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Chocolate Fruit Cake


350 grams prunes

250 grams raisins

125 grams currants

50 grams piece candied orange peel

175 grams soft unsalted butter

175 grams dark brown musocvado sugar

175 ml runny honey

125 ml tia maria or coffee liqueur

2-3 oranges (juice and zest)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

4 tablespoons cocoa

3 large eggs beaten

150 grams plain flour

75 grams ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda


Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/300F/gas mark 2 and prepare a 20cm x 9cm deep, round, loose-bottomed cake tin by lining the bottom and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.

Put the fruits, butter, sugar, honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, spice and cocoa powder into a large, wide saucepan and gently bring to the boil, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up – it will have cooled a little, but you can leave it for longer if you want – add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.

Pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for one and three quarters to 2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm but will have a shiny, sticky look. If you insert a cake tester or skewer into it, the cake will still be a little gooey in the middle.

Put the cake, still in its tin, on a wire cooling rack – it will hold its heat and take a while to cool, once cool, take it out of the tin and, if you don’t want to eat it immediately (like any fruit cake it has a long life), wrap it in baking parchment or greaseproof paper then in foil and store in a cake or other airtight tin.

To decorate, though this is optional, place the chocolate-covered coffee beans in the centre of the cake and arrange the gold stars around the perimeter of the top. Then sprinkle some gold mini-balls over the whole cake, and the edible glitter over the top, not minding that you will be a-glitter yourself for a while.

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