Pastry Chef Gregory Arrendell has been in the kitchen ever since he was young, learning from his mother and sister about cooking. His interest in baking led him to the Sacred Heart Baking School in Trinidad, paving his path to become Hyatt Trinidad’s pastry chef of more than five years. He now leads the department and brings more than 20 years of experience to the position, ensuring each pastry has a “wow factor”, especially during the holiday season.
“I would like to invite all to come to the Hyatt and experience the best desserts for the season as they were prepared with you in mind. I’d like to thank my Executive Chef, Chef Fernando Franco for believing in me and allowing me to continue to be creative. To my awesome team, thank you for your continuous support and dedication.” says Arrendell. Over the past five years, he has been able to develop Pastry Chefs from his department who have been successful at the prestigious Taste of the Caribbean competition held in Miami every year.
This season, black cake is the most popular item at the hotel as it is a traditional dish dating back to the 19th century in Trinidad and passed down for generations with minor changes throughout the years. The recipe below is one of the many variations used to create the popular cake:
1 lb. pitted prunes
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. currants
1 bottle cherry brandy
1 bottle rum and/or Bailey’s
2 tbsp. Angostura bitters
1/4 cup of chopped Almonds is optional
1 lb. brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling hot water
1 lb. unsalted butter
1 lb. sugar
8 whole eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
¼ cup browning
3 tbsp. Molasses
4 lbs. of grinded fruits
1 lb. all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
Have on Hand:
1 more bottle of rum (750ml)
Blend Fruit base together and grind with cherry brandy, rum and bitters until the mixture is consistent. Weigh out 4 pounds of mixture and set aside.
Place brown sugar in sauce pan and heat until sugar begins to caramelize and turn a golden brown color. When all the crystals are melted, carefully add boiling water while constantly stirring. Bring mixture back up to a boil before removing from heat. Allow to cool and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix cream butter and sugar until light in color (about 20mins).
Meanwhile sift all dry ingredients and set aside.
Add in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
Mix in browning and molasses along with the 4 lbs. of grinded fruit mixture.
Gently fold in dry ingredients until all the flour is incorporated.
Place mixture in lined baking pan or half sheet pan and bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until cake pulls from the sides of the pan.
When removing from oven, immediately pour rum or brandy onto cake to lock in the moistness.