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Clementine & chocolate Christmas cake


Serves: 16-18
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:
Clementine & chocolate Christmas cake
Recipe photograph by Maja Smend

Clementine & chocolate Christmas cake

Mature the cake for at least a month before decorating and eating if you can, as it is quite crumbly when freshly baked

Serves: 16-18
timePrep time: 40 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
552Kcal
Fat
25gr
Saturates
10gr
Carbs
67gr
Sugars
56gr
Fibre
3gr
Protein
8gr
Salt
0.5gr

Debbie Major

Debbie Major

Cook, writer and food stylist, Debbie's reputation for foolproof, delicious recipes is second to none. She is renowned for her dedication to seasonal home cooking and her love of all things rustic and authentic. Simplicity over cheffy is her motto!
See more of Debbie Major’s recipes
Debbie Major

Debbie Major

Cook, writer and food stylist, Debbie's reputation for foolproof, delicious recipes is second to none. She is renowned for her dedication to seasonal home cooking and her love of all things rustic and authentic. Simplicity over cheffy is her motto!
See more of Debbie Major’s recipes

Ingredients

For day 1
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g currants
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g dried cherries
  • 100g chopped mixed peel
  • 100ml orange-flavoured liqueur, such as Cointreau, plus 3 tbsp for feeding
  • grated zest and juice of 4 clementines (about 8 tbsp)
For day 2
  • 200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 200g soft salted butter
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp fine-cut marmalade
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g blanched hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 50g blanched almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped

Step by step

Get ahead
Make up to 3 months ahead, keep well-wrapped. Once decorated, store in an airtight container.
  1. The day before baking the cake, put the dried fruits, chopped mixed peel, orange liqueur and clementine zest and juice into a large saucepan. Bring up to the boil, turning the fruits over as you do so, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Tip into a mixing bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2. Move one of the shelves so that it is towards the bottom of the oven. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm round cake tin with baking paper. Tie a thick, wide strip of folded newspaper or brown paper around the outside of the tin and lay another folded newspaper on a baking sheet and put the cake tin on top (this stops the outside of the cake cooking too quickly).
  3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool.
  4. Sift the flour and spices together into a bowl. Whisk the butter in another large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer until it is creamy, then add the muscovado sugar and vanilla and beat well for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a tablespoonful of the flour mixture with the second and third egg to help stop the mixture from curdling.
  5. Fold in the remaining flour mixture followed by the melted chocolate, soaked fruits and any soaking liquid, the marmalade, ground almonds and chopped nuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level with a spoon. Push the handle of a wooden spoon halfway down into the mixture at intervals all over the cake – this helps keep the top flat.
  6. Tear off a double thickness sheet of baking paper, large enough to cover the top of the tin generously, and cut a hole in the centre, about the size of a 10p coin. Lay on top of the cake tin, transfer to the oven, and bake for 2 ¾ - 3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and discard the lining paper. Wrap in clean baking paper then foil, flat base-side up, and store in a cool, dark place. The next day, unwrap the cake and spike the base with a skewer. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the remaining orange liqueur and re-wrap. Repeat the feeding process twice more as the cake matures, leaving at least a week to dry out before decorating so that the icing won’t discolour.
    Tip
    DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES:
    You can also bake this in a deep 23cm round tin, or a 20cm square tin. Both will take 21⁄4-23⁄4 hours to bake.

    WANT A SMALLER CAKE?
    Halve the quantities and bake in a deep 18cm round tin, for 11⁄2-13⁄4 hours.

    MAKE IT GF Use GF self-raising flour and add 1⁄2 tsp xanthan gum. The GF flour will need more liquid, so add the juice of 2 extra clementines (or 1 orange) when making the cake batter.

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