Yes, it is one month before Christmas and though I am hardly traditional when it comes to this time of the year I can not go through December (and November and January for that matter) without fruit cake. It has to be packed with fruit and absolutely no skimping on the booze please! And I think this year’s version certainly delivers on both.
This flourless chocolate fruit cake is a combination of two Nigella recipes. I have been making her Chocolate Fruit Cake for a few years now, each year tweaking the recipe to suit my taste at the time. I would change the fruit, add various extracts and also play around with different spirits or liqueurs and have been very happy with the results.
I love flourless baking and prefer a cake baked with almond meal above plain flour at any time so was quite happy to see her recipe for a flourless fruit cake. But I wanted to keep the dark chocolate element so combined the two recipes. This recipe is somewhere between a cake and a pudding. It is very moist and will be quite suitable served at teatime or with a good splodge of warm custard for dessert.
Feel free to play with the mix of fruit. You basically need 900g dried fruit so how you build that is entirely up to you. I think 500g dried fruit cake mix is a good base to work from and this year I added dried pear for the first time. But dried apricots for instance could add a good tartness to all the richness in the cake. I would not use dried prunes for this flourless recipe as I think it will make the cake far too wet.
Bonus of course is that this cake is ready to eat the same day but keep it wrapped up in foil and in a airtight container for at least a week for the flavours to develop.
If you would like some other Xmas baking ideas, check out last year’s batch of recipes: Xmas Morning Muffins, Espresso Meringue Mince Pies and Chocolate Fruit Cake. And do subscribe to the blog as I have a few other lovely Xmas ideas coming up.
- 500g fruit cake mix
- 250g dried pears, chopped
- 150g dried sultanas
- 100g glace cherries
- 175g butter
- 200g brown sugar
- 125ml kahlua or coffee liqueur
- 200g marmelade
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs cacoa
- 1 tsp orange extract (optional)
- 1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 3 eggs
- 250g ground almonds
- For decoration
- 50g blanched almonds
- 100g glace cherries
- brandy for brushing
- Place all the fruit, butter, sugar, liqueur, marmelade, salt, cacao, extracts and mixed spice in a pot and heat over a medium heat
- Simmer gently for 10 minutes and remove from the heat to cool.
- Cover with plastic wrap (directly on the mixture to avoid a skin forming) and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the fruit mix from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 22cm high-sided tin with a layer of baking parchment; the lining should extend about 10cm above.
- Beat the eggs and add to the mix with the ground almonds and mix well.
- Spoon into the lined baking tin and smooth the top.
- Decorate with the blanched almonds and cherries.
- Bake for about 2 hours and let cool completely in the tin.
- Start testing if the cake is cooked 15 minutes before 2 hours are up by inserting a sharp knife into the middle of the cake. Do not worry if there is a very slight bit of moist batter attached to the knife. If the cake is too uncooked return to the oven for another 15 minutes and test again. Cover the top with foil so that the cake does not become too dark on top.
- Once cool, remove from the tin, brush with some brandy and wrap in foil.
- Keep for a week (or longer) in an airtight container before serving.
- Brush with brandy every few days while storing.
- Adapted from Nigella Lawson