Sunday, December 27, 2009
For most West Indians it's not 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire or Jack Frost nipping at your toes' that evokes feelings of Christmas but black cake soaked in lots of rum. It just wouldn't be Christmas without it. So much so that I have actually had to mail tins of this cake to friends and family abroad who craved a taste of home.
Black cake is also used for weddings. As per tradition I saved a layer of my wedding cake which we consumed in celebration of the birth of our first child - six years later! I confess to being more than a bit skeptical as I contemplated that well-aged slice of cake. Curiosity won out. I ate it and crossed my fingers that there wouldn't be any ill effects. My fears were unfounded. No one was poisoned and the cake tasted about the same as it did on the day of my wedding. Delicious.
This year's black cake was baked by November, wrapped, soaked in rum and put to cure for Christmas. Because of the hectic season, I am only now finding time to post this amazing, fragrant and boozy treat that we will be enjoying well into January.The New York Times has a good recipe for Black Cake.
My own cake is not the traditional black colour. Click here to see the colour that it should be. Some years I get it right, some years not. This year I chickened out and removed the sugar from the fire too soon. You'd be surprised how quickly the sugar goes from dark brown to a bitter charred mess. It takes experience and careful watching to get it right. If you have read about my struggles with custard then you will know that I am an an impatient cook. The lighter coloured cake is no less delicious than a dark one.
The NY Times recipe suggests that you brush the cake with rum. I don't know anyone who does that. Here is how we soak our cakes. Make small holes all over the cake with a skewer. Throw away the brush and drench the cakes in rum. Nothing less than a full bottle will do.
On Christmas Eve the caterers at my husband's firm served black cake. A co-worker decided that since it was the last day of work before a holiday there was little chance that the drug and alcohol tester would show up. Turns out he was wrong!
Here are some sites that talk about this cake
A fruitcake soaked in the tropical sun
Black cake - a dry run
Posted by Wizzy John at 6:41 PM