Super Rich Chocolate Xmas Cake
250g pitted prunes chopped
250g pitted dates chopped
250g dried figs chopped
100g glace ginger finely chopped
Brandy (around 300-500 ml)
Ginger Ale (not diet)
1/3 cup honey or golden syrup
1 tablespoon lemon rind
250g unsalted butter cubed
300g firmly packed black sugar (I use treacle sugar)
½ block dark cooking chocolate broken up
Mixed spices (optional)
2 cups plain flour (sifted)
1 cup self raising flour (sifted)
¼ cup cocoa (sifted)
Pinch baking powder (optional)
Stained Glass Topping
Glace ginger (small container)
Red& green glace cherries (small container)
Glace pineapple (small container)
100g dried apricots
Handful of pecan nuts
(Alternative topping – decorate with almonds or pecans and glace or dried cherries)
Combine fruit, 1 cup of brandy, 1 cup of ginger ale, honey and lemon rind in a deep cooking pot. Mix well, cover and stand overnight or several days. Mix from time to time and top up brandy & ginger ale so mixture is moist and fruit does not dry out.
Add butter cubes, sugar and chocolate, mix well then bring to boil on a very low heat stirring constantly so bottom does not burn or stick. Simmer on the lowest heat until butter & chocolate melted and sugar fully absorbed. Mix well. If you like Xmas spices (nutmeg, cinnamon etc) add at this stage. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile prepare cake tins. Grease tins and line bottom and sides with 2 layers of baking paper. This quantity makes 1 large cake and 6 small cakes in a texas muffin pan. Or 6 or 8 small cakes (3”, 5” or 7” pans). If making a large cake, wrap outside with a layer or two of brown paper.
When mixture is cool, add in eggs one at a time mixing well. Stir in sifted flour and cocoa in two batches and mix well. If you like nuts in your cake then add a handful of chopped nuts at this stage.
Spoon mixture into cake pans and decorate tops. Finely chop all topping ingredients and mix well. Add spoonfuls to the top of the mixture pressing in lightly. Alternatively, just decorate with fruit and nuts.
Bake in a very slow oven. Small cakes 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours depending on size. Large cake around 3 hours. Test with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.
Brush hot cakes with brandy then cover with foil and cool in pans. Wrap cooled cakes in layer of cling wrap and a layer of foil. Cakes are best matured for 3 or 4 weeks. Keep in a cool place but it is not necessary to refrigerate unless very hot weather. Brush occasionally with remaining brandy. Cakes will keep at least 6 months if refrigerated. Probably longer with the addition of more brandy!