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The Christmas Cake with Chocolate in it

Hedonistic, fragrant, heavy with fruits but still light in texture: Mona Farrugia thinks she has finally come up with the most fabulous recipe for Christmas Cake.


 
The Christmas Cake with Chocolate in it

Information

Main Ingredient Dried Fruit
Preparation Time 90 minutes
Cooking Time 3 hours
Course Cake
Recipe Serves 14
Recipe Type Cake
Each year, I take a couple of days off to make my own Christmas cakes. Each year the recipe I use varies. I started years ago when I still lived at my mum’s, with making just one cake and it would be Delia’s. It was reliable, heavy (so heavy I needed strong biceps to mix it) and could take the month or more of ‘feeding’ with alcohol. Then I would forget to eat it. Delia’s recipe is so fruit heavy that a year later I would discover the cake in the cupboard and it would taste fabulous.
A few years ago I switched allegiance to Nigella. After all, she dressed nicer and had much bigger boobs: her cake would probably be nicer too. Alas, it wasn’t. Both recipes took at least 6 hours to cook.
Last year I was on an even more of a trajectory to discover the perfect recipe, if it existed. I think I have found it: the nuts remain whole, which I always prefer, the fruits too. All the ingredients are genuine. There are 300 grams of flour in the recipe but the results are so wonderful that my and TW’s low-carb regime will have to go out the window this time. And the chocolate lends it a hedonistic, wonderful and deep flavour which complements the fruit and nuts in such a lovely way.
I hate icing for decoration and each year I have looked for those beautiful little marzipan fruits which I could drizzle with warmed apricot conserve for decoration.
Enjoy the baking, and don’t forget to eat the cake.
Method

Preheat the oven to 150C, 300F, Gas Mark 2


Prepare your silicone container by, um, having it there waiting. Please see notes (as above).


 


350g sultanas soaked in cognac [place in a bowl, cover in cognac, and leave to absorb]


 


350g unsalted butter


300g dark soft brown sugar


200g chocolate, melted (in the microwave or on a bain-marie)


4 eggs, mixed lightly


 


150g chopped mixed peel


100g whole glace cherries


50g walnuts, peeled and halved


50g Piemonte roasted hazelnuts


2 teaspoons mixed spice


1 teaspoon cinnamon


250ml whisky & 50ml calvados or 300 ml cognac


Zest of 3 lemons


Juice of 3 lemons


 


How:


Cream the butter and sugar in a kenwood or a food processor (using the mixing attachment) until they are fluffy and light.  Slow the machine right now. Add the melted chocolate. Then add the eggs until all are incorporated.


Take the mixing element out. Add the flour and spices by sieving them into the mix above. Add the lemon juice, zest and half of the whisky/calvados mix or cognac.


Add the fruits and nuts gently. Do not break the nuts. Combine evenly.


Place into the prepared mould.


Place the mould on a whole sheet of brown paper, wrap everything loosely and tie with some string.  Cut a hole into the top of the brown paper – don’t be precious; a cross will do. It is there to let some of the pressure of the heat out.


Cook for 3 hours, but start checking for doneness at 2 hours 45 mins.


Take out of the oven, cool, then take out of the mould and place on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle some alcohol on the cake while it’s still warm.


When it is cold, place it on a sheet of aluminium foil, sprinkle the rest of the alcohol, and wrap.


‘Feed’ with whisky or cognac each week – let the cake absorb as much as possible.


Decorate a day before serving.



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Margerita Pule
December 30, 2010
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I made this cake about two months ago, and topped it up every so often with whiskey. We ate it on Stephen's day, and it was soooo good - an hour later, all that was left was the crumbs! I think I left out the candied peel and used pecan nuts instead of walnuts. A really lovely recipe, thanks Mona.

 
 
Rita Knowles
November 18, 2010
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Pity that I have already made all my Christmas cakes this year but I shall save this recipe for the next fruit cake I have to make which will be in January.

May I suggest that if you are storing the cake for a while (more than 1 month) you should wrap the cake in parchment paper and then in foil? The acids in the fruit cake will eat into the foil if covered in foil alone. Parchment paper (carta forno) will prevent this happening.

Keep up the good work.

 
 
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