Chocolate. Christmas. Cake.

Are there three more delightful words?! We don’t think so. And we have a recipe for you that combines them all (and fruit, but that doesn’t begin with ‘C’…).

In 2015, Sylvie Haynes used this recipe to enter our Cake-Off at Arley Hall (we’re there again in 2018) and it was a unanimous winner! Luis Troyano (of Great British Bake Off fame) even asked for the recipe! We think it would make a very popular alternative to the traditional fruit cake recipes that you see at Christmas, and as it’s the 1st December (already?!), it’s the perfect time to try it out!

INGREDIENTS
300g self raising flour
4/5 tbsp good cocoa (or 3 tbsp raw cacoa)
5 eggs
300g butter
300g brown sugar (either light or dark – Sylvie prefers dark)
1200g dried fruits (any)
Zest of one lemon and juice
Zest of one orange and juice
1 tbsp black treacle
100ml brandy (apple or orange juice alternatively, for a non-alcoholic version)
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond essence (optional)
100g chopped almonds (optional)
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) or combination of your favourite (ie milk and plain)

Dried fruits: Sylvie used currants, sultanas, raisins, apricots, dates, and prunes – use what you like, just chop them up (apples and cherries are good too)

METHODChristmas cake recipe
1) Soak fruits in brandy or juice (min 2 hours – good overnight or longer if you have time).

2) Preheat oven to 300oF/Gas mark 2/150oC.

3) Line a deep cake tin,  20cm round or 18cm square, with a double layer of baking parchment. Wrap a few layers of newspaper around the outside and secure with string.

4) Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, vanilla essence, almond essence (if used), orange/lemon juice and dried fruits into a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until everything has melted together. Remove from the heat and stir in treacle.

5) Mix the flour, almonds (if used), cocoa, lemon/orange zest and spice together. Stir the eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture in the saucepan, followed by the flour mixture. Mix well.

6) Place in tin and cook for 1 hour 45 mins – 2 hours (check after 1 hour 30)  . Ready when skewer comes out clean.

7) Will keep for a good 2-4 months if stored in airtight container, covered in greaseproof. Can feed with extra brandy if you like.

8) The recipe is flexible, you can leave out nuts and almonds completely, and also almond essence and treacle if you like, it will still work.

If you try it, let us know what you think (or feel free to send us a piece!).
Team GBFF                                                                                                                                               Image courtesy of Sparkling Ink

verityChocolate. Christmas. Cake.