Sweet and Simple bakes this month, for a chocolate Christmas cake.
So shopping on Friday night at Asda, for most of the ingredients I didn't have such as icing, marzipan etc... as I had stacks of mincemeat to use and most of it was very alcoholic having spent the last 9 months soaking up the best part of a bottle of brandy.
The recipe was simple in itself, see at the end of this post, and the hardest part was weighing out the ingredients. No complicated beating of eggs/sugar etc... though I did beat the butter and sugar together then added the eggs before I put in the dry ingredients. I did change the chocolate drops for grated chocolate, but that is because I forgot them on the shopping list.
My oven was a little low at 160oC, so after an hour and 15 mins I turned it up to 180oC and 45 mins later it was done perfectly. Taking it out of the oven, it smelt wonderfully chocolately and fruity.
Left to cool overnight, and Sunday afternoon was spent decorating it.. more improvisation as I hadn't been able to get hold of some glitter or chocolate shapes, so these are aero bubbles, chocolate stars, and icing shapes coloured with cocoa.
Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling
Cooking time: 1¾ -2 hours
150g (5oz) soft butter
150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (6½oz) self-raising flour
40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
400g jar of luxury mincemeat
80g (3oz) each of sultanas and raisins
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
100g packet of white chocolate chips
For decoration (decorate as you wish!)
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/electric 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Line a 20cm (8inch) cake tin (see below for instructions).
Lining the cake tin: One of the keys to success when baking a fruit cake is the preparation of the tin before you start mixing the ingredients. Because of the length of cooking time, you need to use two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment inside the tin.
Lightly butter the inside of the tin.Cut out a strip of paper about 2.5cm (1inch) longer than the outside of the tin and 5 cm (2inches) wider. (Measure using a piece of string).Fold in about 2 cm (¾ inch) along the long edge of the strip. Then make diagonal cuts along the folded edge at 2.5 cm (1inch) intervals.Fit the long strip of paper inside the tin with the folded edge sitting flat on the base. If you have a square tin fit the paper tightly into the corners. Place the tin on two sheets of greaseproof paper of baking parchment and draw around the base of the tin. Cut two pieces of paper to fit snugly into the base of the tin. Before baking, tie some thick brown paper or newspaper, which comes above the tin by about 10cm (4inches), around the edge of the tin.
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat together for a minute or two until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1¾-2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. You will probably need to cover the cake with foil towards the end of cooking to prevent the top from browning too much. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Because we hadn't had anything like this before, SOH and I cut the cake and had a slice for our tea .. SOH rated the cake 8.5 which was very good. It was moist and fruity with chocolatey overtones and perfect for christmas so I will be making another one to give to the family.