Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Black Cake for Dad
My father is the only person I know who actually likes fruitcake. He used to share the love of it with my grandmother (my mother's mother), and the two of them would share fruitcake in the winter and mocha almond ice cream in the summer.
A few years ago, when my friend Annabelle of Calamity Shazaam in the Kitchen game me a sliver of black cake (literally a sliver, but it was so rich, I ate it over a few days - ok, it was probably more like a few hours), I knew I had found a kind of fruitcake that I could get behind, and one that I wouldn't mind baking.
And then I promptly forgot about it.
The idea of black cake popped back into my head for some reason this summer, and so I decided I would embark on the task of making some for my father for his birthday. I got the fruit soaking in rum, and then I had a hard time finding enough time to bake the cake, so the fruit ended up sitting for 3 weeks or so. The recipe says 3 to 5 days, but from what I've read, it's really a the-longer-the-better thing. The recipe also calls for soaking the baked cakes in more rum, but I personally don't like cakes with too much of a strong rum flavor, so I left that part out. The cakes have been fine in the freezer/fridge without the extra alcohol to keep them.
Since giving these cakes to my father a little over a month ago, he's already finished two of the four and is currently making his way through the third. Guess I'll have to bake him some more for Christmas.
Black Cake from Trinigourmet via Bite Me New England
1 lb pitted prunes, chopped
1 lb raisins, chopped
1 lb currants
1 bottle dark rum
(I also added a few chopped apricots I had laying around)
Combine these in a large glass bowl at least 3 days before baking the cake. Cover and store in a cool, dry place.
1 lb brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1 lb butter
1 lb sugar
2 tsp lime zest
2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 lb flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp mixed spice (I used something like 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves)
Blend fruit base in a blender or with an immersion blender. It should be thick and just a little chunky, like tomato sauce.
In a large pot, heat brown sugar over medium-high heat until caramelized (it will take on a darker quality). Add hot water carefully and mix well. Set aside to cool. This product is called browning. (I worked quickly so I didn't worry about it hardening, but apparently that can be an issue - watch out for it so you can get it out of the pan!)
Preheat oven to 250° (yes, I said two-fifty). Grease and line with parchment 4 8-inch round cake pans (you can play around the sizes and shapes as you'd like - I think this would be great in a bundt shape).
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs gradually, mixing to combine, then add zest and extracts. Sift together dry ingredients, then slowly add them to the creamed mixture. Mix in pureed fruit base and browning.
Pour batter into prepared pans (you don't have to worry too much about them rising). Bake for 3 hours (yes, 3 hours - it's only 250°, remember?). Cool in pans slightly before removing. If you're going to soak them in rum, now's the time.