Food - Drink
Emily Dickinson's Famous Black Cake
Emily Dickinson’s poetry only gained worldwide acclaim after her death, but she was fairly well-known for making candies and baked goods while she was alive. Dickinson was a woman of many talents, and recipes she used to make food to send to loved ones still hold up today, especially her recipe for "black cake."
The Washington Post reports that the dried fruit filling for this cake consists of raisins, currants, apricots, prunes, pears, pitted dates, and brandy. This filling is folded into a batter made with 13 eggs, cinnamon, cloves, ground mace, fresh nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, vanilla, and burnt molasses, the last of which gives the cake its dark color.
The finished cake weighed 20 pounds total, and needed to be soaked in liquor for at least a month before eating. This black cake tastes fruity, moist, and subtly boozy and bitter, and was meant to be baked for the holiday season; the recipe was preserved because Dickinson shared it with a close confidant, Nellie Sweetser, in 1883.