Chocolate Christmas Fruit Cake

Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe this is a classic fruit cake with a slight chocolate twist. Classically associated with Christmas in England but this should not deter you from making it anytime of the year.

Dense, rich, moist and a wonderful with a glass of something sweet or even a cup of tea or coffee.

Serves10-12 Origin Europe
Preparation 5-10mins+ 30mins cooling time Heat rating (Mild)
Cooking 2-2 ½hrs Ease (Easy)
Vegetarian Yes

Ingredients

¼ tsp, finely crushed Allspice
1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4tsp Ground Ginger
1/4tsp, grated Whole Nutmeg
350g dried, soft prunes, chopped
250g raisins
125g currants or dried cranberries
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g dark muscovado sugar
175ml honey
125ml rum
2 oranges, juice and zest only
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
3 free-range eggs, beaten
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm, 9cm deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of baking parchment. When lining the tin with the parchment, cut into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it is easier to use two shorter strips of parchment, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.

Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, rum, orange juice and zest, spices and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.

Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake, the cake should still be a little uncooked in the middle.

Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.

To decorate:
Suggestions, place chocolate-covered coffee beans in the centre of the cake and arrange the gold stars around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Then sprinkle some gold balls over the whole of the cake. Sprinkle the edible glitter over the top of the cake. Very Festive

Or, for a more classic taste roll out and cut out marizipan stars, or any shapes you prefer, and dust over with a little icing sugar. Let it snow!

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