Caribbean Christmas Cake aka Black Cake aka Rum cake
In most of the Caribbean, rum cakes are a traditional holiday season dessert, descended from holiday puddings associated with Europe. Traditionally, dried fruit is soaked in rum for months and then added to dough prepared with sugar which has been caramelized by boiling in water.
This is not your average cake. Come check out this deliciously moist and OOHH SO GOOD holiday treat. This cake recipe makes 3 pans of 9” cakes.
1/2 c prunes pitted
1/2 c raisins, dark
1/2 c dried currants
1/2 c dried cherries, deseeded
4 oz mixed dried citrus peel, orange, lime, lemon, and tangerine
2 c cherry brandy
1 qt dark rum
2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 lb unsalted butter, plus more for preparing the pans
12 oz dark brown sugar
10 tbsp flax seeds, blended with 1 3/4 cups of water
1 lime, zested
3 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp Angostura bitters
3 c all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1. In a large, air-tight container combine the prunes, raisins, currants, cherries, and citrus peel, all of the brandy, and 3 cups of the rum. Stir to combine and set aside for at least three days and up 3 months.
2. When ready to bake, working in batches, place the alcohol-soaked fruit in a food processor. Slowly pulse to a rough paste. If needed, add more brandy to thin the consistency. Continue this process until all of the fruit has been processed and set aside.
3. Next make the "browning." Side note- look up Love Me Browning by Buju Banton. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the granulated sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until it has melted. Continue stirring until the sugar darkens. It will indeed smoke. Don’t panic. When the sugar is almost black, carefully stir in the boiling water. Take caution, because it will splatter. Turn off the heat.
4. Prepare cake pans with butter and a double layer of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 250°F. (Note: Because this cake is so dense, it seldom rises. As such, employing relatively shallow baking pans is very necessary, or try muffin pans).
5. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and light. Combine the flax seeds, then the lime zest, vanilla, and bitters. Transfer this mixture to a very large bowl. Then, in a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the fruit and a 1/4 cup of the browning. The batter should be dark brown; if it's too light add in more of the browning, a tablespoon at a time.
6. Divide batter among prepared cake pans. The batter will not rise very much, so fill pans a hair off the top. Bake for one hour, then reduce heat to 225°F. Continue to bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours longer. Check for completion using a tester, which when inserted should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack.
7. About 10 minutes after the cakes have been retrieved from the oven, and they are cooling on the wire rack, brush the top of the cakes with more rum and allow it to soak in. Continue this process about every 30 minutes while the cakes cool.
8. The cakes can be served one small slice at a time, as is the custom in the Caribbean. To store, wrap them in wax paper first, then wrap it in foil. These cakes keep for up to a month in a cool dry place.