This is one rich and decadent hazelnut chocolate fruit cake. Jam packed with fruit and booze as any good fruit cake should be. Hazelnuts add a delicious nutty element. I even whack some Nutella in for good measure.
I'm going to say it. This is one MOIST fruit cake. I don't use just one alcohol element, but two. The fruit mixture is soaked in Frangelico and brandy. Then given a good brush with more Frangelico after baking.
This is a good last minute Christmas fruit cake. Best made a couple of weeks before, but just as delicious made a couple of days before.
You will need at least 24 hours to soak the fruit, then another 24 hours after baking before decorating with cocoa powder and hazelnuts.
- Dried Fruit: I use raisins, dates and prunes in this recipe. Combined they add a very rich element to the hazelnut chocolate fruit cake and work well with the chosen alcohol.
- Alcohol: I went for a combination of Frangelico and brandy. The brandy cuts the sweetness of the Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) and adds a stronger booze factor.
- Nuts: Hazelnuts are king in this recipe. Enhanced by the Frangelico, and the use of Nutella. You can't swap them out for something else, the whole recipe is centred around the flavour.
- Chocolate: The chocolate factor of this cake comes in the form of cocoa powder. It is used in the cake and also to decorate. The Nutella adds another chocolate element.
- Spice: Like all good fruit cakes spices are used. In this case, it is subtle, a small amount of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Recipe Walk Through
Soaking the Fruit
The more time your fruit has to soak in the Frangelico and brandy the better. The aim is to have the fruit soak up all the booze to become plump and bursting with flavour.
A week is optimal, but 24 hours will do in a pinch. Put the fruit, hazelnut liqueur, and brandy in a glass or plastic container. Mix well and store in the fridge until needed. Give it a shake or stir every day to ensure the fruit is soaking up that alcohol evenly.
Preparing the Cake Tin
Fruit cakes in general spend a long time in the oven compared to any other cake you will bake. Preparing the cake tin is important to protect the cake.
Invest in a good quality, thick walled cake tin. It will last you your lifetime, your children's and then end up in the hands of your grandchildren one day. Round or square, it doesn't matter, go for the shape you like.
Line the cake tin with three layers of baking paper, extending it up the sides by 5cm (2 inches). Then wrap a couple of layers of brown paper around the outside of the cake tin, extending it up the sides by 5cm (2 inches). Secure the brown paper with kitchen string.
Making the Cake Mixture
This is a standard cake recipe. No ninja moves are needed. You cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Fruit is mixed into the wet ingredients. Then the dry ingredients are added. It all gets scooped into the prepared tin for baking.
Giving the Hazelnut Chocolate Fruit Cake a Drink
After pulling the cake out of the oven the cakes gets a final drink. A good brush with Frangelico while the cake is still hot.
The top of the cake tin is covered in foil, and then wrapped in a clean towel and left to cool overnight. This allows it to soak in its final drink.
Decorating the cake
Very simple to decorate. A dusting of cocoa powder and then a random sprinkle of toasted whole hazelnuts.
There is one important thing to note. Make sure the cake has had at least 24 hours to soak up that final drink you gave it of Frangelico. If the cake is still wet on the surface, when you dust it with cocoa powder the cocoa powder will soak up the moisture and become wet.
Rich Hazelnut Chocolate Fruit Cake
- deep round cake tin 22cm (9 inch) or deep square cake tin 19cm (8 inch)
- stand mixer or electric beaters + mixing bowl
- 375 grams (2½ cups) sultanas
- 375 grams (2½ cups) raisins | coarsley chopped
- 210 grams (1½ cups) dates | seeded and coarsely chopped
- 240 grams (1¼ cups) prunes | pitted and coarsely chopped
- 160 mls (two thirds cup) Frangelico | or other hazelnut liqueur
- 160 mls (two thirds cup) brandy
- 185 grams (6 ounces) butter | softened and chopped
- 85 grams (¼ cup) Nutella | or other chocolate hazelnut spread
- 220 grams (1 cup) brown sugar | firmly packed cup
- 4 eggs
- 260 grams (1¾ cups) plain flour | all purpose flour
- 25 grams (¼ cup) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 140 grams (1 cup) roasted hazelnuts | chopped
- 65 mls (¼ cup) Frangelico extra | for final brush after baking
- extra cocoa powder for dusting
- extra roasted hazelnuts for decorating
Soak the Fruit
- Place fruit, Frangelico, and brandy in a large glass bowl or container. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, or up to a week.If soaking for a week give the fruit a stir or shake everyday to ensure it soaks evenly.
Prepare the Cake Tin
- Line a deep round cake tin 22cm (9 inch), or deep square cake tin 19cm (8 inch) with three layers of baking paper, extending it up the sides by 5cm (2 inches).
- Then wrap a couple of layers of brown paper around the outside of the cake tin, extending it up the sides by 5cm (2 inches). Secure the brown paper with kitchen string.
Make the Cake
- In a large bowl beat butter, Nutella and sugar until just combined.
- Preheat oven 150°C (300°F).
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined between each egg addition.
- Pour fruit mixture into the butter mixture and stir until combined.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon into the fruit and butter mixture. Add hazelnuts and mix until combined.
- Put fruit cake mixture in the prepared cake tin. Spread mixture and flatten the top of the cake.
- Place cake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 3½ hours or until cooked. To test if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer and it should come out clean.
- Brush hot cake with extra Frangelico.
- Cover the top of the cake with a layer of foil. Then wrap the entire cake tin in a clean towel. Leave the cake to cool and rest for 25 hours (minimum overnight).
Decorate the Cake
- Once the cake has cooled and rested dust with cocoa powder and place roasted hazelnuts on top.
All measurements are Australian metric standard. All measures are level, and cups are lightly packed unless specified. 1 teaspoon = 5ml / 1 tablespoon = 20mls / 1 cup = 250ml /4 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon.
- 1 teaspoon equals 5ml
- 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml (Nth America, NZ & UK use 15ml tablespoons)
- 1 cup equals 250ml (Nth America use 237ml)
- 4 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon
- I use the below unless specified in my recipes;
The recipe's nutritional information is an approximation based on an online calculator. It is meant solely for reference purposes. If you're looking for precise details, be sure to double-check with your own research.
More Christmas Cake Recipes
Do check out the dedicated Christmas cake recipes section on Belly Rumbles. You will find a few other boozy fruit cakes like my port and chocolate Christmas cake. As well as some fruit free options like my brandy butter cake.