Trying to make a (Caribbean) fruit cake in Canada

Unless you are from the Caribbean or have been there during the Christmas time, you don’t really understand the hype with fruit cake. It also goes by black cake, Caribbean fruit cake and rum cake. And within each Caribbean island it slightly differs with the way someone does it but a few things stay the same:

  • its black/dark
  • it has fruit
  • it has alcohol

Growing up my mom always baked it before Christmas with me to the side looking. I was trying to help but I don’t know if I was actually any help. When she left, buying one did not feel the same. And one day, I decided I wanted to try it. Through trial and error, I figured how to make my fruit cake and people enjoyed it which led me to baking on Christmas eve. It became my thing, and I had to ensure that everyone got a piece – granduncle, cousin’s family, another cousin, a family friend, another cousin, a piece for my mom in Canada. You get the point right. So the past few years, I baked about 4 cakes with 2 of them being shared.

I guess I did 5 cakes last year

Fun fact: I don’t like fruit cake. I am a sucker for chocolate but because everyone else seems to love it, I made it for them. I loved seeing others happy.

So with me not spending my Christmas in the Caribbean this year, my mom convinced me to bake the cake here in Canada. And let me just tell you, it has been a journey. I am one of those people that don’t measure out the ingredients and instead just eye ball everything and hope for the best. Also I never had the fanciest equipment, and just made use with whatever I had. It might seem like a chance to not be following directions, but its worked out for me all these years, so why change it. Also since I baked 4 cakes, I always just used the entire pack of sugar or eggs or butter you know. But I also think, with everyone having their own recipe, the measurements will differ.

Trying to bake a fruit cake with my mother was interesting because its the first time I did it here in Canada, which meant that there was a lot of bickering[ how much sugar do we add, how much baking powder, should we blend the fruit]. I usually do it on my own, but this time she is there and wants to help. I kind of have my own way of doing and kind of don’t want to change it for someone. And also because the cake coloring and rum I am used to wasn’t available in Canada (or maybe it is and I just don’t know what store) I was scared it wasn’t going to come out the same way that I am used to. There was a slight technical difficulty with the two of us (more her) trying to burn sugar because the coloring we used kind of made the batter bitter while we were trying to get it darker. It probably makes no sense to anyone who’s has never done it or tasted it before.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think it came out good. Hopefully others feel the same.

Some funny memories from baking at my grandparents:

  • when I first started baking, my grandfather complained that my cake is not good enough and it does not rise. So he ordered one from someone. It was Christmas even when he brought it home and I was making mine later that night. Turns out he did not like the one he bought, and instead preferred mine, to the point where he did not eat him but ate mine instead.
  • Christmas eve 2017 I was baking, while my grandfather had a friend or 2 over (the good old days). I put the cake into the oven and asked my grandmother to check on it while I went to straighten my hair (because I was obsessed with the straight haired look. I come back into the kitchen to see my grandfather’s friend cutting one of the cakes. I’m standing behind them trying my best not to laugh, my grandmother is pissed (imagine smoke coming from her ears) and my grandfather’s friend is walking away with a piece of cake. I did not even know if it came out good.

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A quirky, possibly crazy 22 year old talking about her life and doggie.

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