Boozy Fruits and Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake

, from Issue #57. December, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Boozy Fruits and Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake

Combining all my favourite flavours results in one fabulous cake. With alcohol-infused fruits, spices, dark chocolate and crunchy almonds this is not your traditional Christmas cake!


100 grams pitted prunes
200 grams moist, dried figs, stems trimmed off
100 grams cranberries
400 grams fruit cake mix
350ml bottle stout
½ cup rum
3 tablespoons golden syrup
zest and juice 2 oranges
200 grams butter at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
70 grams ground almonds
100 grams whole roasted almonds, chopped roughly 
150 grams dark chocolate, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons rum for brushing onto hot cake

Frosted Almonds
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
150 grams whole skin-on roasted almonds


Grease a 24cm cake tin and line the base and sides with 2 layers of baking paper, leaving a 3cm collar above the level of the tin. (See Cook’s Tip below) 

Fruit: Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip into a bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before using.

Preheat the oven to 140°C fan bake.

Cake: Beat the butter, sugar, mixed spice and chilli together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well between each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds then gently mix into the butter mixture. Add the soaked fruits along with any liquid, the chopped almonds and chocolate and stir to combine.

Tip the mixture into the tin and level the top, then make a slight dip in the centre of the cake to help prevent it from forming a dome. Cover the surface of the cake with a circle of baking paper. 

Bake for 3½ to 4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. When testing, make sure any stickiness on the skewer isn’t just melted chocolate

Brush the extra rum over the hot cake and leave to cool completely in the tin. 

Remove from the tin but leave wrapped in the baking paper and store in an airtight container. 

If you want to feed the cake with more rum, poke holes with a thin skewer and spoon a couple of tablespoons of rum over the top once a week for 4 weeks. Makes 1 cake.

Cook’s Tips: I lined the tin with one layer of paper then sprayed this with tin spray and then lined with the second layer. I decorated the top of the cake with glacé clementines and frosted almonds. Glacé fruit can be found at food stores and good supermarkets.

Frosted Almonds: Line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the sugar, water and almonds in a medium saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar melts. It will remain slightly cloudy.

Keep stirring and after a few minutes the sugar will start to re-crystallize and the nuts will become thickly coated.

Immediately tip onto the tray and separate the nuts out with a skewer or fork. Cool completely then store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 cups.