Recipe: Black Cake or Plum Cake

  • One pound of flour sifted.
  • One pound of fresh butter.
  • One pound of powdered white sugar.
  • Twelve eggs.
  • Two pounds of the best raisins.
  • Two pounds of currants.
  • Two table-spoonfuls of mixed spice, mace and cinnamon.
  • Two nutmegs powdered.
  • A large glass of wine
  • A large glass of brandy }mixed together.
  • Half a glass of rose-water
  • A pound of citron.

Pick the currants very clean, and wash them, draining them through a colander. Wipe them in a towel. Spread them out on a large dish, and set them near the fire, or in the hot sun, to dry, placing the dish in a slanting position. Having stoned the raisins, cut them in half, and, when all are done, sprinkle them well with sifted flour, to prevent their sinking to the bottom of the CAKE. When the currants are dry, sprinkle them also with flour.
Pound the spice, allowing twice as much cinnamon as mace. Sift it, and mix the mace, nutmeg, cinnamon together. Mix also the liquor and rose-water in a tumbler or cup. Cut the citron in slips. Sift the flour into a broad dish. Sift the sugar into a deep earthen pan, and cut the butter into it. Warm it near the fire, if the weather is too cold for it to mix easily. Stir the butter and sugar to a cream.

Beat the eggs as light as possible. Stir them into the butter and sugar, alternately with the flour. Stir very hard. Add gradually the spice and liquor. Stir the raisins and currants alternately into the mixture, taking care that they are well floured. Stir the whole as hard as possible, for ten minutes after the ingredients are in.

Cover the bottom and sides of a large tin or earthen pan, with sheets of white paper well buttered, and put into it some of the mixture. Then spread on it some of the citron, which must not be cut too small. Next put a layer of the mixture, and then a layer of citron, and so on till it is all in, having a layer of the mixture at the top.

This CAKE is always best baked in a baker’s oven, and will require four or five hours, in proportion to its thickness. [Footnote: After this CAKE is done, it will be the better for withdrawing the fire (if baked in an iron oven) and letting it stay in the oven all night, or till it gets quite cold.] Ice it the next day.