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hummingbirdkiss

Black Cake and Browning

100 posts in this topic

Linda I am with you I love when black cake is mentioned any place!!!

Alan I can not wait to hear about your cake! ...my cakes do not taste boozy at all they are very mellow ..very moist and nearly perfect...each year I think .."this is the one the best of the best" and each year they taste better that the year before!..I think because I always add some of last years fruit to this years fruit batch that kind of "mothers" it along!!

black cake ..yummmmm!!!!

I do not really believe there is a "recipe" for this cake..I think it is an art and very personal adventure! good black cake tastes like you want it to..not like it is "supposed" to...


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I've got about 2 lbs of fruit (golden raisins, blueberries, currants and dried plums) macerating in dark rum and 10 year old port (because that's was the oldest I could find at Trader Joe's). I'm going to invest small and see how it goes. I just had to try making black cake after hearing about the "pudding-like" quality. I also ordered one of those "free" miniature black cakes from rumcake.com, but I tried that last year and never received one.

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I am having some of the fruits on top of chocolate ice cream for dessert tonight!!!

I feel part of making a superior black cake is to do a quality control check of the soaking fruits on a regular basis

:smile:


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Time for me to bump this because of a lovely lady I have comercial browning on hand.thank you thank you !!!!....home made browning made brown cakes not black cakes .they tasted great but the color sucked..and yes color is important. ..I just need to find a CD I can listen to I am kind of holding out for the new Santana cd... am going to make my frist for Thanksgiving black cakes in the next couple of weeks ....I just tasted them and my fruits are seconds from "there"

the moon and the weather feels right!!

anyone joining me?


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I love this thread and I so wish I'd started fruit earlier this year. As it is, I think I'll start working on fruit for next year so I'll be ready. I've never tried one but wondered about them ever since I saw one on betterbaking.com. That recipe doesn't say anything about aging the fruit so I'm sure it's not the same. I've printed your recipe Hummingbird and can hardly wait to try it.

edited to add: I was just looking over your recipe and noticed that it calls for "the browning". If I'm adding purchased browning, how much should I add? I've never used it before.


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I love this thread and I so wish I'd started fruit earlier this year. As it is, I think I'll start working on fruit for next year so I'll be ready. I've never tried one but wondered about them ever since I saw one on betterbaking.com. That recipe doesn't say anything about aging the fruit so I'm sure it's not the same. I've printed your recipe Hummingbird and can hardly wait to try it.

edited to add: I was just looking over your recipe and noticed that it calls for "the browning". If I'm adding purchased browning, how much should I add? I've never used it before.

that is a good question I never know until I mix it up and make it how much to put in ...I will measure and be careful to document the results this time ..

I tend to start with 1/4 cup however then look at the batter when it is really dark I stop

I am glad you love this thread me too ..I love this cake and then entire process of making it!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I'm so looking forward to watching how this develops. When we moved to France a month ago I left a jar of my soaking fruits with Chefpeon, a true pastry chef, so she could make Black Cake while I'm away. The rest I left to soak for another year, which is also cool, so long as it doesn't explode all over the garage!

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Glory my mouth is watering.

Umm, I too want to start now for next year.

Y'know just in my cake designing Vulcan mind-meld type radar, if I do this I feel I see at least a black cake groom's cake in my future if not a small wedding cake.

How would you price something like this? And if you do give an idea please give a reference number. Like for example--wedding cake in my area starts at $4.00 a serving for fondant and a black cake would be X amount. Or tell where you are from or something. Or how much they are in the Caribean (isn't there a double letter in that word?) Ccaribean. :biggrin:

No sugar on the fruit and kind of any kind? Is there another restriction on the fruit? Just plain no preservative fruit? Doesn't some of it come unsulphured?

I bet I eat it all before I ever bake the first cake. :raz: I'm sucha sugar junkie.

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I dont know how you can put a price on black cake ..seriously I can not imagine because of the work and thought involved and with me they are not exactly the same every year and that is a bonus ..but if you want to sell them I guess they need to be.....it is common practice for people to make them in the islands and they take orders and sell them there and there are always the special people who do the best cakes that you just HAVE to have for your wedding!!!

here in the States I have seen them online for sale so you could look there and see what they are going for..although tempted to see what a commercial one would taste like I have an aversion to mail ordering a black cake ..because of the tradition and history of it in my life it is a labor of love and I love to make them and share them ...although I make a lot of them at one time and mail them out to everyone so the quality I am sure would be fine for whatever they sent

Thursday is my day off and is going to be black cake day ...I need some new pans I want to do more mini ones for gifts this year so I need to find some tiny round cake pans ...I dont want to go into a Mart store but I am imagining that is what I will have to do in order to get what I need

so is anyone else making any for Christmas this year?

I will post the process this time ..my spring batch came out too light as I mentioned the browning just did not cut it from scratch

and I did not know how to post pics then either ..so this time I will take pics for sure

I just noticed in my recipe above I forgot to add a couple of tsps of allspice ..how can I make a Caribbean recipe with out allspice??? duh!!!! (Host's Note: At Hummingbirdkiss' permission, I have edited her original recipe to include the allspice. You can find that recipe HERE.)


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I knew it would seem commercial and jaded to ask about pricing just from the passion of your posts. Shoulda disclaimered that when I asked. But being a specialty cake baker I just feel it in my bones, that if I successfully concoct this brew and before I can nibble it away to the bottom of the barrel, someone will ask me about a black cake. It's like cosmic or something y'know? I mean like they'd be talking about a friend who is lamenting that they are far from home and they can't get the cake they want and blablabla. Then I'll disclaimer to them that this is my first time and they won't care and then I'll have to price it and it will be astronomical and ... we'll see. If you bake/brew/soak it they will come type of thing.

Maybe the cosmic forces will be kind and let me get the call after the first batch :biggrin: When you (have a chance to) blow it at least once you learn so much.

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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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!gallery_51681_4569_43641.jpg

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

gallery_51681_4569_22238.jpg

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

gallery_51681_4569_40955.jpg

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!

gallery_51681_4569_37335.jpg

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!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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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.

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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.

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!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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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

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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 (log)

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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!

gallery_41282_4652_30742.jpg

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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.

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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 (log)

Diva

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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?


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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