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Patagonian Black Welsh Cake - Torta Negra Galesa

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Patagonian Black Welsh Cake - Torta Negra Galesa

Patagonian torta galesa cake is a fruitcake with an interesting history. When a group of Welsh settlers arrived in the Chubut river region of Patagonia in the late 18th century, they were hard pressed for food and supplies. The women pooled their meager pantry ingredients (nuts, candied fruit, molasses, spices, alcohol), and came up with this recipe for a fruitcake reminiscent of home, one that would also keep well for months. As they settled in and prospered, this recipe remained a favorite, and is still served today in the Welsh teahouses in that region.

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 13 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, or a mix of all three
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied fruit peel (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped marischino cherries (optional)
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preparation:

  1. Roughly chop the nuts. Soak the nuts, raisins, and candied fruit in the rum overnight. Drain the nuts and fruit and reserve the rum.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Cream the butter with the brown sugar.

  4. Gradually beat in the five egg yolks, molasses, and honey.

  5. Sift the flour with the cinnamon, pie spice, and baking powder and add to the batter, alternating with the reserved rum. Stir in nuts, raisins, and fruit.

  6. In a separate, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites gently into the batter.

  7. Pour the batter into a 9 x 5 inch bread pan, or into a 10 inch diameter by 2 inch cake pan.

  8. Bake for 45 minutes, then check cake. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. If the cake is not done, return to the oven and check every 10 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.

  9. To make the icing, place 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Icing should be slightly runny.

  10. Drizzle icing over top of cake, and decorate with raisins and nuts.

Note: This cake will keep for days in the refrigerator, well wrapped with plastic wrap, and the taste improves with time.

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