Emily Dickinson's Black Cake Recipe
Adapted From Emily Dickinson: Profile of the Poet as a Cook by the Guides at the Dickinson Homestead and my Gran.
2 cups sugar
1/2 lb. butter Do not use unsalted butter.
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp clove
1 tsp mace
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/4-1/2 cup brandy
1 lb. raisins
2/3 cup currants
2/3 lb. citron
1/2 lb glace cherries whole (red)
Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the oven.(The pan must always have water in it because the cake needs the moisture it sucks it right up during baking. Preheat oven to 225 F. Add sugar gradually to butter; blend until light and creamy. Add unbeaten eggs and molasses. Beat well. Sift flour with soda and spices. Beat sifted ingredients into mixture, alternately adding brandy. Stir in raisins, currants,cherries and citron.
Pour batter into two loaf pans lined with waxed paper. Bake at 225F for 3 hours. Remove pan of water for last 1/2 hour. Let loaves cool before removing from pans. Remove paper and wrap in fresh parchment paper. We spritz more brandy on the cake before taping up the paper wrap. This is to be stored in a tin in a very cool place for a month. My Gran kept hers under her attic stairs, I keep mine in the fridge =o) (You can eat it sooner but the month really makes the cake) I like to cut rounds and serve in our Tartan Mary Paper Liners and use the extra in a steamed pudding recipe to half with bread bits.