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My chocolate orange christmas cake recipe

Here we go, last week I baked my christmas cake and here is my promised recipe to you, a bit of an early christmas present :)  This is the recipe for the cake only, but later in december I will show you how I decorate it. I dont like icing, so I like to decorate it with nuts and fruits, a bit like a florentine. But more of that later in december. This cake would also work well as a wedding cake, something a bit different.

firstly you will need............


200g of french glace cherries.
500g of mixed dried fruit.
50g   of chopped flaked almonds.
50g   of chopped nuts.
200g of unsalted butter.
200g of dark muscavado sugar.
200ml of runny honey.
25ml bottle of brandy essence.
3 large oranges, all their zests and juice
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger.
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cloves.
4 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder.
4 eggs.
170g of organic plain flour.
80g of ground almonds.
a level teaspoon of baking powder.
a level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
and a wee bit of butter for greasing  the tins.


silver foil.
one very large mixing bowl  ( or use a kitchen aid mixer if you have one, I sadly dont own one, but would love one ! )
a large metal spoon for hand mixing.
one circular cake tin.( I used a 9 inch diameter one that was 2.5 inches deep, and then put the remaining mixture in a small loaf tin, so there is some fruit cake to eat now :) but use whatever you wish. )
a small pan.
a grater
and least we not forget an oven. :)


The first thing I do is get the oven on, set it at 150c or 300f or gas mark 2.
Also switch on radio 4 extra if you have it, as we have alot of work to do ! :)

Beat all the eggs together with a fork and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Chop up all your lovely french glace cherries, I like mine in halves and quarters, once chopped, toss them into the large mixing bowl with the eggs.

Then add to the bowl all your lovely dried fruit, your chopped almonds, chopped nuts, and muscovado sugar.

then give them a bit of a whirl, or stir with a large metal spoon. ( or a quick blitz in the mixer )

The next thing we do is add the organic plain flour, the ground almonds, the baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda. Then give them all a bit of a whirl with a spoon or a whizz in the mixer.

find yourself a nice lil pan and turn on a ring on your cooker, inside the pan put the butter and runny honey, allow them to melt down and set them aside and let them cool down. Once cool pop them into the mixing bowl .

Now you need to grate the zest from all your large oranges and add all that beautiful fragrant zest to the mixture, and then add the juice from all of your oranges too !

Give it all, a spin with the spoon or mixer.

Finally you add all the brandy essence, the ground ginger,the ground cloves , and all that lovely cocoa powder.

Now its time to get beating, if doing it by hand , or whizzing if in the mixer. But not too much, just enough so that everything is happily mixed together. Its hard work if you hand mix like me, but the smell is divine :)

Now grease your tin, or tins.

Pour the mixture in  and spread evenly and pop inside your oven that was preheated earlier and at temperature.

Now its a waiting game, as cooking times can vary, but it will take over an hour at least. I personally allow it to firm up and cook a little on top , then I stick my beak in the oven to have a good look, then at this point I add a sheet of silver foil on the top to prevent burning, but you could use baking paper instead.

I make a nice pot of tea and clean up the kitchen , as I do make a mess and listen to my radio.

when you think your cake is smelling cooked or looking cooked, push a skewer ( or a long thin and clean screw ) into the centre and pull out. If there is no runny mixture there in , it is time to take Mr Cake out.

Once cool he goes into a tin and I treat him nicely with a weekly brush all over his skin with brandy, and then on the 20th of december or there abouts he gets his clothes on, or should I say gets decorated :) Which as I promised I will also show you how. If like me you have extra mixture, you can make another pot of tea and slice up the extra fruit cake that you made and enjoy :)  

an idea +++
-you could make about 4 smaller cakes if you wanted to make these as presents, theres enough mixture here to fill 4 loaf tins.

Well I do hope you love making this cake and sharing it with others as much as I do, and in december I will happily show you my process of decorating. Next week I will give my recipe for mince pies with a crumble top, so keep your peepers peeled and get ready fro christmas !

love always,
Miss D 
x  x  x

Happy pancake day or shrove tuesday, with something a bit different............. its Tunisian Orange cake, as I dont like pancakes but love this cake, so have it instead, althought the children will still be wanting pancakes too !


300g caster sugar
6 eggs
150g ground almonds
250ml of sunflower oil
100g of brown or wholemeal bread crumbs
Zest of one large lemon and one large orange
2 teaspoons of baking powder

For the sugar syrup

juice of one lemon and one orange, both large.
1 cinnamon stick
75g caster sugar
16 cloves

After the cake is cool
the juice of another lemon !

combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
break the eggs into another bowl and whisk into the sunflower oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Then pour into a greased and lined 9inch circular cake tin and bake
for around 40 mins at 180 degrees (fan170) gas mark 4.

For the syrup mixture to pour ontop.
Whilst the cake is baking, combine all the sugar syrup ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 mins.

When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce it all over the top ith a skewer and pour the mixture on top, removing the clovers and cinnamon stick.

Whilst cold, pour the juice of another lemon on the top and eat.

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