I love fruitcakes, maybe because they always remind me of Christmas cake but definitely because they always go well with a cup of tea. With a month to go until Christmas now it seemed like an appropriate time to post this. So, If you’ve not got yours done yet then now you’ve no excuse. I thought it was strange not to soak the fruit in alcohol before using it but it saved me buying a bottle of brandy and in fact I’d say this cake doesn’t really need it. It’s called a ‘black’ Christmas cake which is quite accurate. The spiciness of the cloves and richness of the prunes really come through, especially when it’s wrapped up and left a while. Even though it wasn’t fed with alcohol the cake was still really moist, even more so after being left for a few weeks.
Black Christmas cake:
- 500ml stout (I used Guinness)
- 200g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp groung mace
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 375g dried mixed fruit
- 150g prunes, chopped
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 200g chopped glace ginger
- 200g muscovado sugar
- 175g black treacle
- 3 eggs
- 250g wholemeal flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
Line a 20cm cake tin with non stick baking paper – I’d suggest double lining it and make sure it goes up higher than the baking tin.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
It might be worth having a look at Delia Smith’s ‘how to make a Christmas cake’ if you want to make sure your cake is really protected. I wish I had!
Heat the Guinness in a saucepan, bring it to the boil and then allow it to simmer until you’re left with just 100ml of liquid.
While that’s reducing get all your fruit ready and place it in a bowl with the orange extract.
Add the butter to the reduced Guinness and allow it to melt.
Stir in the spices.
Beat in the sugar and treacle then pour the mix over the dried fruit.
Beat the eggs separately then stir them into the fruity mix.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and then beat this into the rest of the mix.
Bake for 2 – 2 ½ hours until a skewer inserted comes out with just the odd crumb.
If you’ve not gone for Delia’s protective method then cover the top with tinfoil if the cake starts looking too dark.
Now, I’ve had a rant before about my dodgy oven and this is why my mini cakes came about. The cake is a ‘black’ Christmas cake so obviously it was going to be dark, but my black Christmas cake was a just a burnt Christmas cake. Well, it wasn’t that bad but it was slightly overdone and chewy. I was absolutely gutted thinking the whole cake would be dry but when I cut it in half to check the inside was beautifully moist. So, I set to work mutiliating a morning’s hard work. I cut off the slightly burned chewier bits and then made what was left into squares which I wrapped in cling film and left for a couple of days before decorating.
- 500g Marzipan
- 500g fondant icing
- Apricot jam
- Icing sugar
Brush the squares with melted apricot jam just as you would a normal Christmas cake, and wrap them with marzipan.
Press the marzipan firmly down around the corner and trim the excess off at the base.
Wrap in cling film and leave for a day.
Repeat the process, without the jam, using your fondant icing.
Use a bit of icing sugar when rolling your marzipan or icing to make sure it doesn’t stick, I’d also recommend chilling them a bit beforehand so they don’t get sticky and pull apart easily.
Decorate them as you like! I had loads of random fondant icing colours in my cupboard I thought I’d best use up but you could do all sorts.
The cakes were a hit and even my hardest to please housemate absolutely loved them. I certainly wouldn’t complain if I was served a nice big slice of this on Christmas day.