better as it aged.
I have another recipe that is very similar that says to make a pastillaje to cover/decorate. Although I'm a little concerned about the pastillaje because it has raw egg in it. I've also seen other recipes for pastillaje or a fondant ... curious if you've done either of these or if you prefer it "plain" (which admittedly is awesome). I can see using the pastillaje if you're making a wedding cake or for another special occasion.
I made torta negra for a friend’s day after wedding brunch - bought lace molds online and made thin fondant-like lace bands to put around the tiers. It was beautiful and not cloying like regular fondant.
Sascha van Creveld
I would like to add candied papaya. How much should I add?
I'm making the cake for a Colombian friend.
Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’m going to try and make the cake next week, but I’m not sure if the prunes and raisins have to be soaked in the refrigerator or not..
I believe that leaving them in room temperature, will get softer and liquor gets stronger
I made this cake for the holidays and was a hit. My cake did not turn as black as the picture since I used molasses instead of baker's caramel. But the taste was delicious, it reminds me a little bit of my aunt´s black cake. I think it tastes way better after a week of baking. I will keep that in mind for next year.
My Colombian son-in-law lost his mother many years ago. Although he has lovingly embraced our American traditions, I can tell he misses his mom’s cooking during the holidays. I tried this Torta Negra, knowing full well there are probably as many variations as there are Colombian moms. Risky venture, but he declared this is exactly the way his mom made it. Yay! I did use dried figs and molasses because that’s all I could find locally. Thank you for this!
This cake is clearly a Caribbean/Jamaican fruitcake or 'blackcake' baked in the Caribbean since the 1800s!!! It is the Caribbean adaptation of the British plum pudding, which the British introduced to the English-speaking Caribbean islands.
This exact fruitcake or 'black cake' has been made in the Caribbean for centuries! Please search online for Caribbean fruitcake/rum cake, blackcake , and you will see it is an original Caribbean recipe.
Hello, for how many people is this recipe? Thank you .
About 12 servings, depending of the portion size.
Hi someone know how to prepare this cake 8n Thermomix 6 ?? Please
I make this recipe every year for my Colombian husband for his birthday. He loves it!
Thank you for this awesome recipe!
1. I have a few questions:
1. I see that most recipes online say this cake is usually for weddings or Christmas. How common is it for it to be a birthday cake? I want to try to make this for my Colombian friend's birthday.
2. Is there a particular reason you substitute the dulce quemado for the bakers caramel and omit the papaya calada (candied papaya)? Is it for convenience or do you feel that these changes make it taste better?
3. Do you have any brands that your recommend for the rum and port wine? I want to make this as authentic as possible, so I would appreciate Colombian brands if you feel it makes a difference.
4. The recipe makes two cakes but the pictures only show one layer. Is each cake meant to be on it's own or are we suppose to stack them?
5. You mention that your mom uses buttercream frosting, but the pictures don't have any frosting at all. Do you prefer no frosting? If you do frost your cake(s), what type do you use?
1. It's also popular for birthdays
2. I could not find dulce quemado here in the USA. I don't love papaya flavor.
3. I did not use Colombian wine or rum. I usually use any good wine or rum I have at home.
4. If you are serving on a weeding or special usually they stock the cakes and frost them, but you also find one layer cakes without frosting.
5.I don't frost them when I make them at home for us, but if I make the cake for a party then I add frosting.
Thank you so much! I am really excited to make this!
I just started soaking my fruits: 1/2 cup wine and 1/4 cup rum was not enough to completely cover them (4 cups of fruit is a lot). The fluid goes only about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the bowl. Is this okay? Should I stir the fruits in 7 days (halfway through the total time)?
Also, should I put the glass bowl in the refrigerator? The weather is warm here (80-85 degrees fahrenheit).