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Trinidad Black Cake
Black cake is a traditional dessert found throughout the West Indies. Below is the recipe I use for our family holidays.
First, plan ahead and soak your fruit at least 1 week ahead. I typically soak fruit several months prior:
1 lb pitted prunes
1 lb Black raisins
1 lb dried currants
1 bottle of cherry brandy
1 bottle clear rum
2 tbsp Angostura bitters
Store in an air tight container. I suggest a large glass jar.
Once your fruit has soaked for several days or months and you are ready to bake, blend the fruit base mixture until it reaches the consistency of tomato pasta sauce. I recomend a Ninja or Vitamix. I have killed several lesser blenders making this cake!
Next, prepare the browning.
1 lb brown sugar
1/2-1cu boiling water
YES, you can use store bought browning but it won't be as good. Take the time to make it yourself, but be careful. It is quite dangerous! Heat sugar in a cast iron or metal pot. Do not use a non-stick pot! I burn my sugar over medium heat, stirring often after it starts to bubble. Burn sugar until caramelized, adding the boiling water gradually until all is mixed and liquid. Leave to cool.
Time to make the cake base:
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp amond extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 lb all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of clove
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
2 tsp lime rind zest (1 lime)
Cream the butter and sugar first. Add eggs one at a time. Then, add the lime zest and each extract.
In another bowl, add flour, baking powder, and spices. I choose to add my spices based on my taste (above) but a pumpkin pie mix would do as well. Mix and slowly add to creamed sugar.
Now, slowly add the fruit base to the cake mixture. Add browning. Mix thoroughly.
Preheat your oven to 250F and grease 3-4 9×13 pans. Line each pan with double layers of parchment paper.
Fill each pan with batter and bake 2.5-3 hours. Use a convection oven or cook 2 pans at a time in a traditional oven.
Cakes should be at least 165F once done and rather firm, but sticky. A toothpick test will not work.
While the cakes are hot, pour 1-2 cups of clear rum over the tops. Allow to sit overnight in a air tight container and consume within 4 weeks. Cakes are shelf-stable once covered in rum and do not require refrigeration.