Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake
November 30, 2014
- 12 ozs Pitted Prunes
- 13 1/4 ozs Currants
- 13 1/4 ozs Raisins
- 1 Bottle 2012 Port
- 2 Sticks of butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 juiced orange
- 1 zest of orange (finely grated)
- 1/3 cup treacle
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 7 ozs dark cooking chocolate, chopped
- 8 3/4 ozs glace cherries
- 7 ozs walnuts, halved
- Brown paper- enough to wrap a double layer around the cake tin
Notice: this recipe is meant to be initiated a week or two prior to completion!
- Use a pair of scissors to cut up the prunes. Combine prunes, currants, raisins and 1 cup of the port together in a large bowl and mix well. Allow to stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, spray a deep 23cm-round (9") cake tin with cooking oil, then line the base and sides of the tin with two layers of baking (silicone) paper- bringing the paper 5cm (2") above the rim of the tin.
- When the fruit has been soaking for two hours, preheat the oven to a slow 160C (310F). Add the orange rind, juice and treacle to the fruit mixture and stir to combine.
- Place the chopped chocolate, cherries and walnuts into a mixing bowl. Add the sifted flours and spices to this bowl and stir lightly to combine. Set aside.
- Now, chop the butter into smallish pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until the color of the butter changes to pale yellow. Add vanilla and beat for an extra minute. Add sugar and beat until the mixture looks light and creamy and all the sugar crystals have dissolved. (This is an important step- if the sugar crystals don't dissolve your cake will develop a crusty top). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the butter and egg mixture to the fruit and mix well. Next, add the flour mixture to the fruit, and stir lightly with a wooden spoon until just combined. (Do not beat the mixture or the cake will be tough- a light hand ensures a good cake). Then Spoon the batter evenly into the cake tin. Run your hand under the tap and then use it to smooth the top of the cake, then wrap a double thickness of brown paper around the tin and secure it with string.
- Place the cake in the center of the pre-heated 160c (310F) oven and bake for 3- 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and, while still hot, pour over ¼ of a cup of extra port. Wrap the cake (tin and all) in a thick, clean towel. Keep wrapped for at least 24 hours, or until the cake is completely cold. Then Store the cake, well covered, in its tin in a cool, dry place- or in the refrigerator. Then, each week before Christmas, use a skewer to poke several holes in the top of the cake and pour over a little more port- this is called 'feeding' the cake. Close to Christmas, you can ice this cake with frosting if you wish, but it will still be spectacularly good without it. Serve small portions as this cake is very, very rich.