Experience the Culture of the Islands in Your Wedding Cake

By Victorine Farrelly

St. Croix with its many wonders has yet another fascination to share with our visitors who are planning to begin their romantic life together here on this majestic island.

The black cake originated in England but was made slightly different and was called a Christmas cake, a Fruit cake and sometimes even a Rum cake. During the colonial days the recipe spread through the West Indies causing each island to customize their own version of the Black Cake.

Here in the Caribbean, this cake can be used for several different occasions, especially for Weddings, Christmas and New Years.  In some cultures the top of the wedding cake is given to the bride. After the Black Cake is baked it is again sprinkled with more rum, which serves as an additional preservative, it is expected to stay fresh for at the least three to six months.

In American Paradise (St. Croix) it is used especially for Weddings. It is part of our culture and is included in almost every wedding.  It can be either the main wedding cake or a separate cake. Sometimes the cake is cut into small pieces and given to the guests in little gift boxes during the wedding or as they are leaving.

At some weddings the Black Cake is not cut during the ceremony it is saved for another day when a party is kept at the bride’s home where family and close friends are invited as the wedding gifts are opened.

The exotic preparation of this spectacular cake is next to none, but it is simply delicious.

However, it is not easy to make.  There are many ways to make a Black Cake. Here is one recipe:

First, the fruits must be soaked in rum for four weeks to a year.

St. Croix Black Cake Recipe

Cooking time: 1 hr. & 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Fruit Mixture:
1 pound of raisins
1 pound of currents
1 pound of pitted prune
1/2 pound of glazed cherries
1/4 pound of mixed fruit peel
1 pound of ground mix fruit
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoons of mace
1/2 teaspoon of clove
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
1/8 teaspoon of ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 cup of molasses (add flavor will help give the cake that dark appearance)
3 cups of dark Cruzan Rum
2cups of brandy

Basing the Cake:
1 cup of dark Cruzan Rum
1/2 cup of brandy
1/2 cup of cherry

Cake:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1cup dark brown sugar
1 cup of butter softened
8 eggs
1 tablespoon of burnt sugar syrup
2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of burnt sugar syrup
1 cup of milk

MAKING THE FRUIT MIXTURE

Combine the fruits and the spices in a large saucepan and place the pan on a medium-high heat, mix well. Then turn off the heat and cover the pan and let cool for 3 to 4 hours.

Then pour the rum, brandy and sherry over the mixture and let it set by pouring it all into a wide brim glass jar and store it in a dark, dry, cool place for about four months before using.

This mixture can last for years as long as you keep adding rum, spices, and the other ingredients as needed, occasionally.

MAKING THE CAKE

Preheat the oven 350° for about 30 minutes.

Sift the flour, the allspice, mace, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.  Then place the butter, eggs and the sugar in a separate pan and bring to a creamy consistency.  Add the essence, along with the sifted flour.

At this point (for about 5 minutes) electric mixer is needed to bring this mixture nice and fluffy.

Next add about 6 cups of the fruit mix to the fluffy batter and beat this mixture well (or use a food processor) until the batter comes to a coarse paste.Then add the burnt sugar syrup  which is also used to bring
additional flavoring to the cake and at the same time adds to that dark rich appearance. Delectable! Delicious.

Pour the batter out into the well greased round or square baking pan and bake for one hour and thirty minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool for half an hour.  Brush or sprinkle the rum and cherry on the cakes and wrap in foil paper. Delectable….

The best part of making this Black Cake is when the Bride and her wedding party sit back and enjoy the nice smooth richness of our culture eating her Crucian Wedding Black Cake. Enjoy!

Article Contributors: Roselyn Galloway and Condon Joseph
Photos: Crucian Black Cake by Starfish Patisserie. All photos courtesy Denise Bennerson.

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