Recipe Detail RE: Amount of Flour

In checking out this black cake recipe, I found an almost identical recipe in NYT Cooking. The notable difference is the amount of flour. The recipe here calls for 2 Cups while the NYT recipe calls for 4 cups. Given everything, I am inclined to believe that the recipe should be 4 cups. Am I correct? Thanks!!

  • Posted by: Thom
  • April 28, 2022
Black Cake
Recipe question for: Black Cake


HalfPint May 2, 2022
2 cups is correct. This is her mother's recipe and it is more inline with the Caribbean style of black cake. My Guyanese friend said that this is a dense and boozy fruitcake, so not that much flour. I have seen similar ratio of flour to fruit from other Caribbean authors for black cake.
AntoniaJames April 28, 2022
I did a quick cross-check of my favorite recipe for "Jamaican Black Cake," in "Visions of Sugarplums," by Mimi Sheraton (was a NYTimes food editor way back when they had only one or two, and you got four or five recipes each Wednesday, and that was it). Her ratio of flour to soaked fruit is midway between the two options discussed here. I see a lot more eggs, and more butter in this recipe, however. Either way, I see that a number of people have commented in the recipe that it turned out well. The recipe is test kitchen approved, and appears to have been baked by Food52 (though i cannot be certain about that), so I would go with the recipe as written. I probably would halve the recipe if I had any lingering doubts, however, as the quantity of dried fruits, etc., and their cost might suggest putting less at risk on the first go-round. ;o)
drbabs April 28, 2022
Wow. I looked at both recipes, and it’s shocking how similar they are. As you pointed out, the only big difference is the amount of flour. I remembered that Laurie Colwin also wrote about Black Cake in her wonderful book Home Cooking. Like The NY Times recipe, she, too, uses a pound of flour (actually a pound plus 1/4 cup). She uses a dozen eggs rather than 10 as well. There are comments on the recipe that indicate that it works as written, but I’d be inclined to go with four cups of flour. To confuse you further, David Lebovitz has also written about Black Cake, and it looks like he scaled back the recipe. Here is his version.
Nancy April 28, 2022
The recipe here (food52) makes 3 cakes/layers, and has most ingredients scaled up with - for example about 5 lb of dried fruit and sugar. But only 2 cups flour. Doesn't sound right.
Other reliable sites (food network, all recipes) have recipes to make 2 cakes/layers using 2 cups flower.
Think out how many layers you want to make, compare a few recipes, and decide on your scale.
Nancy April 28, 2022
On further thought, maybe the smaller amount of flour is deliberate and meant to make a denser cake.
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