How to make Caribbean black cake, a rum-soaked Christmas tradition

“In Trinidad, when you are invited to someone’s house for the holidays, they will inevitably ask you if you want a black cake, usually accompanied with a drink like sorrel,” says Andrew McBarnett, co-founder of Neale’s Sweet N ‘Pleasant. “It would be rude to decline … even if you’ve already visited five houses before!”

Neale’s is best known for ice cream rooted in Trinidad’s family legacy, but this festive season, the Toronto-based company is branching out into a new line of baked goods, including the rich rum-soaked cake that is a sentimental favorite in the whole Caribbean. Doing so is both a tradition and a ritual, McBarnett explains, as it involves marinating a trail mix in liquor for weeks or months.

“Every family has their own secret recipe to make their Christmas cake, that’s the beauty,” says Rosemarie Wilson, co-founder of Neale and McBarnett’s aunt, recalling that her mother would start preparing the fruit in September to bake in December. . Read on to find out how to do it, but remember that it is adaptable to your tastes, from the specific mix of fruits and spices you use to the alcoholic beverage you soak it in.

If you’d rather leave the baking to others, you can order Neale’s Caribbean Black Cake, available for a limited time at (for delivery at the GTHA); A broader rollout for retailers is planned for Black History Month.

Caribbean Black Cake

“The black cake is said to be an adaptation of the European plum pudding that was brought to the Caribbean in the 19th century by British colonizers. It was enhanced with local ingredients and spices from each island and infused with Caribbean spirit. Literally. We take the trail mix and soak it in our favorite rum and wine mix, sometimes adding port or sherry. The black cake is a very popular culinary symbol throughout the Caribbean and is often present at family celebrations, Christmas holidays and weddings. —LaTisha Brown, director of baked goods at Neale’s Sweet N ‘Nice

For the fruit and rum mix:

350 grams Dried fruits like raisins, prunes, currants, glazed cherries, or mixed peels like candied lemon, orange, or pineapple, but there are no rules

150 ml dark Jamaican rum such as Appleton, J. Wray & Nephew, or rum of your choice

150 ml sweeter red wine or mix of port and sherry

Months or weeks before the baking day, place the dried fruit in a jar and add enough rum and wine to cover the fruit. As the fruit absorbs the liquid over time, you can add more rum and wine.

For the cake batter:

230 grams softened butter

220 grams brown sugar

4 eggs

400 grams flour

2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon (15 ml) burnt sugar (available in West Indian stores)

1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 ml) nutmeg

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla

1 tsp (5 ml) almond extract

Using a mixer or hand mixer, mix together the butter and brown sugar.

One at a time, add each egg to the batter while mixing to mix and incorporate completely. Set aside.

In a blender, puree the soaked fruit. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and almond extract. Add burnt sugar. Blend all the ingredients well.

Add the fruit puree mixture to the cake batter and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and mix well.

Pour into two greased 7-inch cake pans.

For a moist, pudding-like cake texture, use a “water bath” – place each cake pan inside a larger plate half filled with water throughout the baking process.

Bake for one hour at 300 ° F (150 ° C), then lower to 250 ° F (120 ° C) for an additional 30 minutes or until done.

Once the cake has cooled, you can add more rum and wine on top for more flavor.

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