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?
- 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
- 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.
- Line a cake tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
- Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking soda and baking powder to the fruit mixture and mix until well combined.
- 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.