This Christmas cake is rich in dried fruits housed in a decadent cocoa, honey and spiced batter. Dense, flavorful, with hints of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and a cream cheese icing to smoothen it all.
- 650 g mixed dried fruits (I used figs, cranberries, raisins, Rainier cherries, candied cherries, crystallized ginger)
- 175 g soft unsalted butter
- 175 g dark brown sugar
- 100 ml runny honey
- 75 ml fancy molasses
- 125 ml Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
- 2 oranges (juice and zest)
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice)
- 4 tablespoons cocoa
- 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 150 g plain flour
- 75 g ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Icing (optional):
- 225 g cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar
- 2 Tbsp chocolate shavings
- 2 Tbsp sugar gold pebbles
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a 24cm / 9.5-inch round springfold cake tin with a double layer of parchment paper. The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin; think of a lining that’s twice as deep as the tin. To hold the parchment in place grease the tin with butter.
- Put the fruit, butter, sugar, molasses, honey, Kahlua, orange juice and zests, spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan and bring to a boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes, or more.
- After the 30 minutes are up, it will have cooled a little. Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.
- Put the cake on a cooling rack. It will hold its heat and take a while to cool, but once it has, unmould it from the tin.
For the cream cheese icing (optional):
- Combine cream cheese, milk and vanilla, mixing until well blended.
- Gradually add icing sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
- Spread over cooled cake.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings and sugar gold pebbles (optional).
You can use any dried and candied fruits you like (prunes, apricots, maraschino cherries, etc). Quantity of fruit is really up to you, if you like a more cake-like consistency less fruit is required. Also, if you don't like or have molasses, you can use all honey. Most of all, be creative and adventurous and be pleasantly surprised.
This cake has a long shelf life (of course without the icing). The best way to store it is to wrap it in baking parchment and then in foil and place it in a tin.
Cooking time may vary on the type of oven you have (convection -shorter- or conventional -longer-).
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: North American