Well, this Christmas cake was a surprise! I really don't care for prunes and am not a great chocolate fan. With that in mind, no doubt you wonder why I even made it....but I read so many rave reviews and it looks so luscious in her Christmas Cookbook that I decided this year I'd try it.
Let me begin by saying you don't taste the prunes at all and the cocoa is only a smokey thought in the background. It's a moist, dark and utterly divine cake for the holidays. And easy? Absolutely. The batter is actually made all in one pan and takes no time at all to throw together. It bakes for about an hour and 45 minutes, but while it's baking, all you need to do is breathe in the lovely fragrance of the cake. Trust me on this one, it will be a hit. Try to find some pretty gold stars to scatter around on the top. I just had gold glitter and balls. Silver might be pretty too.
Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake
From her book Nigella's Christmas
2 cups roughly chopped prunes
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/3 cups currants
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 cup dark muscovado sugar (or use brown sugar)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coffee liqueur
juice and zest of two oranges
1 teaspoon allspice (or pumpkin spice)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For garnishing: chocolate covered espresso beans, edible gold balls, stars and glitter
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray an 8 inch springform pan and then line the bottom with parchment. Cut a parchment collar a couple inches higher than the pan and wrap that around the inside, rather like a souffle collar.
In a large pan, combine the first 10 ingredients and place on the stove. Stir while the butter is melting and then allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Add the eggs, flours, baking powder and soda. Pour into the springform pan and bake for one hour and 45 minutes. It should be a little shiny on top, barely done in the center. Cool on a rack...it will take a while. You can wrap it in parchment and store it in an air tight container at this point or decorate and serve it.