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Brandied Fruit, Chocolate and Spice Christmas Cake

This delicious cake from Dish magazine combines the best from a traditional Christmas cake with its brandy-soaked dried fruits, the richness of a dense, dark chocolate cake, as well as walnuts and spices. If time allows, soak the fruit for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks.

Fruit Mixture

  • 500g dried fruit cake mix
  • 75g glacé cherries
  • 250g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup grated apple, skin on
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 cup brandy

Cake

  • 175g butter
  • ¾ cup raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp each ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground chilli, optional
  • 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped (we recommend 72% cocoa)
  • finely grated zest 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • ½ tps baking soda

Fruit: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir daily.

To assemble and cook: Preheat the oven to 150˚C and set the rack one level below the centre of the oven. Grease and fully line an 8 cm deep x 20 cm square cake tin with 3 layers of baking paper.

This cake is also delicious served with fresh berries and  mascarpone.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. The sugar will not be dissolved. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoonful of the flour with each egg. This stops the mixture from curdling.

Combine the remaining flour, baking powder, spices and chocolate in a bowl. Stir the orange zest, juice and baking soda together in another bowl. Using a large metal spoon, fold both mixtures into the butter along with the soaked fruit.

Spoon into the tin and smooth the top. Cover with a piece of baking paper, pressing it onto the mixture. Wrap a thick piece of brown paper around the outside of the tin, securing with kitchen string.

Bake for about 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Make sure it’s not just melted chocolate on the skewer. Cool in the tin.

To serve: The cake can be left unadorned or can be iced with a traditional icing or chocolate ganache. It’s also delicious served with fresh berries and mascarpone.

Makes 1 cake

For more delicious recipes, see www.dish.co.nz 

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