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Sour Cherry, Orange and Chocolate Fruit (Christmas) Cake

Sour Cherry, Orange and Chocolate Fruit (Christmas) Cake

200g dried Cranberries
200g dried Sour Cherries
150g Candied Orange slices (finely diced)
200g Currants
75ml Brandy
3 teaspoons Vanilla extract
200g Butter
200g dark brown Sugar
150g dark Chocolate (70%) broken into pieces

200g self-raising Flour
100g ground Almonds
3 Tablespoons Cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger

3 Eggs, lightly whisked to combine

– The day prior put the Cranberries, Sour Cherries candied Orange pieces and Currants into a bowl with the Brandy and Vanilla, cover and leave overnight.
– In a large saucepan add the butter, dark brown Sugar, Chocolate pieces and add the Brandy and Vanilla soaked fruit to it. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until everything has melted together. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
– Heat oven to 150 degrees C (130C fan forced).
– Line a 20cm round or 18cm square deep loose bottomed cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. Allow the paper lining the sides to extend above the cake tin rim by 5cms.
– Fold a double of layer of newspaper into a strip long and high enough to go around the outside of the Cake tin, then wrap the strip of newspaper in foil and fold it to enclose so that you end up with a long strip of foil enclosed paper and wrap it around the outside and secure with string or Paper clips. (The foil wrapped newspaper and the paper lining extending well above the cake will assist in it making it cook evenly, reducing drying/catching on the cake edge and helping the cake to rise evenly.)
– In a separate bowl mix together the Flour, Cocoa, Almonds, and Spices.
– Fold the whisked eggs into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture (it should be below 45 degrees C) in the saucepan, then add the flour mixture and mix, folding until all of the flour is combined.
– Pour, and scrape the batter into your prepared tin, then with wet hands pat the top of the batter to make it even.
– Bake for 1 1/2 hrs- 1 3/4 hrs or until a skewer inserted into the cake centre comes out clean.
– Cool in the tin, and then decorate if/when required.

If the cake is wrapped in Greaseproof/Baking paper it will keep and mature for 2 months in an airtight container.

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