Packed with fragrant spices, sticky fruit, rich dark chocolate and a generous amount of booze, this should appeal to even those who think they aren’t keen on Christmas cake.
200ml very strong brewed English breakfast tea
⅓ cup rum
400 grams mixed dried fruit
⅓ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons golden syrup
finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon and 1 orange
175 grams butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, size 7, lightly beaten
1¾ cups plain flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons each ground cinnamon, cardamom and ginger
½ teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg and black pepper
150 grams dark chocolate, 62% cocoa, roughly chopped (I used Whittaker’s Fijian Ginger and Mandarin)
¼ cup caster sugar
1 egg white
½ cup sliced almonds
Fruit: Place all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and slowly bring to just below the boil, stirring occasionally. Tip into a large bowl and leave overnight.
Grease a 22cm x 22cm x 9cm-deep square cake tin and fully line with baking paper.
Wrap the outside of the tin in 4 layers of newspaper or brown paper and secure with string. This helps prevent the outside of the cake from overbrowning during cooking.
Preheat the oven to 140°C fan bake.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time.
Combine the flour, baking powder and all the spices together and gently beat in.
Add the soaked fruit mixture, along with any liquid left in the bowl, and the chocolate. Combine well ensuring there are no pockets of flour in the batter.
Spoon into the cake tin and smooth the top.
Bake for 3 hours or until cooked, covering the top loosely with a piece of foil after 2 hours. To test, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and it should come out clean.
Leave to cool completely in the tin. Makes 1 cake
Cook's tip: Store the cake well-wrapped in baking paper then a clean tea towel in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. We decorated our cake with sugared almonds and candied orange and lemon peel.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Combine the sugar and egg white in a bowl. Don’t whisk the egg white. Gently stir in the almonds until well coated.
Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a lined baking tray and bake,
turning once until golden. The mixture will puff up and be soft and super sticky but will become crisp on cooling.
Leave to cool on the tray then break into small pieces and store in an airtight container.