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You are here > RECIPES :: Cookbook Recipes :: Caribbean Christmas Cake

Caribbean Christmas Cake

This is from Levi Roots' new book, Caribbean food Made Easy. You need to let the fruit soak for days, says Levi. 'This is quite dark in colour and also called black cake, because it used to be made with burnt sugar'.

Serves Makes 1 cake


250g (9oz) currants
250g (9oz) raisins
150g (5 and 1/2 oz) no-soak pitted prunes,
115g (4oz) cut mixed peel
300ml (1/2 pint) dark rum, plus 4 tbsp extra for soaking the cake
250g (9oz) softened butter, plus extra for greasing
200g (7oz) dark soft brown sugar
5 free range eggs, lightly beaten
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
50g (1 and 3/4 oz) blanched almonds, roughly chopped (leave lots of big chunks)
1 and 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp dark rum
20-24 no-soak pitted prunes
16-20 no-soak stoned apricots
16-24 glace cherries, coloured if liked
9-12 no-soak dried figs
50g blanched almonds

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1. Put the dried fruit and mixed peel in a saucepan and cover with rum. Bring to the boil, stir, then immediately turn off the heat. Cover and
leave the fruit to macerate in the rum either overnight or up to 2 days, stirring from time to time.

2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 25cm (lOm) round cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale, then beat in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour after each addition until smooth and creamy. Beat in the remaining flour. Stir in the almonds, spice and vanilla extract followed by the fruit. Mix well adding a couple of spoonfuls of rum if the mixture is too stiff - it should easily fall off the back of the spoon but should not be too runny.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, cover loosely with foil  and bake for about 2 hours. Remove the foil 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. While the cake is still warm, make holes all over it with a skewer and pour over the 4 tbsp rum. Leave to cool in the tin overnight, then turn the cake out, Decorate and serve immediately, or wrap in foil and keep for up to 1 week before decorating.

5. To decorate, heat the apricot jam and rum until they are mixed together, then brush some of this glaze on to the surface of the cake. Arrange the topping on the cake, either in circles or rows. Brush the fruit very generously with the  rest of the glaze, so that the top is shiny. Leave to cool and store in a tin in a dark place. Eat within a week.

From Levi Roots book, Caribbean food Made Easy published by Octopus Books.  Available in all good Irish bookshops and from booksellers online.

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