If you read our feature in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine, you already know that one of our Christmas traditions is to bake Jamaican rum cake also referred to as Jamaican Black cake. Today I am going to share a simple recipe, very similar to the one we use(via the NYT) in case you want to give it a go. Ideally the ingredients are combined and left to marinate for a month or more but soaking the ingredients for at least 3 days prior to baking is fine too.
2 cups mixed dried fruit (equal parts raisins, currants, prunes and dried cherries)
1 cup Guinness stout
¼ cup muscatel or fruit-flavored brandy
½ to ¾ cup dark West Indian rum (preferably Appleton, Old Oak or Cockspur)
6 ounces butter
½ cup sugar
2 large or 3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons burnt-sugar coloring (available at West Indian and some Latino markets)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
*Place the dried fruit in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with the Guinness stout, the muscatel or brandy and 1/4 cup of the rum. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 days (and up to several weeks -- the preferred method). Check the mixture every other day: if the fruit has soaked up all the liquor, add another splash of rum or stout and stir.
*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
*Grind the fruit mixture to a mushy pulp in a blender or food processor. Measure out 2 cups of the mixture and set aside.
*In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
*Add the vanilla, nutmeg and burnt-sugar coloring; mix well
*In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder
*Add, alternately, the fruit mixture and dry ingredients to the batter, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Do not beat.
*Pour the batter into a 9-by-1 1/2-inch deep round pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
*While the cake is still warm, splash the remaining 1/4 cup of rum over the top. Let cool. The finished cake is quite moist, almost like an English plum pudding. It is at its best when served a day or two after baking, and it will last for two weeks or more if kept in the refrigerator and occasionally topped up with rum.
To make the burnt-sugar coloring yourself, caramelize 1/4 cup sugar in a small, heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir to combine. You will have about 1/2 cup of the mixture, more than enough.