Chocolate Christmas Cake

Chocolate Christmas Cake

This is the perfect cut-and-come again cake for any time of the year. It lasts for ages, but has the squidgy fabulousness of something so much less serviceable-sounding. Don't worry too much about the list of ingredients, its a very simple plonk in a bowl cake. The only complicated part is to wrap the tin in brown paper.

NGREDIENTS

Makes: about 10 slices

  • 350 grams prunes

  • 250 grams raisins

  • 125 grams currants

  • 50 grams piece candied orange peel (if you don't have, just omit)

  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter

  • 175 grams dark brown muscovado sugar (i often reduce this to about 125g and its not a problem)

  • 175 millilitres runny honey

  • 125 millilitres Frangelico (you can use Tia Maria or a coffee liqueur but i prefer the hazelnut kick)

  • 2 - 3 oranges (juice and zest)

  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa (I use dutch cocoa)

  • 50 grams of 80Noir Ultra

  • 3 large eggs (beaten)

  • 150 grams plain flour

  • 75 grams ground almonds

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/150°C/130°C Fan/300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm / 8-inch round, 9cm / 3½ inch deep, loose-bottomed cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. You can use a loaf tin if you prefer, but if you want a "Real Christmas Cake Vibe" use the round tins.

  2. Tricky Section: The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin. Cut out two circles of paper, and two very long rectangles that will fit along the sides of the tin coming up from it like a top hat. Before you put the rectangular cut-out paper in, fold one long side in of both pieces, as if turning up a hem of about 2cm / 1 inch, and then take some scissors and snip into this hem, at intervals of about 2cm / 1 inch – as if you were making a rough frill. Grease the tin, lay one circle on the bottom and get one of your long pieces, then fit with the frilly edge along the bottom, which you press down to sit flat on the circle to hold it in place. Press the paper well into the sides, and repeat with the second piece.

  3. Place the second circle of paper on the bottom of the tin, but on top of the two pressed-down frilly edges, which will also help to hold the pieces around the edge in place. Finally, wrap the tin with brown parcel paper, again making it higher than the sides, and tie it in place with kitchen twine.

  4. Put the fruit, butter, sugar, runny honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, spice, chocolate and cocoa into a large wide saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter and chocolate melts. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes to cool a little.

  5. Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, to combine.

  6. Pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.

  7. Put the cake on a cooling rack. It will hold its heat and take a while to cool, but once it has, unmould it from the tin and, if you don’t want to eat it immediately (and like any fruit cake it has a very long life), wrap it in baking parchment and then in foil and place in a tin.

  8. Serve with custard if you like, if you are Northern we tend to eat with cheese, or if you want to go the whole hog, pour over 80Noir Ultra dark chocolate sauce and enjoy every delicious mouthful! It is Christmas after all.

I wouldn't recommend having this everyday but it is a lovely cake to make for a celebration and have on an afternoon, embracing the full hygge lifestyle this is a delicious cake to make with friends and family helping out with stirring or getting them to do the paper wrapping! Enjoy every moment and savour the time it takes and aromas it gives off. Your house will be a haven for relaxation and happiness, now thats what Christmas is about.