Grand Cayman’s #1 export is rum cake. Now, personally (and my family agrees) that my Cruzan rum cake takes the cake for best, but since we were in Grand Cayman we knew that cakes would make a good souvenir.
I had read up a bit on other travel blogs to see if I could find insight onto the best cake, best prices etc. There were some opinions here and there, but based on my experience, none were very up to date. For anyone traveling to GC soon, here is a synopsis of MY experience. I hope you find it useful!
There are two brands of rum cakes on Grand Cayman: Tortuga (very commercial and popular, seems to be “the” brand) and Blackbeard. One perk of perusing rum cakes is the samples. While we were there we got to try nearly every flavor from both brands – chocolate, regular, rum raisin, marble, coconut, coffee, pineapple, key lime…the list goes on. Our first tastes were of the Tortuga cakes at their factory outlet/bakery in Georgetown. Although I liked their boxes better, these cakes just seemed ok. On a side note, I have seen Tortuga cakes for sale back in the states and they have bakeries on Grand Cayman, but also Florida and Jamaica.
We sampled the Blackbeard cakes at a kiosk downtown and were pleasantly surprised that although this brand was cheaper, we liked the flavor more, they were moister and a bit more “rummy”. Blackbeards got our vote as the better cake. The ingredients were more “real” as well and are only made on GC.
Rum cakes (both brands) come in a variety of sizes. 4oz, 16oz and 32oz seem to be the most prevalent. Although the 4oz cakes are realistically pretty small, they make a great gift, and you can buy them in variety packs to take home.
When to Buy
We were in GC for 9 days, taking time to scope out the best prices and flavors before making an actual purchase. I recommend that you brainstorm who you want to buy cakes for, and what flavors they might like before heading off to the store. It will save you time standing in front of ALL the options and will make sure no one is left out. Since most places on the island are CLOSED on Sundays, don’t wait till Sunday to shop! Even the grocery stores are closed on Sunday. The duty free shops in town are also closed on days without a cruise ship. Luckily we bought our cakes just in time to get them home! If worse comes to worse and you miss open shops, the airport is a last chance place to buy the cakes but you will not get the best price.
Here is a breakdown of the cake prices at different locations across the island. There are “bundle” deals too, but you will not typically get to choose your flavor mixes in these. Hands down, the cheapest option we found was at the Foster’s Food Fair grocery store, where you can get a variety pack of 6 flavors (4oz each) for $15CI. Individually they were $2.99CI, compared to the Blackbeard’s store where they were $3.99 each, and the kiosk where you could get a 6 pack+2 free for $30CI.
The cheapest option for the Tortuga cakes was at the Tortuga duty free store (or the airport, they were the same) where you can get a 6 pack of 4oz cakes for $30 US. Two 16oz cakes were $42. The grocery store prices were slightly higher than the duty free stores because prices were in CI.
If you choose to wait for the airport, both brands are available, as well as lots of duty free rum. The rum was the same price here as at duty free stores on the island, so it was worth it to wait. They pack it securely too which is a bonus. Be advised that you will have to put it into your checked luggage if you are connecting to a different flight after Grand Cayman.
Happy rummy travels!