Black cake (virgin islands)

Yield: 24 servings

Measure Ingredient


1 lb Raisins; minced 4¼ c Flour, cake 1 lb Prunes, pitted; minced 4 ts Baking powder 1 lb Currants, dried; minced ½ ts Nutmeg, grated 1 lb Cherries, glaced; minced ½ ts Cinnamon 6 oz Lemon peel, glaced; minced 2 c Butter, sweet; softened 6 oz Orange peel, glaced; minced 10 lg Egg ¾ l Passover wine (Manischewitz) 1 tb Vanilla ¾ l Rum, dark 1 ½ c Almond paste; if desired 2 lb Sugar, dark brown 2 lb Sugar, confectioners; sifted 2 tb Lemon juice 6 lg Egg white; room temp Drages; for decoration This cake is certainly dark; it's described as closer to black than brown in color. It is served at Christmas in the Virgin Islands, as well as at special occasions such as weddings. In a large bowl, mix all the fruits thoroughly with the wine and the rum; let the fruit macerate, covered, at room temperature for at least two weeks. In a heavy skillet combine one pound of the brown sugar and 1 cup water.

Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and gently boil the syrup, swirling the skillet occasionally, for a few minutes, or until it is reduced to 1 ¾ cups. Let the syrup cool; reserve. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together into a bowl. In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream together the remaining brown sugar and the butter until it is fluffy; then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, the flour mixture, and 1 ⅓ cups of the burnt sugar syrup, reserving the remaining syrup for another use. In another large bowl, combine well the flour mixture and the fruit mixture and divide the batter between two buttered and floured 10" springform pans. Bake the cakes in the middle of a preheated 350 F. oven for two hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with some crumbs adhering to it.

(The centers of these cakes will be quite moist.) Let the cakes cool in the pans on a rack, remove the sides and bottoms of the pans, and wrap the cakes in foil or wax paper. Let the cakes stand at room temperature for a week. Roll out half the almond paste between sheets of plastic wrap to form a 10" round and remove the top sheet of plastic wrap. Fit the almond paste layer over one cake, trimming the edge if necessary, and remove the other sheet of plastic wrap. Roll out and fit the remaining almond paste onto the remaining cake in the same manner. ICING: Using an electric mixer, beat 4 cups of the confectioners' sugar with the egg whites and lemon juice until the mixture will hold a soft peak. Beat in the remaining sugar, and beat the icing until it will hold a stiff peak. Transfer two cups of the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip, spread the remaining icing on the tops and sides of the cakes with a long metal spatula, and pipe the icing in the pastry bag decoratively onto the cakes. Arrange the drages on the cakes. Makes two cakes. FROM Laurie Colwin Gourmet magazine, November 1988 VIA Sam Waring Submitted By PAD GAJAJIVA On 12-04-94

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