Spiced chocolate, walnut and fruit cake
Serves 18-20 | total time
- 250g pitted dates, roughly chopped
- 150g dried cranberries or cherries
- 250g sultanas
- 250g raisins
- 150ml golden or dark rum
- juice and zest of 1 large orange
For the cake mixture
- 275g butter, at room temperature
- 275g dark muscovado sugar
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 350g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 200g walnuts, roughly chopped
Soak the fruit the day before baking. This cake should be matured for at least 2 weeks for eating, and will keep for up to 3 months wrapped and stored in a cake tin in a cool place.
- Put all the dried fruits in a bowl, pour over the rum and orange juice and add the orange zest. Stir and cover with clingfilm then leave to soak overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1. Line a deep 18cm round cake tin with a double layer of baking paper, making sure it comes 5cm above the top of the tin, as the mixture will come just above the rim of the cake tin. Wrap a strip of double thickness brown paper, the same height as the baking paper, around the outside of the tin and secure with string.
- Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 4-5 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the eggs a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and spices and fold in well. Stir the chopped chocolate and walnuts into the soaked fruit mix, then fold it all into the cake mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top, tapping the tin onto the work surface to ensure there are no air pockets.
- Bake in the oven for 4 hours 45 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean with just a few moist crumbs (avoid hitting pieces of chocolate!). If the skewer is sticky with raw cake mixture, cook for another 15 minutes then test again. Cool the cake for an hour in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack, removing the tin and paper; leave to cool upside down.
- When cold, wrap the cake in a double layer of baking paper and foil. If you wish to feed your cake during the maturing time, pierce it all over with a skewer or cocktail stick and drizzle 1 tbsp rum over the top and base of the cake every fortnight or so as it matures, using up to 6 tbsp in total. Don't feed the cake for the final week before you ice it, to allow the surface to dry out.