Trini Black Cake- This is a rich rum cake that's made and served in most Trinidad and Tobago, and Caribbean homes during the Christmas season (also served at some weddings).
It's a decadent, almost pudding-like cake made mainly of 'soaked fruits'. Soaked fruits simply means a variety of dried fruits that are minced, then soaked over a period of time in rum and cherry brandy (the alcohol can vary). The rich, moist fruits are added to the cake batter then mixed with browning (another main ingredient). The browning is a thick syrup made from "burning" brown sugar (cooking brown sugar and water until it is thick, dark and caramelized) which gives the cake its rich dark colour. After the cake is baked, it's poked, then finished with a drizzle of liqueur.
The wonderful thing about this super scrumptious and indulgent cake; the alcohol acts as a preservative, so you can display this delightful cake all through the season. Simply decorate it with some extra soaked fruit, a few sliced cherries and a sprinkle of nuts. To make it even merrier, enjoy a slice with a glass of sorrel or ponche de creme.
Yields approximately 5-6 (6inch) cakes
For The Soaked Fruits
1 1/2 Lbs. Raisins
1 1/2 Lbs. Prunes, pitted
1 1/2 Lbs. Currants
6 Ounces Citron (preserved minced rinds from citrus fruits), this can be purchased in most groceries in the dried fruit section.
3 Cups Maraschino Cherries, roughly chopped (syrup drained)
1 Bottle (750ml) Rum
1 Bottle (750ml) Cherry Brandy
Add raisins, prunes and currants to a food processor, and pulse together until the fruits are minced. Note: If you blend too much, it can result in a paste.
Add the minced fruits to a glass jar with the citron and chopped cherries. Using a metal spoon, mix everything together until all the ingredients are well combined.
Pour the cherry brandy and rum over the minced fruits, and mix well to properly combine the alcohol. Or, you can add half the alcohol, allow it to sit overnight, then stir in the remainder of alcohol the following day.
Allow the jar of fruits to soak and marinate in the alcohol for a minimum of 2 weeks. Note: Because the alcohol acts as a preservative, these fruits can stay sealed, and stored on the counter for long periods of time. There is also a quicker version where you can simmer your fruits in the alcohol, if you need them right away. Also, the alcohol acts as a preservative, so these fruits can stay sealed, and stored on the counter for long periods of time.
For The Cake
6 Cups All Purpose Flour
4 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Baking Soda
3 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups Almond Milk (or sub for another non-dairy milk)
2 Cups Coconut Oil
1 ½- 2 Cups Browning For Cakes (burnt brown sugar) see note below
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (or sub for almonds, cashews or pecans)
Preheat the oven to 350°f.
Add milk and vinegar to a bowl, and allow it to sit while you get the other ingredients ready.
In a separate bowl, sift flour with baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
Using a large mixing bowl, add brown sugar, oil, almond extract, and browning, then stir until well combined.
Fold in the soaked fruits, milk and chopped nuts, and mix together until properly combined. Note: I reserved a 1/2 cup of the soaked fruits to use for decorating the finished cakes.
Fold in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) to the fruit mix, a little bit at a time until it's properly combined.
Prepare your baking dishes by lining them with parchment paper, or grease them with coconut oil and a dusting of flour.
Bake at 350°f for 40 minutes then reduce the heat to 300°f and bake for approximately 25 minutes or more. You can check to see when they're ready by sticking them with a toothpick. When the stick comes out clean, the cakes are fully baked and ready to come out of the oven.
While the cakes are still warm, gently poke them with a toothpick, and pour them with amaretto (or choose a substitute, or mix rum and almond extract together). Allow to cool before removing from the pans.
To decorate the cakes- I used the soaked fruits that I reserved, and mixed it with maple syrup, pecans, sliced cherries and extra raisins, for a festive look. You can also use marzipan for decorating your cakes.