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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  1. chanel December 22, 2010  3:08 pm Reply

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

    • delicieux December 23, 2010  7:14 am Reply

      Thanks Chanel :D Merry Christmas.

  2. LimeCake December 22, 2010  9:42 pm Reply

    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!
    My recent post Salted Peanut and Coffee Brittle

    • delicieux December 23, 2010  7:16 am Reply

      I love PX sherry too. It's so delicious. As for the taste, we haven't cut it yet. We will tomorrow.

  3. Tiffany December 22, 2010  11:13 pm Reply

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

  4. lemonsandanchovies December 23, 2010  1:21 am Reply

    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. :-)

    • delicieux December 23, 2010  7:17 am Reply

      Thanks :D I love the snow falling picture floors didn't though. You should have seen the mess! *laughs* I'm glad I've inspired you. Merry Christmas :D

  5. Cindy December 23, 2010  6:34 am Reply

    Haha the snowman is cute with a scarf!

    • delicieux December 24, 2010  3:34 pm Reply

      Thanks Frenchy. Merry Christmas :D

  6. Ellie December 24, 2010  12:10 pm Reply

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

    • delicieux December 24, 2010  3:36 pm Reply

      Thank you so much Ellie. I hope you & your family have a wonderful Christmas too :D

  7. Taz December 27, 2010  6:57 am Reply

    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!
    My recent post Raspberry &amp Rhubarb Breakfast Muffins

    • delicieux December 27, 2010  5:17 pm Reply

      Thanks Taz :)

      Everyone loved the cake. They said they loved the different fruits and the moistness from the Pedro Ximinez. I tried some, and while it was lovely and moist and had that lovely sweet raisiny smell Pedro Ximinez has with the hint of chocolate from the cocoa, unfortunately it didn't change my opinion of fruit cakes. I just don't like their heavy fruitiness. Based on the feedback from the fruit cake lovers in my family I will make it again.

  8. julie December 31, 2010  5:48 am Reply

    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.

    • delicieux January 5, 2011  9:15 am Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Julie. I'm glad you enjoy the vegetarian recipes. :)

  9. Sylvie @ GitK December 31, 2010  8:33 pm Reply

    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.
    My recent post imagining a new year

    • delicieux January 5, 2011  9:16 am Reply

      Thanks :D Happy New Year to you too and all the best for 2011 :D

  10. Emma @CakeMistress January 7, 2011  10:45 pm Reply

    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.
    My recent post Banana and Honey Bread

  11. شات مصرى January 9, 2011  12:11 pm Reply

    Really liking the idea of adding chocolate to fruit cake .

  12. Renee October 1, 2011  3:23 pm Reply

    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?

    • delicieux October 1, 2011  3:39 pm Reply

      Hi Renee,

      You can make this cake up to 2 weeks ahead, but I have heard of people ageing it for longer though I have not tried this myself. I hope that helps :D Feel free to send me an email if you have anymore questions.


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