June 26, 2017

If you’ve ever attempted to make an authentic Caribbean Christmas cake you’ll know what browning is. However, since it’s available bottled most don’t know how to make it at home, the old-fashioned way. Basically browning is burnt sugar and water. It’s used to add deep colour to the traditional Christmas rum cake, also called Black Cake on most islands. Along with the soaked fruit it’s what makes Black Cake dark. It can be also be used to darken gravy, as a result, the store-bought browning has salt in it. So, when using bottled browning in a cake recipe you may find it necessary to adjust the amount of salt.

I was contacted by Tiziana who lives in Sicily, Italy. She asked if I could make homemade browning video because it’s not something she can find where she lives. I thought that was a really good idea because it’s easy to make yourself. You’ll find that it tastes bitter, which is exactly how it should taste, and helps to balance the sweetness of the cake.

This recipe makes 1/3 of a cup of browning, which is more than you need. Store it a bottle and refrigerate.

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I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.



  • Reply
    January 31, 2013

    Fay, can this same browning be used in savoury dishes?

  • Reply
    March 24, 2013

    Thank you so much Miss Fay for this video!!! I am preparing to make Brown Stewed Chicken and wanted to have a small stash of browning sauce for it. A close friend gave me her recipe for the chicken and so I’ve decided to combine both your recipes. She tried to explain how to burn the sugar but I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it until seeing your video. You mentioned it should start bitter and something clicked! I love your recipes and videos. I have a list of recipes I hope to try. Please, keep the blog going, preserving your wonderful traditions. You are clearly an excellent cook and a wonderful teacher, not everyone can do both!

  • Reply
    Michelle Parson
    December 31, 2013

    Miss Fay, thank you so much for that browning recipe. My husband is the baker in the family. We did not know that we could make our own browning. When making our black cake we shall use your recipe for browning from now on. I just love the idea of using a can that we would otherwise discard as I’m very precious about my pots.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2014

    Thanks so much, Ms. Fay! I’ve tried so many times to make this and failed miserably. I’ll be trying this way today..making brown stew chicken.

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