This fruit cake packs a punch. On flavour, richness, moisture and booze! I saw the chocolate fruit cake on Nigella Lawson’s Christmas show and loved the idea of adding cocoa to the cake. I also loved the recipe for not being too fussy and also not having to bake the cake for hours on end wrapped in how many layers of paper. I have made the cake to the recipe before but decided to tweak it for this year. Varying (adding, therefor the name change!) the alcohol used, made a few changes here and there and I thought Nigella was too conservative with the fruit mix in the cake so upped the quantity a bit and variety.
350g chopped dried prunes
550g other dried fruit as you prefer (raisins, currants, sultanas, cherries, dates)
175g brown sugar
100ml Tia Maria or coffee liqueur
50ml any fortified wine
juice and zest of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee
3 eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
100g mixed nuts of your choice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, orange juice and zest, Tia Maria, fortified wine, mixed spice, cocoa and coffee in a saucepan and slowly bring to a slow boil while stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and let it stand overnight in the fridge. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap placed directly on top of the mixture to avoid a skin forming. Remove from the fridge the next morning and let it come to room temperature for an hour or so.
Heat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with baking paper. The sides of the tin needs to be about 9cm or so and use two strips of baking paper to line the sides – it is easier to work with than one long piece. Also make sure the paper is higher than the edges of the tin.
Add the eggs, flour, almonds, nuts, baking powder and baking soda to the fruit mixture and mix well. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 105 minutes to 2 hours until the cake is firm and the top is quite shiny. Insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake. Do not worry if there is a slight bit of uncooked batter attached to the knife. If it is too uncooked return to the oven for another 20 minutes or so. Cover the top with foil so that the cake does not become too dark on top.
When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and pierce some holes with a sharp knife. Mix the rum and sherry and carefully pour the mix over the hot cake. Let the cake cool down completely, remove from the cake tin. Wrap tight in tinfoil and let it rest for 10 days in an airtight container.