Delicious Jamaican Black Cake Recipe…
or just rum cake –
I have to introduce you to my Mother’s black cake recipe. Usually baked for special occasions like Christmas or Birthdays.
I remember, when I was very young, watching with my Brothers, this guy playing the spoons in a talent show on tv. The show was called Opportunity Knocks. I was mesmerized, by the rhythm, the sound, the spectacle. I also remember this: my Brothers and I used to love watching my Mum as she would make this cake. We all had this sixth sense, this cake intuition, in the same way that Spiderman has his spidey sense. Only ours was a cakey sense. Didn’t matter where we were in the house, or whether we were out playing in the park, our ‘cakey’ sense would begin to tingle and we would be mysteriously drawn from where we were to the kitchen. I’m not sure if we really loved watching her, I think that was part of it, but mostly it was the fact that we would salivate over the wooden spoon she used to blend and stir everything.
We would offer our ‘help’, our services, with no strings attached. Except that there were strings attached: We knew once she was done making the black cake and poured the batter into the baking pans, the cake batter left on the spoon, and in the mixing bowl, was ours for the taking. Opportunity was knocking, only the spoon was playing us! We would focus on the spoon with a laser-like precision, as if we were in that first Indiana Jones movie, staring at the grinning golden statue, hoping to swipe it and replace it with a bag of sand, only we neither had a plan, a whip, or that bag of sand to compensate. We were children, and our aims and goals were transparent. The spoon was always within reach and we could potentially grab it and run away with it at any moment; the consequence being the giant boulder of my Mother’s wrath, rolling towards us. We didn’t want that. The alternative would be to wait for the cake to emerge from the oven.
Children don’t do waiting very well. In a last ditch effort of manipulation, we would offer up our large puppy dog eyes, or walk around our Mother’s legs, like a trio of cats showing affection. We once tried the “there is no spoon thing”, this was way before the bald kid and Neo, only we were children, so that lasted all of two seconds. Of course there was a spoon! And it was sitting right there in front of us, not bent but straight! We didn’t want to bend it, all we wanted was to get to its pre-cakey goodness. Mmmmm! Raw eggs in the batter and on the spoon? No problem! At least, it wasn’t an issue for us back then. Thinking about it now, turns my stomach. What can I say? Funny how times change.
I remember how she would first add the brown sugar and butter and stir it by hand until both ingredients swirled into each other becoming smooth. The whole process was fascinating to me, unlike watching sausage being made. I can still remember timing it just right, like Professor Jones, so when mum would turn away, I would steal a few rum soaked raisins from the jar, all while my brothers provided me with the side-eye of disapproval. I would then stuff the overproof raisins in my mouth, and then stagger away, crashing into things, eventually succumbing to a short nap, courtesy of Mr. Wray and his relative. As for my brothers and their disapproval, they were just jealous, of both my enterprising nature, and my nap.
When opportunity knocks, its best to open the door, just be sure to leave the spoon in the kitchen.
Anyway, enough reminiscing, let’s get started with this recipe.. right!
Gather Your Ingredients
1lb Unsalted Butter
14 oz Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Rum (my preference Appleton Dark)
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of two limes
2 cups of Manischewitz blackberry wine (or flavor of your choice)
1.5 cups of dark molasses
2.5 – 3 cups of sifted flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 pinch of salt
Are You Ready! Directions
Preheat oven to between 350 and 375 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour 2-9 inch round cake pans (you may need more).
In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into the bowl with butter mix and blend out till creamy and smooth. Add 1/2 cup of rum, lime juice, vanilla and lime zest. In a blender, blend 3/4 of the mixed fruit with the juice from the wine and rum mixture, then add all fruits to bowl along with the molasses and 2 cups of wine (at this point the mixture might be a little curdled but don’t worry). In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and salt. Fold the flour and spices into batter being careful not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans (you might need more than 2 pans, maybe you can make miniature ones.) . Before putting the cake pans in the oven remember to put a heat resistant bowl with water into the oven and then place the cake pans in after. This will stop the cake from burning on the bottom.
Bake in the preheated oven for 80-90 minutes, or until a tooth pick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Prepare equal parts (a shot glass of each) Grand Marnier, Appleton’s rum and Manischewitz wine. Pierce the cake all over with a tooth pick and spoon the concoction over the cake. Let sit overnight.
Serve your cake slice with a dollop of fresh cream, a drizzle of icing, a dusting of powdered sugar, a nice orange slice or just plain in it’s original state. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as our family and friends has. Take care for now and let me know how your cake turns out. Keep smiling!
P.S. If after you bake your black cake you feel you wanted your cake to be more spicy, next time add more spice, maybe an additional teaspoon of allspice and cinnamon. Bye!
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