Thursday, December 23, 2010
CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS CAKE
This month's We Should Cocoa Challenge, is to create something delicious with both cocoa and dates. Chocolate yummmm, dates - not so much!!!!! Actually when Choclette suggested this months challenge, I thoughts it was incredibly coincidental as I had just bought some medjool dates the previous day. Those dates had been intended for Brownieville Man to nibble on, but they now had to be redirected towards the baking cupboard!
As a non dried fruit eater (except for dried cranberries for some strange reason!) I fretted about this one a little bit. I have been enjoying Eric Lanlard's Home Bake, and had marked his Chocolate and Orange Christmas Cake as one to try. I wondered if I could substitute some of the raisins and sultanas in this cake for some of my dates - worth a try!!
The cake turned out to be a beautifully moist, rich confection. Judging by the length of time it spent in the cake tin, it went down very well with the taste testers here! Actually the only comment was that it was delicious, but perhaps a little bit too chocolaty (I didn't think that was possible!!)
Chocolate and Orange Christmas Cake
adapted from Home Bake by Eric Lanlard
100g /4oz dates - stoned and chopped
100ml/3.5oz orange liqueur (plus some for soaking)
200g/7oz butter, softened
100g/3.5oz soft dark brown sugar
50g/2oz molasses sugar
3 large eggs
150g/5oz plain flour
175g/6oz really good dark chocolate, broken into pieces.
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon (juice only)
100g/3.5oz chopped candied peel
75g/3oz roasted hazelnuts. (I didn't bother with these)
The day before baking soak the fruits in half the orange liqueur, leaving them to plump up overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150 C
Prepare a 20cm/8" tin spring form tin, by greasing and lining with a double layer of parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugars together using an electric whisk (I use the kitchen aid) until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking all the time. (if the mixture splits add a small amount of the flour)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
Add the cooled melted chocolate to the egg and sugar mixture.
Sift in the flour and spices, and fold in until everything is combined.
Now add in the lemon juice and the remaining orange liqueur.
Finally add the soaked fruits, nuts and candied peel, mixing well.
Spoon the mix into the prepared tin, level the surface and cover with a piece of baking paper.
Bake for 2-2.5 hours, test that a skewer comes out clean to see when done.
Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack.
Remove from its tin and feed with some more liqueur.
Wrap up in clingfilm (feeding from time to time) until ready to indulge!