Chocolate Christmas Cake

Whilst I don’t actually like Christmas/Fruit cakes I decided I wanted to make one this Christmas.  When I was watching the Lifestyle Food Channel one night recently Nigella’s Christmas special was on and she made a fantastic chocolate fruit cake.  I immediately decided I had to make a version of it as my Christmas cake.

I love the idea of including cocoa in a fruit cake and using fruits that are a little more decadent and different to the usual fruits found in Christmas cake.  So for my cake I used dates, cranberries, figs, apricots and sultanas.  I also substituted Pedro Ximinez Sherry (which I have cooked with before when I made my poached pear clafoutis) for the coffee liquer that Nigella used.

This fruit cake is fantastic in that it doesn’t need to be made weeks or months in advance, like most fruit cakes, and better still it’s super easy and doesn’t even require a mixer.

I’ve only used fondant once before, not very successfully I’ll admit, so I decided to challenge myself and see what I could come up with in order to decorate the cake.  So I decided to make some Christmas trees and a snowman for a winter scene.  Whilst the process was quite fiddly and frustrating due to my lack of knowledge, I have to admit I am actually really pleased with the results.

So, do you like Christmas cake?  What is your favourite Christmas cake recipe?

Chocolate Christmas Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 200g of dried dates, chopped
  • 200g of sultanas
  • 200g of dried cranberries
  • 250g of dried figs, chopped
  • 100g of dried Turkish apricots, chopped
  • 175g of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g of dark brown sugar
  • 175ml of honey
  • 125ml of Pedro Ximinez sherry
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g of plain flour
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  1. Place the dried fruit, honey, butter, sugar, honey, sherry, cocoa, mixed spice, orange zest and juice in a large saucepan over a medium low heat. Heat until the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil. Stir until the butter melts and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Line a cake tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
  3. Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking soda and baking powder to the fruit mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake 1¾ hours to 2 hours or until the cake is firm. Remove from the cake tin and set aside on the wire rack to cool.

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26 Comments on "Chocolate Christmas Cake"

October 1, 2011

Just wondering how far in advance you can make this cake?? Its oct 1st today and i`d love to start making one now if its not too soon?

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January 9, 2011

Really liking the idea of adding chocolate to fruit cake .

January 7, 2011

Really liking the idea of adding chocolate to fruit cake. Superb job with the fondant decorating by the way. I wouldn't have known that way your first go.
I guess I'm a recent convert to fruit cake. For me, a lot of my yukky cake bias seem to spring from being fed gross store-bought versions in childhood. But making a lot of these things fresh has changed my impressions.
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January 6, 2011

Love how you have decorated it! You cake looks beautiful.
My recent post Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

January 4, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I don't eat much christmas cake but add chocolate and I'm there 😉 I hope 2011 is filled with lots of delicious cakes 😀
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December 31, 2010

I do like fruitcake, although I guess not the traditional dark ones. My preference is for a light colored pound-cake like cake that is studded with dried fruit. In the US I have often seen them referred to as French Fruitcake, which I find amusing since they are called "Cake Anglais" in France which translates to "British Fruitcake"! Lovely job on the decorations, that little snowman is adorable.
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December 31, 2010

It is lovely to find your blog with the most tempting vegetarian cooking.
Love the snow man. We have plenty of those in Germany at the moment.

December 27, 2010

Aww, the decorations on your fruit cake are adorable! I'm not usually a fan of fruit cake either, so I'm curious to know what this one tasted like too.

Hope you has a lovely christmas!
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December 24, 2010

Beautiful christmas cake! Merry Christmas & happy new year to you and your family!

December 24, 2010

Niceome Photos ! as usual :)
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December 23, 2010

Haha the snowman is cute with a scarf!

December 23, 2010

This is absolutely beautiful! I love the "snow" falling in the first picture! I've never worked with fondant before but I'd like to at some point. Your cake is serving as a huge inspiration. :-)

December 22, 2010

Your fondant snowman is so cute! I've never had fruitcake before, but I'm kind of intrigued…

December 22, 2010

I've watched Nigella make this and have been wanting to make it since! How did it taste? I love that you used PX sherry. I love that stuff!
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December 22, 2010

Love your cake decoration:)….Beautiful…
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December 22, 2010

No surprise you are happy with the results because your snowman and trees look awesome!