I’m still debating the name for this one. On one hand, “Original Sin” is easier to remember; on the other, everything sounds cooler when screamed angrily in German. In any case, it came to me last Christmas, after a spout of daft rage at the atrocity that the modern fruitcake has become. I’m pretty sure that they weren’t supposed to taste like hard candy soaked in rubbing alcohol. So the logical reaction? Improve it.
This has a much stronger flavor than more traditional fruitcakes, without sacrificing sweetness. You will need:
- 8 oz fresh blackberries
- 1 pkg frozen cherries
- 6-7 whole fresh figs
- ¼ c dark rum
- ½ c butter
- ¼ c packed dark brown sugar
- handful cocoa (to taste)
- 1 egg
- ½ c all-purpose flour
- ⅛ t baking soda
- ¼-½ t sea salt (to taste)
- ¼ t ground cinnamon
- ¼ c unsulphured molasses
- 3-4 T condensed milk
- 1-2 T milk
- ~¼ c crushed walnuts
- additional ¼ c dark rum
Best served with a little whipped cream and some sliced bosc pears.
This recipe takes commitment, it isn’t a quick fix. It shouldn’t take more than half an hour to prepare, and an hour to cook. For a proper fruit cake, you’ll want it to set in the rum for maybe two or three months, so have an additional recipe for brownies or something handy. (You don’t want everyone scarfing it down in an hour or two.) If not, allow it to cool with the final splash of rum for at least an hour. Additionally, the first step is to soak the fruit in the rum for about 24 hours.
Quarter the figs, and combine them in a bowl with the blackberries and the cherries. A note: avoid the kind that you find in a jar in an evil-looking red liquid, the suspiciously glowing “maraschino cherries”. Look, nothing in nature is that color, unless it’s extraordinarily poisonous. Go for frozen or fresh cherries, and don’t hesitate to use frozen berries if you need to, this is going to be sitting in rum for some time anyway. Add your first quarter cup of rum, seal the bowl (which might just mean putting seran wrap over it), and leave it at room temperature overnight.
Also note that the rum you choose will directly affect the flavor of the cake! I do not recommend anything too light, like Captain Morgan original, or anything too cheap. After a point I can hardly tell, I level off around Myers’ Dark Rum. You might do the same if your taste in alcohol parallels mine, or maybe something else if you consider yourself a connoisseur, or a hobo. In any case, definitely use a dark rum.
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Gradually add cocoa, egg, baking soda, flour, salt, and cinnamon; alternate with condensed milk, milk, and molasses. The material might stick to the beaters early on, don’t worry; after you add the liquid ingredients it will gradually shave itself off of them. Add walnuts, and stir in fruit mixture.
Grease a large baking pan (bundt preferable, I went and used my classic ceramics) and line with parchment paper or aluminum foil. The parchment paper (wax paper) is extremely important when inverting the cake without damaging it. Pour the batter into your baking pan and you’re ready to go. Bake 45-55 minutes.
After it’s out, let it cool to room temperature. Again, this isn’t the kind of recipe that you can rush. Once it is cool, run a butter knife along the edges to loosen the cake and invert it over a plastic container. Patiently allow it to slip out; you may be able to aid the process by flexing the edges of your bundt pan but for most of us it’s just a matter of giving it some time.
Pour that last splash of rum over it, seal it so that it’s airtight, and refrigerate. Refrigerate for quite a while; this is that two-three month part. If it’s in the fridge for more than three months, add another quarter cup of rum to preserve it. Enjoy at Christmas.