Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chocolate Fruit Cake

We made this cake at Christmas and while the decoration isn't as traditional as I would have done normally it definately stole the show sitting on my kitchen bench.
We came accross this recipe watching an episode of Nigella Lawson's Christmas Special and from the minute she started preparing the ingredients Noel and I knew that it would be a hit in our house, especially with all the fruitcake loving relatives we have.
This cake is so much easier than the normally pain-stakingly slow boiled fruit cake and the flavours just burst in your mouth beginning with the first mouthful. A very moist texture with a strong but subtle chocolate after taste.
I couldn't save this recipe until the next festive season as it will be definately one I will be cooking throughout the year.

Chocolate Fruitcake
Recipe from Nigella Lawson
Serves: 12
350g/12¼oz dried soft prunes, chopped
250g/8¾oz raisins
125g/4½oz currants
175g/6¼oz unsalted butter, softened
175g/6¼oz dark muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
175ml/6¼fl oz honey
125ml/4½fl oz coffee liqueur (Tia Maria)
2 oranges, juice and zest only
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
3 free-range eggs, beaten
150g/5¼oz plain flour
75g/2½oz ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For decoration (optional)
25g/1oz dark chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate-covered sultanas
edible glitter gold mini balls
about 10 edible gold stars
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of baking paper. When lining the tin with the paper, cut the material 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, coffee liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice 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 will 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 in it's tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.
To decorate, place the chocolate-covered coffee beans/sultanas in the centre of the cake and arrange the gold stars around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Then sprinkle some gold mini-balls over the whole of the cake. Sprinkle the edible glitter over the top of the cake.

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