December 19, 2011

Bolo Pretu - Caribbean Black "Christmas" Cake

Bolo Pretu - a moist and dense, labor intensive cake, made for very special occasions in the Caribbean
Last week a couple of friends had us over for dinner, which we scarfed down like starving hyenas, and a little bit of dessert.  One of these said friends happens to be a native of Curacao (for the geographically uniformed, it's a small island off the northern coast of Venezuela) and was toting along what she called Bolo Pretu or Black Cake.  This a popular cake around this time of year all across the Caribbean and it makes appearances at other special occasions.  Black Cake is deeply flavorful and emanating alcohol at every bite.  Essentially, dried fruit is soaked in various liquors for up to a year, and it is then combined with nuts, flour, sweet and savory spices, and the ingredient responsible for the namesake, burnt sugar syrup.  Once the batter is formed, the cake is baked for a couple of hours, only to be brushed with more liquor after it has cooled.  The final product is nutty, plumby. subtly sweet, mildly savory, and a little buzz-inducing.     

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