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Black Cake and Browning

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96 replies to this topic

#61 mukki

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:14 AM

I just ordered some browning from Kalustyan's after your note about homemade browning just not doing it. I also bought some "mixed essence" which is listed in Saveur's recipe; I'm not sure if I'll use it, but the flavor sounded good (vanilla, almond and pear).

I put my fruit in to soak in July, so I'll probably bake mine in late November.

#62 Lindacakes

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:15 AM

I have seen black cake sold on eBay, believe it or not. I don't remember the price, but I'm thinking $30.

This is the sort of cake that can't be bought and sold -- first of all, at least for me, the price of the liquor alone would shoot the price of one piece off the map.

How do you charge for the amount of time you had to age the cake? Or, since there is no labor involved, do you neglect to charge for one of the "ingredients" that is most precious?

One of the reasons why I would be very reluctant to sell what I bake -- I don't think I could ever get back out what I put in, either in cost of ingredients or time.

Next year's cake has hand candied cherries. How would I begin to charge for that? All those hot summer mornings of cooking syrup and changing it?

Aye yi yi!

Priceless!
I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

#63 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 08:56 AM

Yesterday was supposed to be my black cake day ..but I was derailed by having to have a tooth extracted ..and that I might add was horrible

however he gave me percocet :biggrin:

so today with the right music and mood I am going to make the best black cakes I have ever made! I feel confident..and buzzed!

I am not sure what will happen ..I promise to try to document my efforts with a photo montage..

the side of my drug bottle says "avoid alcohol as it may intensify the effects" um that does not exactly sound like a warning!!!

I just hope I dont pull a Judy Garland mixing tastes of these fruits with my pain pills :raz:


wish me luck I am lined up and ready to go

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 05 October 2007 - 08:58 AM.


#64 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 07:25 AM

first the perfectly ripened fruits you dont know where the fruit starts or the booze ends ..that is what they should be when you bake your cake!Posted Image

coarse chop ..I did not have the heart to puree them!
Posted Image


commercial browning is the only way to go for me
I am glad I tried to make my own ..but never again on that one
this is the exact color your batter should be
Posted Image

and the cake ...the cake tastes really good warm ...too good :wub:
so it was wrapped up quickly with only 1/3 missing from one cake!

Posted Image

I am so happy I made this and could share it with you ..it will be really nice for Thanksgiving ...in a couple of weeks I will make the Christmas one and it will be completely different!

#65 K8memphis

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:22 AM

Thank you So much

I've been telling my husband about it. Getting him prepared to start copping ingredients over time little by little. Reminds me I gotta make him a list for his wallet. He does a lot of the shopping. We shop kinda just a few days worth at a time.

How tall is your luscious cake, HBK???

And the bottom of your jar has no more liquid in it?
But at one time the fruit would submerge under the alcohol
when it wasn't floating? Obviously I have to go back
and re-read the instructions.

Lindacakes, I'd give it away before I'd charge $30! :rolleyes:
Thanks for the info.

#66 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:54 AM

Thank you So much

you are so welcome it was my pleasure to share!

I've been telling my husband about it. Getting him prepared to start copping ingredients over time little by little. Reminds me I gotta make him a list for his wallet. He does a lot of the shopping. We shop kinda just a few days worth at a time.

How tall is your luscious cake, HBK???

not very tall maybe three inches I think? the cake is also called "heavy cake" in the islands because it is very heavy! 

And the bottom of your jar has no more liquid in it?
But at one time the fruit would submerge under the alcohol
when it wasn't floating? Obviously I have to go back
and re-read the instructions.

my jars have almost no liquid maybe 2 cups of kind of thick fruity syrup left.. in a gallon jar.some fruits are years old ..the fruits are completely rehyrdrated I dont cut them up much just enough to cram them in the jar..I have three gallon jars I use one per batch then I split up the other two into the empty jar add rum, brandy and port wine and the cycle continues ..but usually I know the fruits are ready when there is just a big of syrup left in the jars

Lindacakes, I'd give it away before I'd charge $30!  :rolleyes:
Thanks for the info.

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I could not imagine puttind a dollar amt on this cake but I can see making a standard one and selling it to people who long for it and dont want to make it


although in a million years I can not imagine not enjoying this process .it is fun!...my son came over and I had bits of the cake on the plate all warm and his eyes were rolling!!! I love that!!! he is the keeper of the cake recipe and my most gifted in the kitchen offspring!

#67 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 11:03 PM

It looks delicious!!!! I can't believe I have to wait a year to try it. Then again, I guess I just have to wait till my fruit is ready, it doesn't have to be Christmas. Maybe I'll have it ready in time for Easter. Might be a bit heavy for that time of year but I'll do it anyways. :)
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#68 Kris

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 04:03 PM

For the last several years, I've been making and selling black cakes at Christmas time.

In March, I ground up pounds and pounds of fruit along with the rum and port wine mixture. Then I added them to a bucket where I've had a batch of fruit going since Christmas 2005.

I make 7" size round black cakes, which weigh in at 2 1/2 lbs. each. It is my most popular Christmas season item and it seems that I can't get away without making it, since my co-workers, friends & family begin asking for it months ahead of time.

I use commercial "burnt sugar" for the browning. Basically it's black colored liquid caramel in a jar. I can get 8 ounce jars easily at Waldbaum's supermarket in my neighborhood for $1.99. One year I tried making the burnt sugar from scratch and it was a bust. I don't like the burned taste that the homemade sugar gives the cake and the color just isn't dark enough for my taste.

I see that for many of you, making this cake is a labor of love. It is a rather delicious cake that I'm glad to be able to make for myself and for friends and family who enjoy it.

I find it puzzling that some of you state that you couldn't imagine putting a price on the cake and selling it. Since I have the demand for it, I'm able to sell these standard 7" sizes for $30 each. I'm not looking to make a killing off them, but I figure that my time and ingredients are worth something - especially since they're basically selling themselves these days (I have a loyal & steady group who want to buy them every year).

Edited by Kris, 07 November 2007 - 04:06 PM.


#69 gfron1

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 10:03 PM

I was honored to get some of hummingbirdkiss' black cake this year. I've never had it before so I didn't know what to expect. The closest comparison that I read in this thread was fruitcake, but this is no fruitcake. To me its closer to a rum cake (a very heavily soaked rum cake) with fruit. When the package arrived I smelled the alcohol coming from the box, and the more I opened it (plastic wrap, cheese cloth) the odor became stronger.

I was also not expecting the level of moisture since my comparison point is a fruitcake. I'm not fruitcake expert, so my standard here is a dry texture with moisture (if that makes sense), but the black cake was almost like an underbaked brownie - but it was clearly fully baked with the rum causing the moisture.

Tonight I finally tried it. Following HBK's instructions, I let the slice air a bit before I tasted it. It wasn't as sweet as I was expecting, in fact the sweetness of the cake balanced so nicely with the astringency (if that's the right word) of the liqueur. The fruit added texture and some twang - especially what I assumed were apricots.

My mind is always thinking of how to manipulate flavors and textures, but with this, there was none of that - it seemed perfect just as it was. I know I'll never have the patience to do this myself, so I'm truly thankful for the offering. This was wonderful and a perfect treat for these cold nights in the mountains - thank you HBK!
Posted Image

#70 Bruiser

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 03:17 AM

this is the recipe i grew up on.


West Indian Fruit Cake



¼ lb. each: dried, Raisins, Currants, Cherries, Prunes, ground and soaked in equal parts of Gallo Port Wine and any dark rum (enough to cover).

Set aside and marinate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Then add:

1 tbl. each: almond extract, vanilla extract, mixed essence (extract)
...............................................................


1 lb. salted butter, room temperature

1 lb. sugar

1 dozen eggs, mixed

1 lb. cake flour

1 tsp. baking powder

....................................................................



Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs slowly, mixing with a mixer until light and fluffy. Sift cake flour and baking powder, fold into wet ingredients. Add fruits.



Prepare 10” round pan (you should have a little extra for a small pan too) with butter and flour. Pour in mixture. Bake at 325 or 350 (depending on how hot your oven is) for 30-45 minutes.



Mix together another ½ cup each of port wine and rum, mix together and pour over cake when it comes out of oven. This will help preserve the cake.



Note: This will be for a light colored fruitcake. If you want it dark, you have to purchase Burned Sugar coloring. You can get it in any local West Indian store.

.....................................................................................................

NOTE:

i soak cheesecloth in rum/port and then wrap the cake, and store it for three weeks, if I have the time.

#71 alanamoana

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 09:33 AM

Just a quick bump with an article from the New York Times today:

A Fruitcake Soaked in Tropical Sun

#72 JamericanDiva

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:34 PM

Ooooh, my! How could I have missed this topic? Actually, my avatar is a 2", 3" & 4" mini blackcake I did celebrating one of my earlier wedding anniversaries. I am the blackcake QUEEN!!!!!! I love it and feel it's a tradition that most people (West Indian) aren't passing down to their kids. I was taught by my mother-in-law (Background: I'm of Jamaican parentage, married to a Jamaican). She made me vow not to give away her recipe, so "MUM" is the word as I promised. I tweaked it to make it my own and as my husband himself has said, "The student has surpassed the teacher." If you remember way back when, I did a wedding cake demo... the 2nd cake which isn't demo-ed was a square blackcake. My blackcakes are a labor of love and include time and the finest ingredients. People began requesting my to make this (among other cakes) and you better believe it is more expensive than my yellow cakes. Most people request my fancy fondant covered cakes as they like them for special events. Let's put it this way, my 6" starts at $80 fully decorated. People happily pay it! I have two naked 6" blackcakes sitting on my stove as we speak. I should takes pics of them sitting in the tin and post them. The fruits have been soaking for years... at least 3, I'd say. It's actually time to make a new batch! LOL! I collect recipe books, especially, Soul/Southern cooking and Caribbean/West Indian. The closest I've come to my recipe is from "The Real Jerk" by Lily & Ed Pottinger. I too use commercial browning.

Here is the recipe from that book if anyone wants to give it a go. It's a great cookbook, actually.

Rum Cake (I associate Rum Cake with that yellow one and call mine Blackcake)

Cake:
1 cup port wine
1/4 cup white rum
1 lb butter
3/4 lb brown sugar
8 large eggs, well beaten
2 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp browning
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/4lb flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp lime zest

Fruits:
1 1/4lbs raisins
1/2 lb currants
1/2 lb pitted prunes
1/4 lb mixed fruits
1/2 cup white rum
3 cups port wine

For fruit:
In a large saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients. Steam for 10 minutes to soften fruit. Cool. In a food processor, blend coarsely. Put into sterilized jars. Store in a cool place until ready to use.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325F. Combine port and rum and set aside. In a medium bowl, using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in vanilla, browning, and lime juice, and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and lime zest. Mix half the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add all the fruits, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Grease and line bottom of two 9" pans with was paper. Pour cake batter into tins and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool pans on a cake rack. Remove cakes. Pour port and rum mixture over each cake. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap, them foil. Keep stored in a cool place.

Once again, this is not my recipe... kinda the same, then not... like Hummingbirdkiss mentioned...

I would love to swap fruitcake samples with others... sounds fun, yet fattening! :wub: Next feat... get my mother's Potato Pudding recipe mastered to a science. "Them come from the school of 'nuh measure, jus' fling!'"

Edited by JamericanDiva, 19 December 2007 - 05:11 PM.

Diva

#73 JamericanDiva

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:38 PM

Look what I found... although their pics make the cake look a tad dry.
Give WE Our Blackcake!
Diva

#74 mache

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 12:28 PM

Did any of you see the New York Times article on Black Cake?

NY Times Black Cake Article

-- Mache

#75 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:11 AM

I am giving myself a bump here I really want to make black cake this year but am dealing with sadness/grief over it (sounds strange but true I am stuck over this cake this year)

help motivate me will you please? tell me you are making them and how they are turning out ..post pics maybe?

why is food so freaking emotional?

#76 Abra

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:31 AM

HBK, the cake is making you sad? I think I've missed something.

This thread just cheered me up, since we're looking at possibly having to leave France due to a recurrence of my husband's cancer, and this thread just reminded me that there would be at least one advantage to returning "home" and that's that I left a big jar of fruit soaking in the garage and might finally make black cake.

#77 chefsteban

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 11:20 AM

HBK, the cake is making you sad?  I think I've missed something.

This thread just cheered me up, since we're looking at possibly having to leave France due to a recurrence of my husband's cancer, and this thread just reminded me that there would be at least one advantage to returning "home" and that's that I left a big jar of fruit soaking in the garage and might finally make black cake.

View Post



I have been fortunate enough to have eaten Hummies black cake and I can say that it was awesome! It was a nice way to begin a weekend morning with an excellent French roast coffee. I still have a bottle of browning that I bought for the bird but have yet to ship to her......
"We do not stop playing because we grow old,
we grow old because we stop playing"

#78 gfron1

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 12:14 PM

Ditto - my mushed-in-the-mail cake was amazing. So here's your kick in the ass!

#79 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:04 AM

Abra I am so sorry about your husband, please accept my best wishes that he do well

I am grieving (and may very well be doing that for the rest of my life) the bad part about grief is there are so many freaking triggers, I knew the holidays would be bad ..but Jesus how bad I had no clue!

black cake is one of the triggers and I really want to get beyond it! and honor the momories with cooking these kinds of things, instead of feeling this pain I want some joy in the memories!!

..this magnificant young man adored my black cake.

food is my life and if I loose the motivation to cook I am not sure where I will be!
sorry to be such a bummer I am going to snap out of it I promise!!

Chef and Rob thanks so much your flattery helps for sure :)

maybe next weekend I can pull it together
thanks

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 23 November 2008 - 07:10 AM.


#80 cinnamonshops

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:08 PM

Reviving this topic yet again!

I didn't make my black cakes in time for the holidays, but figured a little mid-winter pick-me-up wouldn't be a bad idea anyway.

A couple of questions on baking times though --
1. I wasn't sure why some recipes in this thread (and others I've seen) call for baking times of 2 or 3 hours, while some say 45 minutes to an hour? There also seem to be slight differences in temperature, but I'm not sure if they're quite enough to explain the time discrepancies.

2. If I want to bake some of the black cakes in much smaller pans (say 5 or 6" diameter), does anyone have an estimate on what the baking time might be for those?

Excited about this! This is a terrific thread.

#81 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:20 PM

wow no one answered your question I am so sorry! ...the timing on the cakes has to do not only with the temp but the type of cake you want ..some are low and slow kind of give you a steamed cake (if you cover it with foil it turns out like a plum pudding ...and some are a little more cake like

I am happy to say ...I am going to make a cake this week

I have it "in" me again ..thanks GFRON1, ABRA LINDACAKES CHEF...ALL OF YOU!!! who made this thread a really nice one..I am so glad I looked back!

things have changed places and people change ...

I am not myself yet but much much better ..acceptence is finding its way back into my life ...

my black cake this year has several advantages ..the first being emotions and desire to do making the best cake ever!!! ...second the age and quality of my fruits ...the rough edges are gone and they are so mellow and wonderful
third I have a very good source for the best of while spices and my own fresh ginger :)


I have a plan and it begins this week

anyone else thinking of starting fruits now?

I will be back when I see my black cake lovin friends again :)

GFRON1 make one :)

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 26 August 2009 - 08:25 PM.


#82 Darienne

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 04:37 PM

I have just finished reading the entire thread. Wow! Wonderful! If only...if only...

I just found the posting by Lindacakes on the current Artisanal Gift thread last night and thought to myself...I've had Black Cake once at Christmas at a Bajan Christmas dinner and loved it. (We brought a French Canadian Tortiere made by my DH, his Christmas specialty.) I could make a Black Cake. :rolleyes:

Our daughter's boyfriend is from Grenada and is an incredible cook. I thought what a wonderful surprise for him. So I bought the fruit, ground it up, and it's macerating in rum and wine and NOW I find out that I am too late to make it for this year. :sad:

I told my daughter last night that I was making it for Derek. What do I do now? Give him a promissory note?

Where are the other Black Cake persons?

Edited by Darienne, 07 October 2009 - 04:38 PM.

Darienne


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#83 Darienne

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:09 PM

Keeping my promise to Lindacakes, Black Cake maker extraordinaire, today I was finally able to buy Mixed Essence and Burnt Sugar Caramel from a Caribbean market in Toronto. All steps are now in place. Unfortunately I started the entire project too late...but that's life. I'll make it anyway. :wink:
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#84 Darienne

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 05:36 PM

Three posts in a row. Sorry.

I have a question for the experienced.

The crushed fruit has been sitting in rum and wine for one month. It was too late to start, I know that now. Would it be better to leave the fruit for another month and make the cake at the last minute? Or make the cake now and let it sit for until Christmas? Or what should I do? I really need some help on this. Thanks. :huh:
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#85 heidih

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:39 PM

I would make the cake with the "not so tipsy" fruit now, and then soak it a bit for the time before you serve it.

#86 Darienne

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 07:37 AM

OK. One for 'make the cake now'. Thanks, Heidi :smile:
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#87 phoenikia

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:12 PM

I was making Guyanese Black Cake today, and the recipe sets out a method for making your own browning or burnt sugar, by melting brown sugar over moderate heat, then boiling for 1 minute.

It seemed to take a long time to get to the melting stage, then the brown sugar was a beautiful caramel colour, but it still wasn't boiling. After a few minutes, it finally started to boil, and I waited a minute. Suddenly, the melted sugar on the sides of my saucepan started to burn, and even as I removed the saucepan from the heat, the sugar at the bottom of the pan started to darken. I poured the sugar into my rum-soaked fruit, and I realized that my most of my sugar had reached the hard crack candy stage, and some of it was at the hard thread stage as I stirred the mixture. Hard crack chunks of burnt sugar amongst my rum soaked fruit. I removed the bigger chunks of sugar that I could find, and crushed them, and added them back to the fruit. Not sure if the sugar was too burnt, and if this will result in a burnt tasting cake, but after soaking fruit for about a week, I decided I'd rather just go through with it, and see how it turns out.

Has anyone made a black cake recipe that involves stirring the burnt sugar (rather than a burnt sugar syrup) into the fruit? And has anyone had any experience with accidently stirring in hard-crack stage burnt sugar into the mix?

Edited by phoenikia, 28 December 2009 - 01:34 PM.


#88 Darienne

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

No advice to give to you but hope that others can help you.

The promise I made to those who had already made Black Cake was not to try to make the burnt sugar syrup but to buy it...which I did. I can now see what can go wrong. :sad:

My Black Cake never got made...this Christmas did not turn as out we had planned...but I do have the loveliest rum-macerated fruit sitting waiting for me along with commercially purchased burnt syrup and mixed essence. Soon, I hope.

All best to you, Phoenikia
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#89 ncorrigbl

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:29 PM

I have a huge gallon jar of fruit that has been soaking for about two years in Wray and Nephew overproof rum and red sweet table wine. When I make the cakes, my recipe usually yields about six eight inch cakes. I was wondering how to cut the proportions so as to get one or two cakes and leave the rest of the fruit to soak. Is there any recipe that calls for a specific amt of soaked fruit by weight or volume? Thanks for any help, I am hoping to make it soon for a post Holiday bash.
Thanks
Heather

#90 phoenikia

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:38 PM

Thanks Darienne! Will let you know how it turns out. The batter tasted pretty good once I added the other ingredients, so I'm hoping that's a sign that the end result will taste pretty good. I hope there won't be any noticeably burnt tasting or crispy bits in the cake when I pull it out of the oven in 3 hours!





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