Chocolate Christmas cake might sound a bit odd, but once you've tried it you may well never go back to the traditional kind. Just a touch of chocolate in this mixture gives it a heavenly rich flavour and helps it appeal to younger guests, too!
- 100g (4oz) each sultanas and raisins
- 125g (4½oz) dried figs, chopped into 1cm (½in) pieces
- 75ml (3fl oz) port
- 150g (5oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 50g (2oz) treacle
- 100g (4oz) golden syrup
- 150g (5oz) plain flour
- ½tsp each mixed spice, ground cinnamon and baking powder
- 150g (5oz) butter, softened
- 125g (4½oz) soft dark brown sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- to decorate
- 454g pack ready-to-roll marzipan
- icing sugar, to dust
- a few tbsp apricot jam, sieved, or Dr. Oetker Apricot Baking Glaze
- you will need
- 20cm (8in) round cake tin, greased and double lined with baking parchment; cook's blowtorch (optional); star cutter; Dr. Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray
Place all the dried fruit and port in a large bowl, and leave to soak overnight.
Heat the oven to 140C, 120C fan, 275F, gas 1. To make the cake, melt the chocolate with the treacle and syrup in a medium saucepan over a gentle heat. Mix well to combine and leave to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and baking powder.
Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light, pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs; add 1tbsp flour to prevent curdling. Fold in the flour and spice mix.
Fold in the melted chocolate mix and soaked fruits. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Place on a low shelf in the oven and cook for 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
To decorate, roll out the marzipan on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to around 3mm (⅛in) thick and cut out a 20cm (8in) circle. Heat the jam in a pan, spread over the top of the cake and cover with the marzipan. The best way is to turn the cake upside down on to the marzipan, then trim to fit. Smooth to remove any lumps. Roll out the marzipan trimmings and cut out stars with a star cutter. Place around the edge of the cake, sticking them down with a little jam. If you like, blowtorch the top of the cake to brown, then spray with the gold spray.