Caribbean Christmas Cake

Uniquely dense pudding like texture, dark colour, decadent, rich and robust taste, the Caribbean Cake is a moist boozy dessert, very festive, delicious, and addictive. Its citrusy notes and flavours are just out of the world. 



We woke up to a frozen world last week. It snowed heavily for the second time in less than a month’s span. Everything around was a pristine white. The lawn, the fields, the plants all covered with delicate snow luscious and pure. Every season adds beauty to the landscape. While Spring and autumn do it with myriad hues and colours, snow does it with white and transforms everything magically. The orchard looked enchanting with the trees holding fluffy snow in their tender arms.




 There was snow on the roof, there was snow on the wall and the ground was a series of humps and mounds beneath which the wild bushes and jutting rocks lay hidden. A soothing silence very meditative and calming enveloped the world.



 When it is dangerously cold outside and  all you can do is watch the endless white vista from the chilled window, baking is one an option that is really healing and pleasurable. It is beautiful to sit around the warm oven watching your bake change shapes and size and giving out the lovely aroma.


With a lot of dry fruits left after baking an Eggless Fruit Cake, we decided to bake Caribbean Christmas Cake. The dry fruits for the cake were soaked in rum a week ahead. We also used a lot of homemade candied orange peels. When baking, my home was fragranced  with cake's citrusy notes


In Caribbean culture, Caribbean Christmas Cake is a must have at Christmas time. A cousin of the British Pudding, this decadent cake is made using rum-soaked fruits, eggs, butter, brown sugar, and other natural ingredients. As with all the recipes, there are slight variations across cultures, but the basic recipe and preparation are almost the same.


After baking, the cake is ‘wined’. The cake is brushed with wine for 2-3 days.  I used our homemade beet wine. You may use rum also. It is best to eat cake a day after baking. The cake will be dense and less sweet.
Recipe adapted from www.cupcaree.com

Caribbean Christmas Cake

Ingredients 

For rum-soaked fruit

  • 1 cup dark rum
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup chopped figs/prunes
  • ½ cup black currants/cranberries
  • ¼ cup candied citrus peels

Caramel

  • 4 tablespoons jaggery or sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

For the Cake Batter

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons demerara sugar/ brown sugar/unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1 cup  whole wheat flour/ all-purpose flour (if you prefer a lighter texture)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground  mixed spices (cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Soak all the dry fruits in rum for at least three days (or up to a month).
  2. To make the caramel, take jaggery or sugar in a thick bottom steel pan or a non-stick pan. Cook over medium heat. The jaggery/sugar will melt and will caramelize. Keep stirring till you get a dark caramel. Turn off the heat and add water. Stir till the caramel dissolves. Keep aside to cool.
  3. Blend the soaked dry fruit along with the soaking liquid until a thick but smooth consistency with a little chunkiness. Set aside.
  4. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and spice mix.
  6. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix well. Add zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
  7. Fold in the flour mix.  Stir in fruit puree and caramel. Mix well until all the ingredients are well incorporated into the batter. The batter will be thick.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 90 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Tent with a foil if the top is browning too fast.
  9. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack. Brush the top with two tablespoons rum.
  11. When the cake  cools completely, store in an airtight container for at least a day before eating.





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