Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake is a lovely twist on a classic boiled Christmas cake. Luxuriously Port soaked fruit and decadent dark chocolate make for a luscious cake.
I’m reminded each Christmas by a couple of close friends how much they don’t like fruit cakes. It’s okay guys, I’ll eat your share!
My mum’s traditional Christmas cake is a yearly fruitcake staple each year. This year I decided to change things up with a Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake.
Port, or fortified wine as we Aussies call it, is a little unusual but a great addition to fruitcake. I normally use rum or brandy, port isn’t a spirit I don’t usually associate with Christmas cakes. Then there’s the chocolate. Not something I usually add to a Christmas cake either.
When you soak dried fruit for a week or two in port something magical happens. Then add some chocolate into the equation, which goes marvellously with Port, and you are on a winner.
It isn’t a secret that I love good boozy soaked fruit Christmas cake
Glace cherries have been banned from my port and chocolate Christmas cake, instead the cake is studded with tart dried cherries. I leave the glace fruit for the other Christmas cake I make each year.
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I decorated simply with blanched almonds and pecans. Why pecans? A little personal homage to the USA where I purchased these particular dried cherries. I love picking up ingredients during my travels. I discovered these in the cherry capital of America, Traverse City, Michigan.
If you can’t find dried cherries, dried cranberries would make a great substitute. Of course, you could sweeten up the whole affair and use glace cherries if that’s what you would prefer.
With a few Christmas fruitcakes on Belly Rumbles now, I think I will have to create a decadently spiced cake for Christmas next year. Something for my fruitcake hating loved ones. What do you think?
Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake
Soaking Fruit Ingredients
- 400 grams sultanas
- 400 grams raisins
- 300 grams dried cherries
- 2.5 cups port
- 1/3 cup treacle
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 250 grams butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups plain flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon mixed spice
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
- pecans and blanched almonds to decorate
- extra port for brushing
Soaking the Fruit
- Place sultanas, raisins and dried cherries in a large plastic container with a lid. Pour port over and mix well. Soak for a minimum of 24 hours (see notes).
Making the Cake
- Grease and line a 23cm (9") round cake tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a couple of sheets of brown paper, secured with baking string.If you are using a modern thick walled cake tin you can skip the brown paper step.
- Preheat oven 150 deg C (300 deg F).
- Stir treacle, orange juice and zest to the fruit mixture.
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand beaters until pale.
- Add sugar and vanilla bean paste to butter, continue beating until sugar has dissolved.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer if using.
- Add fruit and chocolate to the butter and egg mixture, mix until well combined.
- Add flour, baking powder and spices, mixing until just combined.
- Pour cake batter into cake tin. Using the back of smooth the surface of the cake out evenly.
- Decorate the top of the cake with pecans and blanched almonds.
- Place cake in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 3 - 3.5 hours.
- Cake is ready when inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and brush the top with extra port. Wrap cake in a towel and leave to cool. This may take several hours.
- Once cooled store cake in an airtight container.
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