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Baking Amid ‘Caps Popping’: Sheriff Normand Starring in (Spiced Chocolate) Fruit Cake

The Big Easy comes with a certain amount of home-spun drama that seems locally sourced and without end. This week road rage and ego-driven childish behavior senselessly claimed the life of local football hero Joe McKnight. The all too familiar scene of crime on the streets of New Orleans. A sad loss for everyone and as a community were are still trying to wrap our collective heads around the tragedy.

The unrest in the ‘Easiest of Bigs’ is so high right now. Our community leaders are crumbling under the pressure and the citizens are peacefully protesting themselves into a frenzy of misunderstanding and discontent.

During times of stress, we all need calm reassurances – it’s what makes us human. When Sheriff Normand took live to the air during the news conference this week, he did just the opposite. He lost his shit in a very public foul-mouthed rant that surprised even moi.  His behavior reminded me how under stress you can either crumble or you can be calm despite your fear. Inspired by a man who failed to find his composure, a blog on one of the shittiest (IMO) vintage food recipes on the holiday menu…the dreaded fruit cake. In this case, the Spiced Chocolate Fruit Cake Creole recipe from 1947’s The Gold Cook Book by Louis P. De Gouy.  Just when you thought chocolate could make ANYTHING better, this recipe is here to dash your hopes forever. Cheers to keeping your shit together during these Happy Holidays!

Spiced Chocolate Fruit Cake Creole

5 c. cake flour (sifted)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Sift all above ingredients together three times, yes THREE times, a little trust here

Add to the dry mixture in a large mixing bowl:

3 pounds raisins (finely chopped), 3 pounds of currants, 1 pound finely chopped pitted dates, 1 pound thinly sliced citron, 1 tablespoon grated orange grind, 1 1/2 teaspoons of grated lemon rind, then sift over this mixture 1 cup of flour mixture, tossing well to coat the fruit in the flour.

Now add 1 pound of soft butter to 1 pound of brown sugar until fluffy in texture, to this add 12 beaten eggs, 4 squares of melted unsweetened chocolate and mix well. Slowly stir in 1 cup molasses mixture (1 cup tart jelly, 3/4 cup orange juice, & 3 tablespoons lemon juice) and then gradually add in the flour mixture mixing well and then add the flour coated fruit.

Turn the mixture into 2 greased and floured 8 1/2″ loaf pans. Bake low and slow at 250 degrees until done, between 4-5 hours.

“When cold, wrap in wax paper and store in a covered container. Chocolate fruit cake mellows quickly and keeps well for at least 6-7 weeks, if kept in a cool, dry dark place. This cake may be set aflame just before serving”. -Louis P. DeGouy, The Gold Cook Book

I repeat, set aflame just before serving…believe it;)

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