Sunday 18 December 2011

WSC Fruitcake with Chocolate II and our tree

We have had a lot of sweet food lately.  Not all for myself, mind you.  We've given lebkuchen and chocolate biscuits as presents, taken rocky road to my parents' place and had Christmas cake maturing in the cupboards.  I had promised myself to open the cake this weekend when we decorated our Christmas tree and then one at my mum and dad's.  I loved it though others were less enthusiastic.

The Chocolate and Fig Fruitcake recipe came from Lucy of the Kitchen Maid blog.  I first tried a Chocolate Fruitcake on the blog a few years ago.  It tasted fantastic but I was disappointed at just how little I could taste the chocolate because it was melted into the batter.  Lucy's recipe was full of chunks of chocolate and fancy dried fruit throughout the cake.  Just my sort of thing!  I finally found time one evening and mixed the cake by hand in front of the telly and got it in the oven by 10pm.  Later than I had intended.

I found my notes from the previous fruitcake blog post useful in reminding me about lining the tin.  Lucy said not to worry but I am more paranoid than that.  I used a 20cm square tin but it is a really tall cake.  In future I would use a 22 or 23 cm square tin.  The paper helps the cake to cook evenly and I would do this again.  I just use good quality paper bags from shops (thanks Readings and Gewurzhaus).  And I remembered to take off the sticky tape before putting the cake in the oven.

The cake cooked for 3 hours!  At 1am, I turned off the oven, left the cake in while it cooled and went to bed.   In the morning, the cake was still slightly warm.  It wasn't until the next evening that I took it out of the tin and wrapped it up to mature.  Unlike some recipes I don't feed mine with booze.  I am not brave enough, nor does it seem necessary or even desirable to me.

On Saturday morning, we got a tree from a nearby church (where sales contributed to the restoration fund) and decorated it.  When E had his gardening gloves on to avoid getting resin on his hands when handling the tree, Sylvia used socks on her hands as gloves.  However she was most interested in the remote control for the lights settings.  She also contributed some sparkly cut-outs for the tree that she had made at nursery.  I've talked about our other Christmas decorations before so wont go into detail this year, suffice to day I love the memories attached to each ornament.

I am still adjusting to my new camera so I didn't quite get the photos of the cake I would have liked but this one shows the texture inside.  I love how fruitcakes are so dense that the fruit can't sink to the bottom.  The main risks are that it will be too dry or too soggy.  This fruitcake was perfect.  Moist and full of flavour.  E and Sylvia love the soft chunks of chocolate but not the fruitcake.  My mum and dad loved the fruitcake but not the chocolate.  For me, this is a fruitcake that has enough chocolate to satisfy.  Not for everyone but I recommend you try it anyway.  It is truly decadent.  Full of seasonal good cheer.

Lastly I am sending the fruitcake to Choclette and Chele for We Should Cocoa.  The theme this month is oranges.  I hope mine host, Choclette, wont mind that the orange is not the star of the show.  This cake depends on orange juice, orange zest and some orange chocolate for its depth of flavour.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Pumpkin ravioli and nutroast
This time two years ago: The Witchery - Scottish Fine Dining
This time three years ago: Scones - plain and simple
This time four years ago: Leek Tofu Quiche and Red Pepper Coulis

Chocolate and Fig Fruitcake
Adapted from Peta Mathias via Kitchenmaid

500g dried figs, cut in quarters
200g prunes, cut in quarters
100g dried cranberries
100g dried sour cherries, halved
50g slivered almonds
whisky and juice for soaking fruit
600g dark chocolate, (I used 500g of 70% and 100g of orange chocolate)
50g slivered almonds
300g butter
300g brown sugar
1tbsp treacle
5 eggs
grated zest of two oranges
2tbsp whisky or brandy or rum
350g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp salt

Soak the fruit in a large bowl, covered in a mixture of whisky and orange juice for at about 24 hours, stirring occasionally.  There should be enough liquid for quite a bit of sloshing about in the bowl.  I checked mine after 12 hours and it had soaked up the liquid (juice of an orange and slurp of whisky) so I added a slurp of pomegranate juice and more whisky (at least 1/4 cup of it).  If your fruit doesn't soak up all the liquid, you can drink it or use it for other cooking.

When you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 160 C and line a cake tin.  I lined a 20cm square cake tin with a few layers of old paper bags and some baking paper.  (Lucy at Kitchenmaid used a 24cm round cake tin.)

Drain the fruit if there is any soaking liquid that hasn't been absorbed by the fruit.  Chop the chocolate into small bits and stir into the fruit with the almonds.  Set aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and treacle.  (I did this by hand)  Beat in eggs one by one and then add orange zest and 2 tbsp of whisky or booze of choice.  Gently stir in flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add the fruit mixture and stir to combine.  This is a large amount of mixture and you will need a large bowl and a wooden spoon.

Spoon cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.  Bake at 160 C for 90 minutes.  The recipe said to turn it down to 150 C but I left it at 160 C for another 90 minutes.  I tried the skewer in the cake to test if it was ready.  The skewer came out clean after about 2 hours but the middle of the cake still felt a bit soft to touch so I covered it with a few layers of brown paper and left my cake in another hour - so my cake was in about 3 hours all up.  It still seemed a bit soft in the middle so I turned off the oven and left the cake in there as it cooled.

Once cool - it took some time because it wasn't even completely cool by the next morning - I removed it from the tin and unwrapped the paper.  Then I wrapped the cake in foil and placed it in an airtight container in the cupboard.  I left mine wrapped for 2 weeks before cutting it open and it was lovely.

On the stereo:
The Flying Club Cup - Beirut


  1. Oh how I would like to try a slice of that Johanna. It looks so luxurious. Just wonderful!

  2. Chocolate and fig sounds an amazing combo - love how dark and rich the cake looks

  3. How beautiful is your tree!?!? Love it! I can imagine a slice if that chocolate studded fruit cake and a tree decorating party in the lovely southern hemisphere summer and feel a little jealous right about now lol

  4. LOve the fig and choc combination! What a great idea!

  5. Yum looks delicious - must try a chocolate fruitcake! x

  6. After all my words on how I don't like fruitcake...perhaps I should just have come to you :) This looks like one I might just enjoy! I love it's differences from the standard, and of course chocolate is always welcome.

  7. The tree looks wonderful! And I love Fruit Cake!

  8. Chocolate and fig fruitcake? Oh my! That sounds amazing! :o

  9. Johanna, I think your photos are amazing!! Bravo! (Can't comment on the fruitcake. You know me and orange ;) )

  10. What a stunning looking cake Johanna. It looks perfectly moist and delicious. I'm amazed by the amount of chocolate in it though - 600g is more than is in most of the chocolate cakes I make! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, even if others weren't so keen.

    I love the top picture - with Sylvia's little hand reaching out towards the plate you've so carefully arranged :-)

  11. Johanna - your cake looks wonderfully chocolatey and moist. Getting a Christmas cake just right is quite a hard task, although I agree about it not needing to be fed with booze. With orange juice and zest and orange chocolate I can hardly object to it as your WSC entry. Thank you for participating. Sylvia's tree decorations are lovely too. Just in case I don't manage to get to your blog again before Christmas, I hope you all have a lovely one.

  12. 600g of chocolate! What's not to like I say. I love fruit and chocolate together, unfortunately Mr Chocolate thinks they should never be teamed together so I very rarely get to make things like this.
    Happy Christmas Johanna.

  13. Any woman who can work out how to get chocolate into a Xmas cake is pretty splendid in my books!
    Love the look of your tree. Ours isn't up yet, but yours reminds me of the days when the kids used to love to decorate it and put every, single thing they could find or had ever made on it! They're a little less excited about these days - but that might be a good thing. ;-)

  14. I agree, I love the memories with each ornament. The homemade ornaments are the best! I've never seen a chocolate fig fruitcake before. Sounds interesting!

  15. Mmm, fig and chocolate fruitcake sounds right up my alley.

  16. Thanks Jac - the chocolate really adds to the luxuriousness

    Thanks Caked Crusader - the actual cake was originally is not as dark as I expected but I think it has got a bit darker with age

    Thanks Chele - lovely to hear from you - and would have loved you to come along to the tree decorating and share some cake with you :-)

    Thanks lisa - it is a great seasonal combo

    Thanks LPATRi11 - yes do try it

    Thanks Kari - not all fruitcakes are equal - hope you might find one you love - highly recommend this one

    Thanks Anh - fruit cake is amazing - the smell of this in our kitchen is truly wonderful when I open the cake tin

    Thanks Lorraine - yes yes yes

    Thanks Hannah - the original recipe called for lemon but I am more of an orange type of girl but you might like the lemon flavour better, I suspect

    Thanks C - Sylvia is a rascal when I am taking photos - and you are right that it has an extraordinary amount of chocolate - even more surprising is that lucy reduced the amount from the original recipe but I think this is enough

    Thanks Choclette - glad you are happy for it to be in the WSC stable - I think my experiences of orange and chocolate is mostly this way - and it works wonderfully even though you might not at first think orange

    Thanks Brydie - shame Mr Chocolate doesn't appreciate this fine flavour combination - hope you sneak it in occasionally

    Thanks Amanda - it hasn't been easy - my first attempt at chocolate in a fruit cake was not quite what I expected but this is amazing - good luck with getting up your tree

    Thanks Ashley - home made ornaments are great (except blobs of clay with a coke can ring pull buried in them - those always amused us). I've never seen a recipe like this so I couldn't resist trying it

    thanks Cakelaw - oh I think you would love it

  17. I am so pleased you like it - and to all the commenters, it really IS the most wonderful cake ever. It also makes a fantastic wedding cake, should you be that way inclined. Merry Christmas!

  18. That does look like a spectacular fruitcake! I'm not usually a fan of fruit in cakes, but I do happen to like traditional fruitcake--so with the added chocolate here, I'd be in heaven. And I'm amazed that those bags don't begin to burn in the oven!

    Your tree is lovely. . . enjoy and have a happy Christmas around it! :)


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