John Lyons Trinidad Christmas Cake

• 225g (8oz) Sultanas
• 225g (8oz) Raisins
• 225g (8oz) Currants
• 1Bottle 750ml Dark Rum
• ¼ Bottle Cherry Brandy
• ¼ Bottle Port (optional)
• 225g (80z) Soft Brown Sugar
• 225g (8oz) Unsalted Butter plus extra for greasing
• 6 Free Range Eggs
• Peeled Rind 1 Lemon
• 225g (80z) Plain (all-purpose) Flour
• 1/3 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons Ground All Spice
• 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
• 1/3 teaspoon Sea Salt
• 2 teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda)
• 110g (4oz) Glace (candied) Cherries
• 1 tablespoon Browning
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
• 125ml (4 fluid oz) Molasses
Take a bowl of suitable size. Put the washed dried fruits to establish a heady relationship with three quarters of the bottle of rum and the cherry brandy. Go on add the port if you are dying to.
Be generous give them 3-6 months in a covered bowl to really get to know each other. However, if you’re in a hurry overnight will be fine.
Now for the browning put 2 ample tablespoons of the sugar into a saucepan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Heat the sugar, without stirring, until it becomes a bubbling caramel. Carefully add 150 ml of water and stir it to a dark brown liquid. Set aside to cool.
1. Now you can begin to make the cake in earnest. For a really celebratory atmosphere you can put on hot, hot
calypso music, then in a mixing bowl of suitable size cream the butter and the remaining sugar to a pale yellow,
which indicates that the sugar and butter have dissolved into a happy understanding.
2. At this early stage you could allow yourself a tiny shot of the remaining rum for the pleasure of the occasion.
In a bowl mix rhythmically the eggs and lemon rind to a frothy disposition. Remove and discard the lemon rind
and mix the frothy eggs a little at a time into the creamed butter and sugar mixture until it becomes smooth in
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour with the nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, salt and bicarbonate of soda –
baking soda. If you’re dancing at this point, restrain yourself! In sequential order a little at a time, gently
fold into the egg-butter-sugar mixture, the flour and spice mixture, the drunken fruit, the glace (candied)
cherries, the browning, vanilla and molasses. Combine it all well and enjoy the heady bouquet of this rum-sodden
4. Preheat the oven to 150 C (302 F) Grease a 23cm x 5cm (9x2inch) cake pan with butter and line the top and sides
with baking (parchment) paper. Turn up the music, shake ya body time. This is a satisfying point in the cooking
process. There before you is a cake mixture to die for. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 3 hours or until testing with a skewer results in a clean withdrawal.
5. Gently heat the remaining rum. When hot gently spoon it onto the still warm cake, it will happily soak in with
that great promise of transforming this Trinidad Christmas Cake as it matures wrapped in foil into an eating
experience you’ll never forget as long as you live

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