CHOCOLATE REALLY DOES WORK IN THIS CHRISTMAS CAKE!
How long does it take to make a tradition? Some Christmas traditions come to us through our parents and grandparents, some probably from the idealised versions we see on T.V. (do families really decorate the tree together while humming carols and sipping hot chocolate - or is the general experience more like mine, where I whine about doing it, hint for help but get told that I'm the "artistic one"!!!!!! Baah Humbug) but what about the traditions we make ourselves? I reckon that Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake is fast becoming a tradition here in Brownieville - Christmas wouldn't be quite the same without it sitting under the dome on the cake stand. Regular Christmas visitors have been known to ask for it (they don't know about the puddings!!!!!!).
It is really easy to throw together, being what my mother would call a boiled cake - most of the ingredients are heated together in a pot (which means there is no need to soak the fruit) then you add a few more and bake. I will admit that there is all the faffing about having to line the tin, but other that that is's "wham bam thank you mam"
The cake has a beautifully moist texture, the chocolate and orange flavours are subtle and actually add to the Christmassyness (!) of the cake. It should be eaten within 2 weeks (no problem I promise!!) so is prefect for the last minute merchants amongst us!! Please don't worry about all the prunes in there, nobody will notice, and think of all the good it will be doing to their tummies after the Christmas stodge!!
When I saw that Choclette has challenged us to include orange to a chocolate bake for this month's We Should Cocoa, it was a shoe in for this cake!
Chocolate Christmas Cake
adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe
350g stoned prunes, chopped
175g dark sugar
75ml coffee liqueur
50ml hazelnut liqueur
1 orange, juiced and zested
3 mandarin orange, juiced and zested (if large just use 2)
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp cocoa powder (sifted)
3 eggs, beaten
75g ground hazelnuts (or almonds)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bread (bicarbonate of) soda
Double line and butter a 20cm x 9cm deep round cake tin. When filled I also tie a couple of layers of newspapers around the outside - belt and braces!!
Put the flour, ground nuts, baking powder and bread (bicarbonate of) soda in a bowl and set aside.
Put the remaining ingredients (except the eggs) in a large saucepan and gently bring to boiling point, stirring regularly.
Allow to simmer for 10 minutes and set aside for 30 (or longer if it's handier)
While it's cooling I prepare the tin.
Add the beaten egg and the dry ingredients, combine well.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for approx 2 hours.
You want a texture less gooey than a brownie but more so than a normal cake.
Put the cake tin on a wire rack and allow to cool.
Eat immediately if you wish, but it will keep for about 2 weeks, depending on your will power!!!