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hummingbirdkiss

Black Cake and Browning

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Wow, I went a bit overboard with the fruit! After I dumped pineapple, apples, peaches, apricots, pears, cherries, raisins, prunes, and some dried berries plus a handful of good citron into my jar, one bottle of port and one of rum didn't begin to cover it all.

gallery_16307_2558_60465.jpg

This provided an excellent opportunity to dump all the odds and ends from my liquour cabinet into the jar. It's amazing how many little bits of port, brandy, and even some Triple Sec the fruit jar was able to handle. But only hours later the fruit is already popping up as it absorbs the booze. Do you think I need to keep it totally submerged, or should I just stir it from time to time?


Edited by Abra (log)

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Abra that looks perfect!!! just keep adding to it ..I usually make two of those jars and keep adding fruits and booze until they are crammed packed!

the fruits taste good over ice cream later as well I think I mentioned?

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Here's the thing, my recipe calls for 4 pounds 12 ounces of dried fruit. I'd like to marinate the whole batch together insted of lots of jars (I'm tripling the recipe this year) How much soaked fruit do you guys use per recipe?

Also will you post your recipes? Please?

I'm so psyched. I ordered from Economy candy this year, and will be picking my browning from klustians..yipee!

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Here's the thing, my recipe calls for 4 pounds 12 ounces of dried fruit. I'd like to marinate the whole batch together insted of lots of jars (I'm tripling the recipe this year) How much soaked fruit do you guys use per recipe?

Also will you post your recipes? Please?

I'm so psyched. I ordered from Economy candy this year, and will be picking my browning from klustians..yipee!

I will absolutey post my recipe for you but I have to sit and think about it first so I can make it as accurate as possible ...I am in the midst of a heavy work week so early next week I will ...(hold me to it please I am exhausted!)

I do use rosewater in mine and have not seen that in any published recipe ..it is absolutely a must for me other than that other things should be simple to find ...

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Oh good, I'm looking forward to the recipe too. Will you be able to express the fruit in soaked weight? I have no idea what it all weighed before immersion. And since I love rosewater, that's definitely going in mine.

Emma, when you get your browning, please tell us whether it's just caramel syrup that we could be making ourselves, or some secret elixir.

I'm really stoked about this too. Next weekend I'm making cassoulet with duck confit that I put up last November, so having the fruit on the opposite cycle makes life seem more balanced.

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Abra-

I have a little browning left over from last year, the jar list caramel coloring as the only ingredient. I tasted it and it's only faintly sweet and very, very dark...it stained my tongue! Anyhow, from what I've heard it's the same thing people use to dye pumpernickel bread.

I guess I could weigh all the fruit post soak and divide it by three, but, my scale is dinky and that would be a production.

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Is anyone adding any dried tropical fruits to the mix aside from pineapple, such as mango or papaya? Also, I have seen the words "dried berries." What berries have people tried? Cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, currants?

Finally, in an effort to learn about how the cake has traditionally been made, what countries have been most traditionally active in making this type of cake? Would Trinidad be the main one?

I found this:

http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/RECIPES/RECI...dblackcake.html

It includes figs and mentions "carmelizing sugar," which I assume is the browning.

Here is a similar one with some nice photos at the bottom of the recipe and a little conversation below that about whether to puree the fruit or leave it in chunks:

http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/trinidad-black-cake/

Black cake is also listed in the Wiki listing for Trinidad. All of this leads me to ask if anyone has come across this book before:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...KX0DER&v=glance

As I was looking at various travel books for Trinidad a while back, I stumbled across it. It seems that quite a few people have reviewed it favorably.

Hopefully I haven't watered down the thread with my millions of questions.

Best,

Alan


Edited by A Patric (log)

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I used unsweetened mangos, peaches, apricots, cherries, raisens, pineapples, 3 kinds of dried cherries...any fruits are fine that you like ..figs come out kind of gross texturally but ground up are fine I have used those and dates in past mixes ... I have not seen dried papaya that was not sweetened

I did not weigh the fruits but I could since I always use the same amt ..I keep two gallong jars going as I mentioned and then spilt the one remaining and refill both jars ..so the mother jar keeps going .....I used that entire gallon jar I had shown you above then ground them out in the juice

my homemade browning came out perfectly fine and it was very easy to do ...I have made pumpernickle bread ages ago and it is the same kind of browning

these are always very popular for weddings as well ...

another thing I do is grind all my own spices ...you can not beat that ...

half cake flour and half AP

ok this weekend I will sit down and write it out ...

it is as I said ..kind of like the family meatloaf recipe!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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I am so excited in the interest in this cake ..I love talking about it!!...where I live there is only one other friend of mine that makes it !

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Do you ever add nuts? I can imagine adding some ground up nuts of some sort, maybe pistachios, for flavor and texture.

I have only found one reference to nuts in black cake online here:

http://oletalk.tripod.com/kitchen.html

It doesn't mention what type of nuts, but says that not everyone likes the cake with nuts in it.

Any thoughts?

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The berries I added were a packaged mix from Trader Joe's. I think it was strawberries, blueberries, and cherries, which of course are not berries.

As to the fruit measurement, maybe someone can give the volume measurement of ground soaked fruit in their recipe?

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The berries I added were a packaged mix from Trader Joe's.  I think it was strawberries, blueberries, and cherries, which of course are not berries. 

As to the fruit measurement, maybe someone can give the volume measurement of ground soaked fruit in their recipe?

I'll do it (in a few months, when the fruit is soaked)

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Oh, I just noticed that one of the recipes that I linked to above includes chopped almonds, so that answers my nut question.

Well, I just started my own fruit tonight. One bottle of Port (26 oz), one of spiced rum (26 oz), two tsp freshly ground cinnamon (the good light-brown mexican kind, not the hard dark stuff), 1 tsp freshly ground cloves, and 1 tsp lemon essence. I used four pounds of dried fruits including: cherries, mangoes, prunes, raisins, golden raisins, and pineapple. It is all sitting in a nice big glass jar on the counter until I can be sure that the fruit won't expand too much, and then into the liquor cabinet it'll go for a few months.

I noticed that of the three recipes I linked to above, they are all pretty much the same with the exception of one item. One of them calls for 1 tsp of baking powder, while the others call for 4 tsp. Considering that otherwise the recipes are pretty much identical, that is kind of odd. I did notice that the one with less baking powder starts at a higher temp before dropping to 250 F like the others. Perhaps this makes a difference.

I seem to recall Shirley Corriher talking about insane amounts of baking powder being added to recipes at times and how to spot when something just isn't right. I'll have to re-read that section. I'll also be interested to see how much baking powder Hummingbirdkiss's recipe calls for.

It'd be nice if we could get a few more people making the cake to compare results.

Lindacakes:

When you age your cake, do you wrap it in foil? a rum-soaked cloth? something else entirely?

Also, do you age it in the pantry, or the fridge?

Thanks for the tips!

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Well according to Shirley Corriher's notes on leavening in Cookwise, it seems that 4 tsp of baking powder is more in the range of what we are looking for than 1 tsp. This seems to especially be the case due to the fact that there is so much heavy chopped fruit in the cake.

I'd still be interested to see what amount the experts in this thread add to their recipes.

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I never use nuts I did one year and they did not add anything to the complexity of the flavors in this cake and the texture was not right either ..it was disapointing ..one year I soaked my fruits with some coconut rum I had on hand ..that was kind of nice but not traditional at all ..not for me anyway ...Ok I have to think this out and write it down now

my cake right now is at its peak of flavor I made it 3 weeks ago for Easter but last night a taste of the last cake and for sure 3 weeks age is the best!!!! for me anyway ...

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this is it and it is not exact you can mix and match to make your cake unique mine changes every year!!!

6 lbs of dried mixed unsweetened fruit (more or less)

1 cup of lemon/lime/orange rinds (you can add these along the way when you eat a fruit just grate the rind first and toss it in your fruit mix)

1 3 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced

1 bottle of dark rum

1 pint of brandy (fruit brandies are good for this like apricot or cherry)

1 bottle of port wine

you want enough fruits and booze to fill a gallon jar you can mix and match any fruits you like my usual from Trader joes or similar is to use dried pineapple, peaches, cherries, raisins, apricots

soak fruits for 3-6 months

(If you plan to make this cake again and you will I hope it is really best to double this and make 2 huge jars then you can use one jar to make the cakes and split the second jar to make two more ..the older the "mother fruit" gets the better your cakes get ...it is heritage food!)

when ready to make the cake take out and grind the fruits in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped the amount came out to a gallon of chopped fruit since the fruit was chopped with the liquid and was already soaked up ..the volume of the chopped vs whole fruit did not change much at all

Browning

2 cups of brown sugar in a heavy bottom skillet carefully blacken the brown sugar until just before burned when the sugar is black remove it from the heat and add 1/2 cup hot water slowly stirring until mixed well

set aside

cake prep ingredients

dry sift together

6 cups of flour (half and half cake flour and AP flour)

5 tsp of baking powder

1 tbl salt

1 tbl fresh ground ginger

1 tble fresh ground cinnamon

1 tsp fresh ground cardamom

1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp all spice

cream together well

1 lb of unsalted butter softened

4 cups brown sugar

2 tble good vanilla

2 tble rosewater

1 dozen large eggs

the browning

in a giant bowl mix the wet and the dry then add the fruits ..in the end I dive in with my hands and mix it all together well you should have a nice thick mix of cake batter that can be poured into pans that are greased and lined with parchment on the bottoms

I prep four cheese cake pans

and one cake mold

bake in a 250F oven for about 3 hours until a toothpick comes out clean ...let cool in the pan wrapped in for at least a day wrapped then remove the cakes wrap them in rum soaked cheese cloth then plastic wrap then foil then put in a ziploc bag and leave for a 3 weeks

enjoy!

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Thanks, HBK! I'm going to add the ginger and citrus rind to my jar now. I have no idea how much stuff is in there so far - that jar is at least 2 gallons, I think, but it's only half full.

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I have just recently eaten a very good black cake made by a Caribbean student, and although I don't think anything can compare to having made it for years and years (Since she was 3 years old, and she's in college now), this recipe sounds close.

What size is a cheesecake pan? And is a cake mold one of those pudding-type bucket molds? Can I use bundt pans?

Thanks and I hope to start soaking my fruit soon.

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What size is a cheesecake pan?

12 inch

And is a cake mold one of those pudding-type bucket molds?

I have a couple of old small English pudding molds I use and I have steamed these cakes as well but it was easier and it did not make much of a dif I baked it so that is what I do most times

Can I use bundt pans?

Yes if you grease it well and can line the bottom with parchment ...any cake pan will do actually..you can even use a loaf cake pan ..I have also made mini black cakes as gifts by making them in large muffin tins then wrapped them well and gave them away like that as part of a gift basket

I am not sure if it was mentioned before but I have also served black cake with hard sauce and that was very good ..but alone with coffee or topped with heavy whipped cream are my favorite ways of serving it ...I had some with coffee yesterday morning and did mot get much done after that :smile:

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Hi all,

Anyone get their cakes going yet? I'll be making mine today after almost 3 months of macerating the fruit. Then, I'll be aging them until early August until I have some family over to visit.

Best,

Alan

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Arrrgggh, I have about $200 worth of black cake fruit and liquor going, and now we`re going to live in France for a year and I won`t be able to make it. I`m going to give my started fruits to Chefpeon, and we`ll all watch to see what she does with it.

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Arrrgggh, I have about $200 worth of black cake fruit and liquor going, and now we`re going to live in France for a year and I won`t be able to make it.  I`m going to give my started fruits to Chefpeon, and we`ll all watch to see what she does with it.

That's too bad. I'm sure that Chefpeon will have luck with it though. Mine turned out great. The recipe I used is basically one that I posted a link to above but with a few changes:

http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/trinidad-black-cake/

I added fresh ginger and more spices, and added them to the fruit mixture, and not the cake batter, I added one extra lb of fruit and didn't add any almond extract, but didn't really change much else. It ended up being about the following proportions:

1 lb flour

1 lb butter

1 lb eggs

1 lb brown sugar

1 batch of browning (1 lb brown sugar and 1/2 cup boiling water + 1 T butter)

4 tsp. baking powder

4 lbs dried fruits + cinnamon, cloves and fresh ginger with alcohol to cover (topping it off as they absorbed more)- 1 1/2 cups saved to start my next batch. I used dark rum and port

2 tsp lemon essence

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp lime rind

I combined everything in the order suggested in the above recipe (i.e., cream the butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, add dry ingredients, add wet ingredients). However, I didn't process the fruit to a paste, I only processed the fruit until it was in in smaller pieces, but still had some texture. Of course some pieces were smaller than others. The fruit I used was the following (everything dried):

pineapple

mango

prunes

golden raisins

raisins

cherries

apricots

The batter was extremely liquid due to all of the alcohol, and it filled 11", 10", and 8" springform pans until just about 3" tall or maybe a bit more. I layered the pans with parchment paper and didn't grease anything.

I baked at 250 F for 3 hours on the dot and the knife came out clean. The cakes, however, still seemed VERY jiggly, so I was a bit worried, even though I tested all three cakes a few times, and they had pulled away from the sides of the pans. Not to worry, after cooling, they weren't jiggly at all. They have a dense and thick pudding quality to them, but can definitely be sliced. I soaked all three with good rum, and will wrap 2 out of the 3 and age them for a few weeks. The third, and smallest, I'm sad to say, will not make it to the aging process, because it is too good, and I wouldn't be able to stand the wait!

Anyway, I'll be wrapping them in rum-drenched cheese cloth, then plastic wrap, then foil, then throwing them in a ziplock, like Humingbirdkiss recommended.

I'll post after the aging process to tell you all how the flavor has changed.

Best,

Alan

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Hee hee. I love when this topic gets resurrected.

My fruit's been going since May, I don't intend to bake until September.

Right now I'm candying cherries for my fruitcakes -- this year I'll be starting my fruit AT CHRISTMAS! So that it will be a year-long process. I like the poetry of that.

The candied cherries are a real pleasure, take only about fifteen minutes a day for a couple of weeks and yield fabulous deep red delicious cherries.

Very difficult to keep from eating them all now.

I've copied all these recipes and I might change my recipe a bit.

To answer a question above, I use ground pecans in my cake. You don't taste the pecan flavor, but I'm sure it adds to the overall effect.

Also, regarding the aging of the cake -- I don't soak mine in alcohol. I wrap in plastic and then foil and leave it be. I personally don't like a really boozy cake, I want the taste of the alcohol to subside.

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