TORTA NEGRA (COLOMBIAN BLACK CAKE) RECIPE

Prep time - 20 mins (plus one week to soak the fruit) | Cook time -  1 hour | Serves 8-10
This recipe has elements of the traditional Christmas cake; not only in its basic execution but also in its longevity, spice factor and dense fruit content. Thanks to the spices, rum and caramel it’s also distinctly grounded in South American flavours.

Ingredients

170 grams (1 cup) pitted prunes
170 grams (1 cup) raisins 170g (1 cup) figs in syrup (drain off syrup)
250 ml (1 cup) dark rum 225g butter
220 grams (1 cup) Sugars of the World Colombian Panela Sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
225 grams (1½ cups) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons dulce de leche caramel
To serve - extra figs and caramel

Method

1.    One week before making this cake, soak the prunes, raisins and figs in the rum and leave, covered, at room temperature till needed.

2.    Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced) and grease and line a 24cm cake tin with baking paper. 

3.    Tip the rum-soaked fruit (and any extra rum too) into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste. 

4.    Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices and set aside.

5.    Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and panela sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the flour mixture, pureed fruit and caramel and gently fold until you have a smooth batter. Spoon this into your prepared cake tin and bake until cake feels firm to touch and is pulling away from the sides, about 1 hour. 

6.    Remove from oven and let cool in the tin for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once cool, either serve immediately with extra caramel and figs or wrap tightly and keep for one to two weeks.