I made a cake today. It is a very special cake made with heaps of love and will be winging its way across the Atlantic in a few weeks.
The recipe for Caribbean Black Cake is traditionally used for wedding cakes and celebrations such as Christmas. Each Caribbean island household has its own version of this recipe and adapt it to their preference. The dark colour of the mix comes from prunes, dates, sultanas and currants but in this recipe I wanted a lighter cake and used tropical fruits in the ingredients, which I soaked in white rum and will douse weekly in the next three months, with Malibu which has a lovely coconut and rum flavour.
Don’t be fooled by its innocent appearance. This cake has plenty of punch and is spicy and very boozy – just like a typical Caribbean celebration!
Here’s my recipe below. Happy cake making and happy celebrations!
Caribbean Celebration Cake
750g of mixed dried fruits, finely chopped
500ml dark rum
½ tbsp Angostura bitters
250g unsalted butter
250g demerara suga
200g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Finely grated zest 1 lemon & 1 orange
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
One 23cm diameter, deep loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and lined
Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and add Angostura bitters. Cover with cling film, then set aside in a cool, dark place to soak for 24 hours. This is the minimum soaking time*
Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2. Grease and line a deep 23cm diameter loose- bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice and lemon zest. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and demerara sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one by one, then stir in the vanilla extract.
Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until fully combined. Fold in the fruit. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, then transfer to the oven and bake for 31⁄2-4 hours until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack, then brush the top of the cake generously with a couple of tablespoons of dark rum. Allow the rum to soak in and the cake to cool completely before serving.*
*I soak the fruit for as long as possible – up to a year, When the cake is made, I wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin for up to three months before serving. Each week or so, unwrap and brush generously with dark rum, re-wrap and store.