I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas ‘cake I bake’
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
The Best time of the year is definitely Christmas…What a wonderful festival to end the year, with hopes for an even better year. We, as a family have a special number in our lives- Number 7. So on this 7th of December, when my daughter Anika (who was born on November 7th) completes 25 months (2+5 :-)), here I come with a special recipe for all readers, for a beautiful festival thats on the 25th of December every year (2+5 again).
2014 has been a very special year for us (2+1+4=7….i know its weird..), and I thank God for all the special blessings showered on us this year…We are spending Christmas with our families this time, which makes it even more special, and Anika gets to be with her grandparents and immediate relatives….What a joy…
I know it’s quite early for the Christmas recipes. But not only am I on vacation soon, and not just that… I want you to prepare yourselves for Christmas well in advance, So that you can have the best, and only the best celebration….A little preparation goes a long way…
For all those who didn’t have plans to bake a Christmas Cake this year, WAKE UP!!..There’s nothing better than baking your own Christmas Cake…Your entire house smells of fruits, cinnamon, honey , vanilla, and hot chocolate and a hint of alcohol here and there…Believe me, its lovely…
So come with me and lets bake a beautiful Chocolate Christmas Fruit Cake this year, one of the first from Cinnamon Weekends for Christmas…
This is not the traditional Christmas Cake..The traditional Christmas Cake calls for a christmas fruit soak in booze/liquor/liquer, and can even be made well in advance (Months earlier), the earlier the better.I will update my Christmas fruit soak for the year in a post soon, so that you get a few weeks time to soak your fruits before the grand day of baking the traditional Christmas Cake….
This Chocolate Christmas Fruit Cake comes from the Foodie Goddess- Nigella Lawson…and she has used an easier version, without the soak, to make this beautiful cake. This is more of a one-bowl recipe and the results are unbelievably amazing…. fruit cake. I have made a few changes to the recipe, but nothing much, as this cake is lip smacking good….Im sure you ll bake this cake throughout the year…The prunes in this cake gives the dark, rich color and keeps it moist. But the one thing that makes it special and unique is the chocolate/cocoa, which gives the cake a smokey richness.
This Chocolate Christmas fruit cake is fantastic in that it doesn’t need to be made weeks or months in advance, like most fruit cakes,and it’s super easy and doesn’t even require a mixer.
As per readers requests, heres a detailed description of the cake with pictures, so no excuses whatsoever to make this christmasy goodness….
1) The first part is to get your fruits and other ingredients ready. I usually keep them ready in bowls, before I get on with the process. Get your fruits ready, especially the prunes, that gives that moistness to the cake. Cut them into the same size as raisins.
Now get your zest ready. Zest is nothing but the outer skin of the orange, that is packed with flavour. Scrape only the outer side and do not go any further as it would leave a bitter taste
Now lets get the baking pan ready. Line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment ( I used Pam for greasing the tin). Use the following method to line the sides of the pan, to get the perfect circle. Cover the outside with Newspaper, as below
In a large wide saucepan, add all ingredients except flour, baking powder and soda, eggs and ground almonds. Boil themixture, and simmer it for ten minutes..Remove from saucepan and leave it for 30 minutes to cool
Now add remaining ingredients- eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and soda, and combine. Pour the mixture into the baking tin.
Bake at 150 C for 1 3/4 hrs- 2 hours. Remove from oven and wait for it to cool completely.Happy Christmas!!
This incredibly easy, no pre-soak Chocolate Christmas Fruit cake, with a hint of cocoa, is perfect for your Christmas season and has a rich, luxurious taste, that leaves you wanting for more….
- Prep Time : 60 minutes
- Cook Time : 2h 00 min
- Yield : 10-12
- Dried Soft prunes - 250g, chopped (see Notes)
- Raisins - 250 g
- Black Raisins/ currants - 125 g
- Mixed peel (orange, ginger, other fruits) - 100 g
- Unsalted Butter - 175 g, softened
- Muscovado Sugar - 175 g (see notes)
- Organic Honey - 175 ml
- Coffee Liquer (Tia Maria) - 125 ml (See Notes)
- Oranges - 2, juice and zest
- Mixed Spice - 1 tsp (See Notes)
- Cocoa (good quality) - 2 heaped tbsp
- Eggs - 3, beaten
- Flour - 150 g
- Ground Almonds - 75 g
- Baking powder - 1 tsp
- Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Preheat oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.
Line an 8 inch baking pan (preferable loose bottomed) with parchment paper. The parchment should be twice as high as the baking pan, and this would help the cake not to over-brown on the top. Similarly, cover the outside of the pan with newspaper, and tie with a string. This will protect the sides too....during the long baking process.
In a large wide saucepan, add all ingredients (fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa), except flour, baking powder and soda, eggs and ground almonds.
Heat the mixture on low flame and bring it to a boil. Simmer it for another ten minutes, and remove saucepan from the stove. Leave this for another 30 minutes, until the temperature reduces..
Now add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan- eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and soda. Mix well with a wooden spoon/ spatula until everything has combined.
Pour the fruit mixture into the parchment lined tin. Bake for 105 - 115 minutes (1 3/4 to 2 hours), until the top of the cake is shiny, and a cake tester comes out clean...
Place the cake on a cooling rack. Remove it from the tin, when the cake has cooled. Decorate wih christmas goodies, glitter and sprinkles.
You can make the cake up to 2 weeks ahead and wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Decorate when needed.
1. Substitutes for Coffee Liqueur - To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 1 teaspoon of chocolate extract/ cocoa powder mixed with 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, which has been mixed in 2 tablespoons of water. Can also substitute expresso, non-alcoholic coffee extract or coffee syrup. If you want to make coffee liquer, heres a recipe- http://allrecipes.com/recipe/coffee-liqueur/
2. If Muscovado sugar is not available, you can use the same amount of Brown Sugar.
3. I used store-bought Chinese Mixed Spice for the recipe. To make your own..just grind cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds and dry ginger.
4. Prunes is what makes this cake so special......So please do your research and find it.....I used Delmonte prunes for this recipe.....