Food : Christmas Cake

This recipe is mainly based on Nigella Lawson’s boiled chocolate fruit cake recipe. I have been making it every Christmas for about a decade and a few tweaks and changes have crept in. The most important method wise is i have moved to ‘boiling’ or ‘simmering’ the fruit , booze, butter and sugar in a dutch oven in the oven. I always found the stove top method prone to catching on the bottom and the potential for burnt bits. This way you can sit down and have a pint without stressing about stiring . Also Nigella’s version uses Tia Maria. If you look in my liqour cabinet you will find scotch and rum but you will not find Tia Maria so I use what I have with the addition of instant coffee.
With my 2 lemon trees lemon juice and zest stands in for all other citrus and some home made marmalade replaces half the honey. Also Nigella’s frugal spicing gets a nudge.
Finally I can’t be faffing around making just one cake so this recipe is for 2. Merry Christmas


Makes: 2 cakes. Give one to your mum.

400 grams prunes chopped

200 grams dates chopped

450 grams raisins

400 grams currants

50 grams lemon peel chopped , boiled for 20 mins in water then drained and cooled

350 grams soft butter

350 grams dark brown muscovado sugar

175 grams runny honey

175 grams marmalade

250 millilitres blended whisky / whiskey / rum

2 – 3 lemons juice of

3 teaspoon mixed spice

2 teaspoons powdered ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 pinch nutmeg

9 tablespoons cocoa

4 teaspoons instant coffee

6 large eggs (beaten)

300 grams plain flour

150 grams ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

– pre heat oven to 150c

– place fruit, peel, sugar, spices , coffee, cocoa , butter and grog in large saucepan or dutch oven if using the ‘oven boil’ method.

– bring to a simmer stiring to mix the melting butter. Or place dutch oven in oven, checking and stiring every 5min till butter is melted, leave to simmer a further 10 min before setting aside to cool.

– add eggs , flour , almond meal, baking powder , and baking soda. Mix with a wooden spoon.

– line 2 tins with baking parchment , pour mixture into the tins and bake for 2 hours. Centre should still be slightly fudgy . Allow to cool before removing from tins.

– next day perforate the surface with a skewer, spoon over a couple of table spoons of cider brandy. Feed like this 2 or 3 more times over the coming days.

You can ice and or decorate . But I just eat them. Glory.


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