If there is one thing I can not stand it is false advertising. There are many recipes for Black cake online and most of them are not very good. You have to be careful when trying these out. You will usually just end up with a fruit cake. It won't be an authentic Jamaican black cake.
You should see how these cakes look. The cakes that are pictured are sunken in the middle, dry, bread like and crusty all around it. Why is the black cake 4 different shades but not one of them black? You know where the cake is falling apart and there are big chunks of bitter peel laced through it or stems and pits from the uncleaned fruit. If you don't know what I mean, I have five examples (there are hundreds more online) of these terrible misrepresentations right here. This way you know what I am talking about.
Bad Black cake Ex. #1 : Sloppy Cake, inexperienced baker, inconsistent in appearance, resulting in a bad recipe for others to attempt.
Bad Black Cake Ex. #2 : Dry and unappealing. Makes my throat itch just looking at it. Then the multiple color scheme (none of which are black). Some one needs to give this cake a glass of water.
Bad Black cake ex. # 3 This looks like a regular fruit cake but they call it a Jamaican black cake. Please don't attribute this cake to Jamaica. Looks dry as well.
Bad Black Cake Ex. #4 This is sunken in, different shades of brown, dry looking and has cracks in it.Why would someone do this to black cake and have the nerve to sell it to people?
Bad black cake Ex. #5 : This cake just looks frightening to me. It's chunky in the wrong way, it's red orange, brown and black. Why?
I have never seen an authentic quality black cake that ever looked like this and that is because this is not a real Jamaican Black
On my site I encourage people to shop around and look and compare before they shell out their hard earned money for a mediocre black cake or rum cake( or even try to bake one themselves). I will be honest and say that there are some good looking cakes out there too. Don't ask me if they taste great, but they look like they could.
This is Chef Sweet T's check list for an Authentic Jamaican Black Cake: The correct fruits must be thoroughly cleaned and soaked in Jamaican Rum (light or dark)and Jamaican Red Wine for at least 6 months up to a year. Not three days or 3 weeks like some recipes claim. Some recipes call for Brandy, Port wine, Kosher wine, Puerto Rican rum or any kind of spiced rum with a lower proof. These are fine for fruit cake or rum cakes from other Caribbean islands. They are not correct for a genuine Jamaican black cake.
There should not be any nuts in a traditional black cake. there must be currants, cherries, raisins, plums and citrus peel and real citron fruit. Citron is not orange, lemon or lime peel. It it's own fruit that must be in the fruit mixture. it looks like a larger uglier lemon. The unique flavor from the citron is key to a properly flavored cake. Citron is hard to find thru out the year and it is very expensive. It must be in the cake.
The color of the cake should be an even colored black. The outside should be black and the inside should be black. A professional Jamaican black cake baker will know how to achieve this without compromising the flavor of the cake or making it bitter. It should not make a difference whether the cake is chunky or smooth in texture. The color should be even no matter what.
The consistency of the cake should not be overly cakey or too tight. Meaning the ratio of fruit mix and flour needs to be just right. Some bakers try to stretch the cake by adding way more flour and less fruit.
This will make the cake look less like a black cake and more like a fruit cake, rum cake or a regular chocolate cake. That is a trick that needs to be practiced to get right. Even the way you add the ingredients to the bowl will change to consistency, flavor and texture of the cake usually for the worst. This is a hard cake to master but an easy one to mess up. Which is why you should be very careful with whom you purchase your cake or who's recipe you find online to use. My Recipe can not be found any where online. It took me two years to create the perfect recipe thru trial and error. I am a perfectionist and would never sell or pass out an inferior or misleading product to anyone.
The cake should actually taste like alcohol. If rum and wine are being added properly the cake it should not look dry or fall apart when you slice it. The way the cake is cooked is also very important to ensuring the best moisture content. The alcohol added will help with moisture and flavor.
The cake should not crack on top when it is baking. That is a sign of a rookie mistake. Watch out for cracked cakes. A cracked cake is not always a result of over baking. Usually there is a step in the batter making process that causes that problem. An expert Black cake maker knows how to fix that.