I’ve never been a huge fan of christmas cake, I guess mixed fruit has never really rung my bells. That is, until one year my mum found a new twist on her annual Christmas cake: Lindt chocolate. That little bit of dark chocolate (and maybe that little bit of chocolate liqueur) seems to transform the texture and deliver a rich moist taste.
Despite Christmas being two months away, we have been advised by the master of this recipe that it’s best to make the cakes a few months in advance to develop a richer fruity taste.
Making Christmas cake for friends and family has now become our own annual tradition, filling our house with a warm fruity smell and giving us an afternoon of time in the kitchen together (besides nearly burning the pecans because we were to busy taking photos of the process for this blog post!)
P.s We doubled the recipe, hence the super large mixing bowl.
250g pitted prunes, chopped
250g pitted dates, chopped
125g dried figs, chopped
340ml Crème de Cacao (reserve 40ml for brushing on the cake after it is cooked)
⅓ cup honey (115g)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
250g butter, softened at room temperature
300g dark brown sugar
6 eggs (60g size)
90g Lindt 70% dark chocolate, grated (any dark chocolate will do)
125g pecans or almonds, toasted (toss in a hot frying pan), chopped
2 cups plain flour (300g)
1 cup self raising flour (150g)
¼ cup cocoa powder (25g)
1. Combine fruit, 300ml of the Creme de Cacao, honey and lemon rind in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and stand overnight or for several days, stir occasionally.
2. Before mixing cake, prepare cake tin. Grease and line the base and side of a deep 25 cm round cake tin with 2 layers of brown paper and 2 layers of baking paper (for mini gift cakes we used 6x9cm tins and halved the cooking time). Bring paper 5 cm above the top of the tin.
3. Preheat the oven to very slow – 120 degrees Celsius/100 degrees if your oven is fan-forced.
4. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined between additions.
Tip – If the mixture appears to curdle or split, you can use a tablespoonful of the flour reserved for adding to the cake at a later stage (step 7) to stop it from curdling.
5. Add the butter mixture to the fruit mixture. Mix well.
6. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
7. Stir in sifted flours and cocoa in two batches. Mix well.
8. Place the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Smooth top with a slightly damp hand or spoon to ensure the top of the cake is even. Place on a lower shelf in the preheated oven and cook for 4 – 4½ hours or until cooked when tested with a fine cake skewer. The cakes should rise about 1-2 inches.
Tip – Don’t open the oven door in the early stages of cooking. When halfway through the cooking time, check the top of the cake. If it is getting too brown, cover the top of the cake with a double thickness of baking paper. Place on top of the paper lining. Don’t let it touch the cake’s surface.
9. Brush hot cake with remaining Creme de Cacao, cover tightly with foil. Cool in cake tin.
10. Wrap cake in gladwrap, then with alfoil and store in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature before serving.