Saturday, December 8, 2007

My First Fruitcake!

Today was my first ever foray into making a fruitcake. I have never bothered before because my mother does such a spectacular job and she usually makes one for us too, so we have always been well catered for. And besides I could never be bothered with the long list of ingredients, the fiddling around with wrapping the tin etc in newspaper and the long, long cooking time.

However, a few of the members on Violets Pantry raved about Nigella's Chocololate Fruit Cake and as soon as I saw the recipe (and photos of the finished product!) I knew I had to make it.

It sounded easy enough for a novice like me and just the fact that the fruit was combined with Kahlua/Tia Maria was all the convincing I needed!
I had bought some paper cases last year with the intention of making fruit cakes for gifts. They have remained safely stowed away in the corner of my cupboard until now and they were perfect for this exercise! They are approximately 150mm round and worked out excellent because a double mix of the recipe gave me 4 cute sized cakes. I wrapped them in newspaper to give them extra strenth, so they didn't lose their shape.

I am about to get started on round 2, so all my friends now know what they are getting in their Christmas goodie basket!!!! This recipe is from Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Chocolate Fruit Cake

350g/12¼oz dried soft prunes, chopped
250g/8¾oz raisins
125g/4½oz currants
175g/6¼oz unsalted butter, softened
175g/6¼oz dark muscovado sugar
175ml/6¼fl oz honey
125ml/4½fl oz coffee liqueur
2 oranges, juice and zest only
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
3 free-range eggs, beaten
150g/5¼oz plain flour
75g/2½oz ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
For decoration
25g/1oz dark chocolate-covered coffee beans
edible glitter
gold mini balls
about 10 edible gold stars


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
2. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of reusable silicon baking parchment. When lining the tin with the parchment, cut the material into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it is easier to use two shorter strips of parchment, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.
3. Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
5. Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake, the cake should still be a little uncooked in the middle.
6. Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.
7. To decorate, place the chocolate-covered coffee beans in the centre of the cake and arrange the gold stars around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Then sprinkle some gold mini-balls over the whole of the cake. Sprinkle the edible glitter over the top of the cake.
It is Chicken Caesar salad for dinner tonight, will write up on this and the Nicoise tomorrow!!!! A good salad honestly can be raved about!!!


violets said...

Hi Linda

Wow the chocolate fruit cakes look fantastic your friends are lucky to receive such beautifully presented and yummy gifts.

I love the cake cases too.

Vi xx

hungryandfrozen said...

What gorgeous photos, Linda! Makes me want to make a fruitcake, now!

Georgina Ingham | CulinaryTravels said...

That looks fabulous Linda. What lucky friends you have.

The cake cases are wonderful too.

George xx

Anonymous said...

Dear Linda, I'm going to make it nest week !! It's so nice to know that you had the same thought with mine on making this to distribute to our love ones. :-)

But I'll take Pi's idea on greasing the moulds with flour and oil so i don't need the paper moulds for them. My impression of x'mas fruitcake is that they looks greatest in half-sphere shape, like those which are for sale in the shops!

Do your recepients like the cakes ? I think so :-)

Ms O said...

Your fruitcakes look divine! I've yet to make this recipe, but I do, now, have all the ingredients so I can get going.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Lea xx