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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Black cake

"Black Cake", as Julia Moskin points out in today's NYT, is not at all the same as the Christmas "fruit cake" that is the butt of so many bad gift exchange jokes.

This year I made our family's version of this and you'll be seeing it in some future holiday posts. Right now it's aging, wrapped in unphotogenic brandy-soaked cheesecloth, not yet ready for its close-up. The "fruits" involved are dark raisins ("seed, seed, seed", read the ancient instructions), currants, and citron, and the liquids, measured in "gills", are brandy, sherry, and molasses. And eighteen eggs. It's rich, dark, moist, utterly delicious. Simple, too. It's really just the quantities that are a little mindboggling. And the math. And having to weigh everything. I usually make 1/3 of a recipe (1/3 of a gill, anyone?) which makes two large bread-loaf sized loaves. Sliced thin, as it properly should be, this amount goes a long way.

The Times describes a Caribbean version. Ours, I had always assumed, came down from the German side of the family. But it's practically identical to the English recipe that Emily Dickinson made and served in the one-woman play, "The Belle of Amherst". Whatever its origin, it's very very good. We'll have our first taste on Christmas Eve.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please! Give your Black Cake recipe.
I want to try it.

Same Age Woman

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You haven't posted in over a month. Hope you're not ill. If you're quitting, please let us know so that we don't keep looking for you. Enjoyed your blog while it lasted.

11:09 PM  

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