At first glance, this appears to be just another rich dark fruit cake, until one comes to the final stage of embalming, it within a crisp casing of thin icing, when it begins to bear some resemblance to the Black un of Scotland. What gives it its association with South America is the rum, nicely entrapped within the cake’s innermost recesses – the result is a cake which can be made well ahead of times of celebration and kept, in cool conditions, maturing for months. This is a recipe from the descendants of the Welsh emigrants who settled in Patagonia in the mid 18th century.
Patagonia Black Cake (Cacen Ddu Patagonia)Course: Recipe
10 ozs 275g butter
10 ozs 275g dark brown sugar
4 ozs 125g each raisins, currants, sultanas
8 ozs 225g mixed peel
4 ozs chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)
1 lb plain flour
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and mixed spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teasspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon bicarbpnate of soda mixed in 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon water
a small glass of rum
- For the casing;
6 ozs 175g icing sugar
3 tablespoons hot water, mixed as a thin, glace type icing.
- Grease and line an Sin cake tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar, adding the lightly whisked eggs a little at a time, beating well.
- Fold in the sieved flour and spices, the dried fruit and nuts.
- Pour the liquid with the two raising agents, together with the almond essence, on to the mixture and
- Add the rum.
- Bake on the middle shelf of a moderate oven (325°F, Gas 3, 170°C) for 3 to 3½ hours.
- For the casing;
- Brush all over the cake – top, sides and bottom – to completely encase it in a brittle sugar shell. This is easier to do while the cake is still warm.
This recipe appears in A Book of Welsh Country Cakes and Buns by Bobby Freeman which is published by Y Lolfa [ISBN 0862431387].