As a child, preparation for Christmas in my household usually starts just after Christmas. When the last piece of black cake and West Indian fruit cake are consumed my mom would set her fruits for the next Christmas. That means gathering raisins, currants, prunes, candied cherries and orange peel and meticulously passing it through a hand cranked mill until she has achieved the texture she’s looking for. Even in these modern times with electrical gadgets such as a food processor she still does it the old fashion way. Black cake and Fruit cake was serious business in our household, and my Mom makes the best!
Fruitcake has always had a bad reputation. Just the mare mention makes stomachs churn and is usually met with universal disdain. Traditionally, fruitcake is made with chunks of dried fruit, candied fruits and nuts which makes for one hell of a chunky cake filled with lots of not so tasty obstacles. Not all fruitcakes are created equal. This Fruitcake may bare the same name and similar ingredients but that’s where the similarity ends.
Our cake is more of a dense sponge cake. Dried fruits soaked in alcohol (usually Rum) for up to a year is finely ground, then added to a rich sponge cake batter. The result is anything but dry, this produces a rich, moist and silky texture that is further enhanced by soaking it in…you guessed it… more Rum. Hey if I can’t get tipsy from a slice a cake it needs more Rum. I promise you this, you won’t want to re-gift this Fruitcake. I made one pan for my myself and one for my mother-in-law and less than 24 hours after, I have less than half a pan remaining…yeah it’s that good.
For the Fruits you will need:
3/4 lb raisins
3/4 lb currants
3/4 lb prunes
1/4 lb candied cherries
1/4 lb mix citrus peel
1/4 lb almond or peanuts (optional)
Wash and grind all ingredients. This can done with a food mill or food processor. Mix in about 2 cups of rum and allow to sit for at least 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container.
Caribbean Fruit Cake
1 lb or about 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 lb or 2 cups sugar
1 lb or 4 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 cups fruit mixture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9 inch cake pans. Set aside. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves; set aside.
Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix until fluffy and light in color. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition to make sure egg is incorporated. Please don’t rush this step, adding the eggs too soon or too many at one time can cause the mixture to curdle or separate.
Next add fruits mixture, orange zest, vanilla extract and almond extract to mixture, mix until incorporated. Add flour to wet ingredients, mix until smooth. Divide equally between the 2 pans.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and immediately pour 1/2 cup of rum over each cake. I like to add rum to my cake when it’s cooled and every day until cake is eaten. If you don’t like too strong of a rum flavor, just add after it comes out of the oven.