Image © Leigh-Ann Martin
“My Gramma Lou was a serious woman when it came to baking, particularly cakes made for the holidays. And every year, early in the Christmas season she started her preparations. Even though I am not using her recipe nor am I making anywhere near the quantity of black cakes that my Grams made, I know she’d be proud that I’m sticking to her tradition… or, that I picked up her trait of timeliness.” – Chef LAM, Gasparillo Junction
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more to grease the pans
2 cups brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Angostura Bitters
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground all-spice
1 cup browning
3 cups rum-soaked fruit paste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking powder and ground spices together in a medium bowl and set aside
Combine the 2 sticks of butter and dark brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on a medium to high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract, Angostura Bitters and browning, beating until well incorporated. Still on a low speed, add the fruit paste to the egg mixture.
By hand, using a spatula fold the flour into the batter. The colour of the batter should be a dark walnut. If the color looks medium walnut, stir in more browning as needed. Divide the batter among two buttered cake pans, filling them halfway to the top.
Bake for 1 hour or until a tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes, in their pans, to wire racks to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, baste them with rum every few minutes until completely cooled and/or they cannot absorb anymore rum.
When completely cooled, take the cakes out of the pans. The cakes are ready to serve, but will taste better if they sit for at least a few days.