Dark Fruit Cake
I just made a double recipe using the formula below last night from my fruits macerated from last year. This is what I did (from an amalgam of 3-4 good recipes*.) Its really pretty simple.
(1)for your 4-5 lbs of fruit macerated in rum - grind the fruit , if you havent already to a paste put it in a big mixing bowl (keep the soaking rum syrup, of course)
(2)add 3 oz caribbean burnt sugar/ or substitute 6 oz of gravy coloring
(3)cream 1 lb soft butter with 1 lb dark brown sugar (or light brown with some molasses or black treacle added)
(4) beat in 1 lb eggs (10-12) adding 1 at a time, 1 tsp salt (if you are cooking with unsalted butter), 1 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (must be fresh grated!) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
(5) add the sugar-butter-egg mixture to the fruit and stir
(6) add 1 lb white flour to the mixture (you can add this into the egg-sugar-butter mix, but you dont want any gluten or dough mass to form
(7) mix it all up - its heavy and a hand works better and faster for me than a spoon or spatula
(8) add nuts if desired - I like to add some texture to the Caribbean black cakes - 1-2 lbs of pecans/walnuts are good
(8) pack into buttered and floured pans - a layer of buttered and floured wax paper is a good idea since this is a heavy, tender cake - you can fill pans to the top but not much over - the cakes rise only very slightly in the oven
(9) bake in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hours - my thinner cakes baked in 2 - the thicker, huge ones took 2-1/2 or more - bake until the cakes are quite firm and springy on top and a pick comes out without any wetness - since the cakes are very dark you may want to cover tops with some foil toward the end to avoid excessive browning.
(10) leave the cakes in the pan - on a rack for 10 min to let them firm a little before removing from the pan - I rushed this last night and broke one cake - had to stick it back together (these are relatively forgiving) make sure the cake is separated from the side of the pan - its buttery enough that this is usually not a big problem, but you may need to run a knife around - invert a cooliing rack over the cake, release from the pan and then reverse onto another rack (it should be upright at the end.
(11) if you want to, brush or drench the hot cake with liquor or port wine - I used a mix of dark run, cointreau and thick orange syrup last night - other recipes call for tawny port
(12) when the cake is cool, wrap tightly in saran or similar and refrigerate. I tend to put mine on cake boards - or a piece of cardboard covered with foil - because they continue to be tender when at room temperature. Preferably store for a least a week, but its edible now, the next day.
(13) if you want to gild the lily, you can decorate with a layer of rolled out marzipan and then a coating of royal frosting, but Ive never bothered.
My West Indian friends love this cake.
*sources: Caribbean Black Cake (adapted from Bernadette Taylor by Henry Thomas and Denise Svatos), published in the NYTImes food section October 19,1989
Rosamund Grant's Caribbean and African Cookery - Caribbean Christmas Cake
Maida Heater (Book or New Book of Great Desserts) - recipe for conventional cake I use when not making the caribbean cakes, which has the orange flavored syrup
I have a print out of Laurie Colwin'e recipe in my file but really, who can take seriously a recipe published by a woman who admits she never cooks it.