Black Cake
  • deep 23cm (9in) cake tin, lined
  • 250g soft unsalted butter
  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • the marinated fruit mixture
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 55g burnt sugar essence
  • OR
  • 225g burnt brown sugar if you're prepared to make it
  • OR
  • [125g black treacle (molasses)]
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (350f).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the fruit, rum and wine mixture.
  3. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon and then beat in the eggs.
  4. Stir in the flour and baking powder, and finally the burnt sugar essence [or treacle, if using]. The batter should be dark brown.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and cook for 1 hour, then turn the oven down to 170c (340f) and cook for a further 2 and a half to 3 hours.
  6. Remove to a wire rack but do not unmould till the cake's completely cold.
  7. Wrap it in a double-thickness of foil or waxed paper and let it sit until you're ready to ice it.
  8. Marzipan and ice as you would do with any Christmas/Fruit cake.