(Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Christmas Cake)
Need a fruit cake for Christmas but forgot to soak your fruits, then this the perfect cake recipe for you. It lasts for weeks, it dense, fruity, luscious, damp, it has everything you would hope for in a good Christmas cake. I have made this cake every Christmas. However, I have sometimes replaced the currants with dried soft deseeded dates and the texture is absolutely amazing.
350g dried deseeded soft prunes, chopped
125g currants / deseeded dried soft dates
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g dark brown sugar
125ml coffee liquor or strong coffee
2 oranges, juice and zest only
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
3 beaten eggs
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
In a large saucepan, add the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange zest and juice, mixed spice and cocoa. On a medium heat bring the mixture to a gentle boil and stirring gently till the butter melts and it is homogenous. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Then leave to stand for 30 minutes away from the heat.
Take a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round cake tin and line it with parchment/baking paper, make sure that the parchment paper at the sides of the cake tin is twice as high as it will protect the cake from burning.
Tip: You can also coat the tin with a butter and then add a thin layer flour if you are using a shaped cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas mark 2
After 30 minutes, the fruit mixture will have cooled a bit and slightly thickened. Now add beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon until the ingredients are all well combined.
Carefully pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tins. Put it in the preheated oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, it should look shiny and sticky. If you inset a cake tester it will be a little underdone in the middle.
Keep the cake on a cooling rack. The cake will take a while to cool, once it is cool remove it from the cake it and if not eating immediately then wrap in a baking paper and then a tin foil and store it in an airtight container in a cool place.
Tip: If you need a boozy cake then you can also feed the cake with spiced Rum/Brandy. Just carefully unwrap the tin foil and parchment paper, poke small holes into the cake using a toothpick and with a help of a spoon pour your alcohol of choice gently into the holes, wait till the cake has absorbed the alcohol and then wrap it again with baking paper and tin foil and place it in an airtight container in a cool place. Repeat it once a week.
Merry Christmas to all!!!!