Friday, December 23, 2011


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
250g            raising
175g            currants
175g            butter
175g            dark sugar
225g            honey
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
150g            flour
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!!!


Suelle said...

You couldn't have picked a better cake to become a 'Tradition' - I loved this when I made it, but it would be too big for this year, when we have no visitors.

scrumptious days said...

I think this sounds delicious, I am writing a list of things to try next year, and will be including this yummy cake. Merry Christmas! Jude x

Ana Regalado said...

Throw me a slice or two of that yummy-looking cake ! :D I'll bet it wouldn't last for few days ;D

Care Bear said...

Happy Christmas Brownieville Girl! The cake looks wonderful.

A Dutch Brit said...

As soon as I read the title I knew- Nigella! Yes the Christmas decorations are a 'chore' here too- one nobody wants to do/have time for etc.
Happy Christmas!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

You can't go wrong making anything chocolate a tradition. Your family will be licking their lips for this one. Merry Christmas and many blessing for the coming year.

Maria♥ said...

I've created my own traditions and love them. My home-made xmas cake, puddings and mincemeat are a big part of that tradition. Your cake looks gorgeous and so yummy!

Happy Christmas to you and yours.


Choclette said...

Ooh, it sounds wonderful, what a lovely idea for a Christmas cake. Haven't got my act together this year. I was planning on making a figgy Christmas cake, but hey ho! This looks to be an excellent entry to WSC - thank you.

Do hope you all have a good Christmas.

Janice said...

I've made this cake before and you are right, it is easy to make and tastes fantastic!

Manu said...

Beautiful Christmas cake!!!
Wish you and your family Merry Christmas xoxoxo

Jo said...

Chocolate Christmas cake? Now that is exciting! The prunes don't bother me either, I quite like them! Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Lovely cake - great colour. Have a really good Christmas.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Dear BVG, thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. Lots of emotions going on this holiday season. Please know your families, especially the children are in my "prayer pot."

Your cake looks delicious! Traditions are fun, but they can be a pain sometimes too! LOL!!! We have to have the "baked beans" at all our gatherings. Something mom used to make. Thankfully mine are "almost" as good as hers!

Happy Christmas!


Pam said...

This cake is great for a tradition. It looks and sounds delicious! A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I love visiting your blog because I always find something new to me. This looks wonderful. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, I know it will be tasty!

Anonymous said...

Yum! Anything chocolate has to be good! I bet it's wonderful.

Unknown said...

What a lovely idea. Am sure it must have been delicious. I think next year I will be trying this out x

Nessa Robins said...

I have been tempted to make this many times! It really looks scrummy. Best wishes to you and your family!

Karen S Booth said...

Merry Christmas ~ I have been away since yesterday morning, just got back!
Love Karen

Unknown said...

Building your own traditions upon those of your parents is what life is all about. The Viking and I have many Christmas ones. Some silly. Some not so. But most of them are food related!!

Caroline said...

It looks gorgeous - really moist and luscious. I bet my mum and brother would love it - they are both big fans of prunes!

Sommer said...

I'm the one in the kitchen not getting to eat much lol! This cake sounds divine!!! I definitely will try next Christmas! Hope you had a great one!

Rosita Vargas said...

es un pastel exquisito luce absolutamente prefecto,abrazos y felices fiestas.

Chele said...

I have always wanted to have a go at this cake but I was never quite sure if it would be recieved well with my lot and then I'd end up having an entire cake to eat by myself ... hand on a minute - why haven't I made this before???

Cakefairyblog said...

hehe If I like something we do one year I decide it's a tradition just so I can do it again! Fab cake! x

teresa said...

this looks so delicious! perfect for the holidays!

Nickki said...

This is my favourite Christmas cake ever! I can't imagine not making it over the festive season. Everyone seems to love it too xx

Johanna GGG said...

would love to try this - am a big fan of chocolate fruitcake but have found that my family are not keen on chunks of chocolate in the cake - want to love eating it all myself but I do love sharing too - and yours looks wonderfully dark

by the way - we do decorate the tree as a family but there is a lot of whinging in the process