The Vegan Barbados Christmas Rum Cake

A work in progress that has finally hit its stride!


I had spent some privileged childhood Christmases on the beautiful island of Barbados. During one of those stays a lovely woman, the wife of a Bajan politician, Sir Theodore Brancker, introduced me to Christmas rum cake at their Boxing day party. I’ll never forget her giving me a cake of my own to bring back to Canada, where I very carefully sliced off rations to make it last as long as possible through the Canadian winter. The following recipe is the closest I have been able to come in terms of flavour, of the blessed cake. I will print it here before I lose it to the back of the recipe drawer and it ends up too shredded to read.

I did my research over the years on the internet, so I have augmented where necessary and improvised where there was no information. This is how I do it. No promises. You may have more baking common sense, instincts or talent than I. So use your discretion. Here goes:

Take at least 6, maybe eight cups of various raisins and currents and soak them in a bowl that has enough rum in it to almost cover them. If you run out of rum, add some sherry or port or whatever you have kicking around. Soak for days weeks or months.

Puree the raisin/ booze mixture in a food processor.

Add some spices: allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon. Stir it all together.

Here’s where it gets vegan: Instead of ten (yes 10) eggs, use a cup of ground chia seeds and two cups of water. Let sit until they goo-ify. This will have the gooey sticky consistency of ten eggs that you aren’t using.

Mix the chia goo with about 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar.

Another vegan substitute: use two cups of coconut oil semi firm, and mix with the chia sugar mixture. Us a beater for this.

Take four cups of flour with 1 large tbsp of baking power and a teaspoon of baking soda and about half a tsp of salt. Sift that all together (or use 4 cups of self raising flour).

Now mix the dry with the wet and add some vanilla extract, about a teaspoon.

Stir. Don’t want it too dry, if so add some booze, the batter should just fall off the spoon.

At this point you should have the oven heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

I have used a large bundt pan some years, this year I am using small loaf tins so that I can gift these or just use as semi individual servings (line your pans). Keep in the oven for 1-2 hours. Keep an eye on it/ them. The smaller containers will likely bake faster. Watch which rack you put these on you don’t want them to burn on the bottom.

Serve with a splash of rum on top, or light the booze if you’ve put enough on. Add some coconut whip cream or vegan ice cream.

Put away the calorie counter, it’s Christmas.

Ingredients: 8 cups mixed raisins; about a bottle of rum; mixed spices; 2 cups brown sugar; 10 chia “eggs”; 2 cups coconut oil; 4 cups flour; 1 tbsp of baking powder; 1 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp salt; vanilla extract

Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.


2 thoughts on “The Vegan Barbados Christmas Rum Cake”

  1. Dear Andrew,Sounds heavenly! I love the back story too of its Barbadian origins.. the writer’s touch in there as well as the vegan coach! Hope you have a delightful Christmas. Sending much love from Ireland xoxox Georgina Sent from my Galaxy


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