People visit the Caribbean for many reasons, the most obvious being a tropical vacation. The islands are usually an easy flight or cruise out, provide plenty of space to spread out and attractions for every type of adventure, and also give people a chance to laze the day away, soaking up some rays if that's their way of relaxing. One aspect of traveling to the Caribbean that many people don't think about is the food - and while these islands have some incredible savory foods, they're also responsible for some pretty incredible sweet dishes, too.
One can learn plenty from a region's culture through their traditional foods and when it comes to the Caribbean islands, their desserts are storytellers. Whether it's a cake enjoyed by children as a snack or a recipe that has been passed down for generations with a bit of history, each one is delicious and unique in its own way. The next time you visit one of these great islands, keep an eye our for these sweets.
One of Jamaica's most traditional desserts, bulla cake is usually served for children and served with avocado, cheese, and butter, giving it a savory edge. This cake has a rather lengthy history and was first seen during the 19th century and continues to be baked to this day. During the 1980s, it started being produced commercial and can now be found in many bakeries all over Jamaica, not just in people's homes. The base of the cake consists of molasses, flour, and baking soda so while it's a simple recipe, it's also quite flavorful when other toppings are added to it.
Anyone familiar with tamarind will know that it's a commonly-found ingredient in Caribbean and tropical cooking and this recipe calls for a lot of them. The tamarind is mixed with brown sugar and water to create sweet, sticky balls that are eaten as snacks and have a slightly tangy edge to them. The Guyanese version also adds a bit of heat with the use of hot peppers. Rum and garlic can also be added depending on which part of the Caribbean these tamarind balls are found in, and their flavors vary from very sweet to hot and spicy. To finish, each ball gets rolled in sugar to balance out the other flavors.
With a texture similar to a pound cake but a flavor that many would argue is so, so much better, cassava pone is one of the best cakes one can find in the Caribbean. This flavorful, slightly dense cake is made with coconut, sugar, nutmeg, sweet potatoes, cassava root, and pumpkin, which might sound like a lot but when combined, it's nothing short of heavenly, sweet, and smooth. The origins of the particular cake are still unclear but it has become a staple in Barbados. Not only does every person remember eating this cake as a child but it's often one of the first sweets to be sold out when it's on the menu.
In Jamaica, gizzada can be found pretty easily and it's the perfect dessert for those who love sweets with a bit of a kick to them. The filling inside of this delicious tart-like dessert consists of sweetened coconut combined with various spices, giving it the perfect amount of heat to be noticed but not overwhelming. The edges of this tart are pinched by hand which gives it its characteristic appearance and its name, and it's believed that this treat originally came from Jewish or Portuguese origins.
This beautiful cake is known for being a Southern delight but it actually has roots in Jamaica. The recipe slowly made its way up through North America, becoming a favorite of many in the southern half of the hemisphere. The cake is made with a blend of ingredinets, which include pinapple, bananas, pecans, and cinnamon, and it's usually topped with cream cheese frosting. The resulting cake is one that has several beautiful, bright layers, that's perfectly sweet due to all of the natural sweetness of each fruit, and a bit of tang from the cream cheese frosting.
Sweet Potato Pudding
In Jamaica, sweet potato pudding got its start as a traditional Sunday dessert. While the pudding itself is delicious, it's actually the cooking process that makes it so special. Nowadays, it's typically baked in the oven but traditionally, it was baked in coal pots and many people still uphold that tradition to this day. The pudding ingredients include coconut milk, sweet potatoes, flour, vanilla, nutmeg, and dried fruits, making it a slightly sweet yet satisfying end to any meal.