By Vishnu Bisram
Black cake is Caribbean’s (very Guyanese) finest dessert cake made from a variety of minced fruits. It is Guyana’s signature dessert; everyone craves for it. Wherever Guyanese migrate, they introduce it to their foreign born and non-Guyanese friends. And Guyanese are known to be very hospitable hosts especially in North America sharing recipes and cuisine.
Guyanese have introduced black cake in the USA and rest of the diaspora. Every non-Guyanese who tastes Guyanese black cake speaks highly of what it does to the palate. It is irresistible. They want to consume more and more. Of course, Guyanese at home and in the diaspora also desire black cake that is not easily accessible.
Making black cake is very costly (mixture of varied fruits and liquor involved, almond paste, icing, and other expensive ingredients). But Guyanese consumers and reception or party hosts don’t mind spending the money for a nice delicious slice of the great stuff for guests.
Not every baker or caterer or home cook can prepare a sumptuous or delicious black cake. Mandy, a diasporan in New York, makes perhaps the best black cake, according to those who sampled it at various social events. It is mouth watering just looking at its display at several social functions. It is true to its origins. Mandy’s black cake resonates among Guyanese and non-Guyanese New Yorkers, making her a black cake culinary ambassador.
Those who had it described Mandy’s black cake as palatial, splendid, grand, superb, great, and opulent, among other positive words. It is incomparable to others, they said. And Guyanese feel proud when foreigners taste her moist, magnificent black cake and gave rave reviews. A Trini husband and wife in New Delhi said it was fantastic, the best they tasted.
Mandy caters her black cake for various events with clients sayin they love her black cake. Her list of clienteles has been growing and she says, “They found it excellent, tasty. They never made a negative comment”.
Indeed everyone who tasted the cake has praised it as very delicious and traditional. Mandy applies traditional Guyanese style icing with almond paste on her cake.
Mandy (Amanda Khan) was born in Chateau Margot, Guyana and raised in Suriname after her family migrated there during the tough period of authoritarian rule and scarcity of food. She came to USA over 25 years ago. She came from a family of bakers – her grandmother and mother operated bakeries in Guyana until Burnham banned imported ingredients (flour, fruits, butter, etc.) necessary to make pastries, bread, black cake, and like items, forcing the family and hundreds of thousands of other Guyanese to migrate. She learned baking skills watching her mother who in turn learn from her mother. “My mom and nanny used to make cakes. It was a family tradition, and I carefully watched her and helped out in the family business. I intently watched my mother prepared dishes and I absorbed her recipes and baking methods through careful observations. God bless my mother and my nanny. I continue this family tradition from my home in New York”.
Her baking is mostly a hobby but it is professionally done with a lot of love and affection. “I love to make customers happy. Every customer is satisfied with my cakes and their presentations. They came back with ‘a wow’. I do a lot of catering for social functions. I operate at of my home. I hope one day to have my own bakery. At home, I can take care of my children and also use my free time to make items for charity”.
Amanda says her specialty is black cake though during Christmas season she also makes fruit cake. She has been making Black cake for sixteen years for special events throughout the year. She supplies black cake for all occasions — birthday, wedding, anniversaries, receptions, showers, all party events.
Besides being a part time baker of black cake, Mandy is a philanthropist helping kids, teaching them to be respectful and kind to others. She said “I feel blessed. God has been good to me, and I am is motivated to giving back to the less fortunate”.
She uses whatever income is generated for charitable work. Mandy makes teddy bears and other children items that she donates at various events to less fortunate kids. Many will be in Guyana with her 21 year old son in mid-September to distribute toys to children.
Amanda or Mandy Cakes can be reached at: mandykcreations on Instagram; amanda khan on Facebook, as well as on tik tok. She can be reached by phone at 1-917-294-3500. She is located in Queens and her cake can be picked up (Crossbay area) or delivered.