Thursday, December 23, 2010


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

150g/5oz         raisins
150g/5oz         sultanas
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!



Unknown said...

Delish, great texture. Happy Holidays to you!

Chele said...

Looks fantastic to me and I'm pleased to find another 'date' challenged member of We Should Cocoa lol. Love the plate too ... I adore snowmen!!!

Unknown said...

I think we're all a little 'Date' challenged this time... your cake looks amazing and I love the added chocolate darkness... now if I could just pull myself away from Sonic the Hedgehog long enough to make my date dish... I actually bought some dates yesterday... but what to make? what to make?

Roxan said...

This cake looks absolutely delicious and heavenly - can't see what you were fretting about! ;] By the way, if there is ever anything you amke that you don't like you can totally pass it along my way.

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks Jennifurla, and Happy Christmas to you too.

Thanks Chele, I'm a sucker for Christmas crockery!!!

Put the controller down Dom and get into that kitchen!!

It would be my pleasure Roxan, and with the weather we are both having they would probably keep!!

Jemima said...

Wow this is going in my notebook as one to try next year, or maybe even sooner! Merry Christmas Brownieville Girl xx

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

The top picture is great. I love Christmas crockery too. John Lewis had beautiful ones this year - I bought several for gifts but none for myself as I don't have the space to store it just now as trying to keep the house uncluttered to sell it.
Cake looks great. I love dates in baking especially sticky toffee pudding - mmmm - I think they add a sticky, gooey sweetness.

Gloria Baker said...

Dear this chocolate Christmas cake look fantastic and delicious! I love your snowmen! Have a nice Christmas! gloria

laurie said...

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for the recipe!

Jannett said...

This cake looks delicious... :)

Caroline said...

It looks delicious and the perfect way to celebrate Christmas! Lovely snowman plate too!

(Good way to hide dates too - one of my more challenging dried fruits too!)

Anonymous said...

i wish i had a piece of this:) looks amazing:) thanks for sharing this.

Choclette said...

Sounds like a fab cake and can only have been more delicious for those dates and chocolate ;-)

Hanaâ said...

That sounds delicious. I happen to love dates, Medjool dates being my fav. Love the flavor combo's you put in this cake. I made a choc/date cake last summer (dates are soaked in hot coffee and then blended into a puree). It made the cake moist and sweet but you couldn't taste the dates much. It's from Beth Lipton's book called You Made That Dessert. Could email you the recipe if you're interested :o) Just email me.

Happy New Year to you and yours!! :o)

veena said...

cake looks awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!