Rum-soaked Fruits are the key ingredient in Black Cake, Christmas Cake and Great Cake, all names used to refer to that special cake that is made at Christmas time in the Caribbean. This cake is also made for weddings and Christenings. It is a deep, dark, dense cake that is more like a pudding than a cake.
Rum-soaked Fruits are dried fruits such as raisins, currants, prunes, cherries and sometimes citrus peel that is all blended along with some cane sugar and ground cinnamon with excellent dark rum, and left to cure for at least a year (12 months) before it is used to make the cake.
The blended Rum-soaked Fruits need to be cured for at least a year before making the cake because it has a direct impact on the texture and taste of the cake. The long maceration allows the rum to break down the fruits further and it allows the alcohol to mature, providing an even more aromatic and enticing aroma to the finished cake.
The long soaking also gives the cake its signature texture of being moist, dense and pudding like.
In addition to the dark rum, Port and or Sherry can be added to the mixture.
- The coarseness of the blended fruits is dependent on the taste of the household making the cake. Long before electric blenders and processors, people used their cleavers and knives to finely mince the fruits. Some made a course mince and others a fine mince.
- The best tool to make the blended fruits is the food processor as it allows for easy movement of the items in the bowl without clogging up the blades. If you opt to use a jug-blender, then add the rum first to the blender before adding the fruits, this way, the blades will move a little more freely.
- A food processor allows you to make large batches due to the width of the bowl, while a blender allows for smaller batches due to it cylindrical shape.
- Once blended with the rum, sugar and spice, to a thick moist paste, the mixture should be added to a glass jar and be fitted with an airtight cover and be placed on your counter top or in a pantry or cupboard and be left to cure.
Rum-soaked Fruits are good for many other preparations and not just for the West Indian Black Cake. It can be used to make the British Mince Patties; it can be added to bread puddings, sweet quick breads, sweet buns, pie fillings and any other preparations that you would like to have finely minced fruits.