Don’t fret! It’s not too late to make a homemade Christmas cake! The problem with baking your own Christmas Cake is that you need to make it in November, when nobody in their right mind is feeling Christmassy. This is why I never really made Christmas Cake in the past, until I discovered this recipe last year. It’s from the Nigella Christmas book and although it’s called ‘Chocolate Christmas Cake’ – it really isn’t at all chocolately. It’s just a nice, boozy, rich Christmas cake with 2 tablespoons on cocoa added to the mixture to add a bit of extra depth.
This cake is great to eat even when you make it on Christmas Eve. I ice mine with either buttercream or marshmallow icing) but it’s equally nice with just some gold edible glitter sprinkled on top!
Don’t forget to get everyone to stir your Christmas cake mixture and make a wish!
- 350g/12oz dried soft prunes, chopped
- 250g/9oz raisins
- 125g/4oz currants
- 175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened
- 175g/6oz dark muscovado sugar
- 175ml/6fl oz honey
- 125ml/4fl oz brandy
- 2 oranges, juice and zest only
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp good quality cocoa
- 3 free-range eggs, beaten
- 150g/5¼oz plain flour
- 75g/2½oz ground almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas mark 2.
- Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of bake-o-glide or other reusable silicon-baking parchment. When lining the tin with the bake-o-glide, cut the material into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it’s easier to use two shorter strips of bake-o-glide, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.
- Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
- Carefully pour the fruit cake mixture into the bake-o-glide lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a cake tester into the middle of the cake, the cake should still be a little uncooked in the middle.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.