Events: Emily Dickinson’s Birthday Bash!

You are invited to celebrate Emily Dickinson’s birthday on Thursday, December 10th, at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.  The event starts at 6pm, and is free!

It’s a particularly special night for me because it is the premiere of Emily: Her True Self, a short film I’m working on with artist Flash Rosenberg and the Lower East Side Girls Club.

And like any good birthday party, there will be CAKE!  Emily Dickinson’s “Black Cake,” a fruitcake recipe found amongst the poet’s papers.  I’m not baking it, but I will be there eating it.

Read more about the event here.  And if you can’t make it down to the Bowery for a night of poetry and premieres, then celebrate at home with a slice of Miss Dickinson’s cake.  It’s a traditional fruitcake, so it’s perfect for the holidays.  A recipe adapted for modern kitchens is printed below; try as I might, I couldn’t track down a copy of Dickinson’s original recipe online (although if anyone out there attends Harvard, you could get your hands on a copy).

Like any good fruitcake, you should let it sit in the back of your fridge for about a month before serving.  And don’t forget the 179 birthday candles.

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Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake
From Emily Dickinson: Profile of the Poet as a Cook by the Guides at the Dickinson Homestead.
As reprinted on Down the Rabbit Hole

2 cups sugar
1/2 lb. butter
5 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp clove
1 tsp mace
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/4-1/2 cup brandy
1 lb. raisins
2/3 cup currants
2/3 lb. citron (buy citron here)
Directions:
Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the oven.  Preheat oven to 225 F. Add sugar gradually to butter;  blend until light and creamy.   Add unbeaten eggs and molasses.  Beat well. Re-sift flour with soda and spices. If you’re using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp salt. Beat sifted ingredients into mixture, alternately adding brandy. Stir in raisins, currants, and citron.
Pour batter into two loaf pans lined with waxed paper. Bake at 225F for 3 hours.  Remove pan of water for last 1/2 hour. Let loaves cool before removing from pans. Remove paper and wrap in fresh paper.

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