Fruitcake-it's a tradition here in Trinidad and Tobago, and this is the time to start thinking about your Christmas kitchens and your fruitcakes. Lots of us have recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation, and each of us with our own version of the best fruitcake ever. Some may prefer a light fruitcake with no alcohol.
Others may prefer a dense, moist, dark fruitcake, redolent with the sherry and rum in which the fruits were soaked in for almost one year (hence the name Black Cake). Or some may choose a cake heavy with lots of candied fruits and no alcohol or browning agents. Whatever your desire this Christmas here are some favourites for you to broaden your repertoire with.
OLD FASHIONED FRUITCAKE
• 3 3/4 cups mixed candied peel
• 1/2 cups raisins
• 2 cups currants
• 2 cups pecans or walnuts chopped and toasted
• 1 cup each red and green glace cherries, halved
• 1/2 cup dark rum
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp allspice
• Pinch salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 tbs molasses
• 2 tsp vanilla
Line two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans or 2 nine-inch round cake tins with brown paper twice, grease the last layer and flour.
In a large bowl combine mixed peel, currants, raisins and cherries. Pour on rum and let soak overnight. Toss with 1/2-cup flour.
Preheat oven to 250F.
Combine the rest of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and baking powder.
With an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Add vanilla and molasses.
Fold in flour mixture.
Fold in fruit mixture and nuts.
Turn batter into prepared pans and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until a tester comes out clean.
Cool in tins. You may pour an additional 2 tbs of brandy or rum over cakes after baking.
• Makes 2 cakes
LIGHT CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE
This light fruitcake is delicious and is sure to be enjoyed by kids and grownups alike!
• 1 cup butter or margarine
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/2 cup candied cherries, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup mixed peel
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, (optional)
• 2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease, line and flour a nine inch round pan.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about five minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well between additions.
Fold in flour and fruits. Pour batter into nine inch round pan.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Cool.
BEST EVER CHRISTMAS CAKE
• 1 lb raisins
• 1/2 lb currants
• 1/2 lb sultanas
• 1/2 lb prunes
• 1/2 lb chopped walnuts
• 1/4 lb mixed peel
• 1/4 b cherries
• 1 2/3 cups dark rum
• 1 2/3 cups cherry brandy
• 1 lb butter or margarine
• 1 lb all purpose flour
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1 lb brown sugar
• 6 eggs
• 1 tsp Cinnamon and allspice, mixed
• 2 tsp mixed essence
Seed and cut up fruits, except cherries into about 1/4-inch pieces.
Combine rum and cherry brandy and add fruits to mixture. Allow to soak overnight or up to one week.
Preheat oven to 300F.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour and baking powder, cinnamon and allspice.
Add drained fruits to butter and sugar mixture.
Add cut up cherries and nuts.
Fold flour into fruits and margarine mixture.
Add mixed essence, mix well.
Grease and line two nine-inch cake pans with waxed paper, grease and flour paper.
Spoon cake batter equally into prepared baking pans.
Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Pour additional rum or brandy over cake when baked.
Cool in pans before removing.
Makes two nine inch round cakes.