This recipe is my interpretation of my Abuelita's "Sopa Borracha" (“drunk" soup)--a thin, dry cake soaked in rum and sherry, topped with raisins and prunes, and served at Christmastime. My version is gently sweet, spiced, and gemmed with citrus, cinnamon, and boozy-dried fruit. I think it's perfect for Christmas breakfast or tea, and would make a lovely hostess gift. —Cristina Sciarra
Raisin and Prune Syrup
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup prunes
1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup dry sherry
1 slice lemon peel
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the pan
Add the sugar and the water to a medium-sized pot and stir, so that the sugar dissolves into the water. Next, add the cinnamon stick, the raisins, the prunes, 1 cup of the rum, the sherry, and the lemon peel; stir.
Turn the range to medium, and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by a little more than 1/3. (You want the consistency to be runny enough to lightly penetrate and moisten the cake, but not so watery that it soaks the cake completely through.)
Take the syrup off the heat, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum. Allow the syrup to cool for 1 hour. (You can also make this syrup up to 2 days ahead; cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.)
Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round pan, or an 8 x 8-inch square pan.
Cream the butter together with both sugars for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar incorporates into the butter and fluffs up. Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to mix as you go.
Sift together the flour, the baking powder, the ground cinnamon, the nutmeg, and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until the batter just comes together. Add the rum, and mix to incorporate.
Spoon the batter into the greased pan, and move the pan into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Out of the oven, allow the cake to cool for 1 hour.
Move the cake to a plate. Pour the warm or room temperature syrup all over the top. Allow the cake to sit this way for about 10 minutes before enjoying.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.