What do you eat for dessert on Christmas Day? In fact what food dish commonly features during the run up to Christmas at your kitchen table. For me, and for many individuals of Caribbean origin (whether in the Caribbean or the diaspora a la moi in the UK) during the festive period there will be eating the traditional Caribbean Christmas Black Cake on their kitchen table. Depending upon the island where your heritage (or family) there will be slight variations in the Caribbean Christmas Black Cake. In fact, every island have their own spin, Puerto Rico has a sponge cake base, Guyana uses apricot jam and St Vincent use black wine. Where my family originate from, Jamaica, Black Cake is made with the following dried fruits: prunes, sultanas, raisins and cherries. This is seen as a celebration cake, in part because of dried fruits are expensive in the Caribbean, so this was seen as a real treat, only to be eaten as special occasions (Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings and Funerals)
When comparing Caribbean Christmas Black Cake to the traditional British cake, there are noticeable differences, Black cake is laced with rum, it's strong, but lighter than the European style fruit cakes. I find it to be incredibly moreish and as a person who do not ordinarily enjoy fruit cake I love Black Cake. This is the only cake that I have eaten year in, year out every Christmas and it's a tradition which I will hope to continue if I have children of my own.
Waitrose have compiled a cracking web page of recipes from around the world celebrating Christmas Traditions from other cultures. Take a look and sample Christmas from around the world. If you fancy a different type of Christmas cake, give this a try. Trust me, you will not regret it. My Black Cake tastes divine just as it is, but also goes well when served with ice-cream, rum custard, brandy custard (do not drive lol).
Recipe for Caribbean Christmas Black Cake
You will need a 10 inch cake tin and freestanding cake mixer.
For the Fruit
500g mixed dried fruit
170g pitted prunes, sliced in half
200g glace cherries, sliced in half
100g mixed peel
250ml QC Sherry
100ml dark rum
For the Cake
250g dark muscavodo sugar
100ml hot water
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all spice
100ml black treacle
500g self-raising flour
Start with the fruit, this will need soaking at least 3 days prior. In a mixing bowl, add the dried fruit, prunes, cherries and mix peel and pour the QC Sherry and dark rum.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, line the cake tin. In a free standing kitchen mixer, cream the butter, dark muscavodo sugar and hot water – the hot water should loosen any clumps in the sugar. Next add the spices, followed by the treacle. Alternate adding the eggs (i.e 2 eggs, then the self-raising flour) and the flour, this is to ensure the egg mixture does not curdle. Finally add in the dried fruits, reserving the juices. Bake in the preheated oven on the top shelf for around 1 hour and 45 minutes, check whether the cake is baked by inserting a skewer in, if there is no mixture on the skewer the cake is baked.
Leave the cake to cool. Once cooled, remove the cake from the tin, the way I do this is placing a large plate on top of the cake and flipping over. Peel back the baking parchment and using a pastry brush, brush the reserved juices liberally over the tops and sides of the cake.
Thank you Waitrose for asking me to participate.