Chocolate Christmas fruit cake recipe | Bristol Foodie

I find it hard to stomach Nigella Lawson. But, she does make the most completely indulgent, guilt-laden delicious food. This fruit cake, taken from her Feast cookbook, is no exception. I’m usually against taking a good thing and tampering with it, and I’m the world’s biggest fan of the traditional Christmas cake, but here the chocolate takes a back seat and still lets the fruit do all the talking. Not only does it look fantastic when decorated with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprig of holly, but it keeps for ages making it the perfect present. I’ll be taking mine round to my granny and grampa’s tomorrow. Might need a forklift to deliver this one – it weighs a tonne!


  • 350g prunes
  • 250g raisins
  • 125g currants
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175ml honey
  • 125ml Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 150C, Gas mark 2. Takes 3 hours to make – but so worth it. Easily makes 10 generous slices.

  1. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round pop-off-able bottomed cake tin with a layer of butter and baking paper, making sure the paper is twice as high as the tin.
  2. In a large saucepan, add all of the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, liqueur, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Gently stir and boil the mixture before letting it simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.
  3. When cooler, add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate soda and mix well until combined.
  4. Pour into the lined cake tin and bake for 1¾-2 hours. It should be firm but still gooey in the middle – test with a fork.
  5. Cool and remove from tin. You can decorate as you wish. I dusted mine with icing sugar and a sprig of holly. But blueberries, sheets of icing, gold sugar balls and chocolate also look good.
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