For a great alternative to the traditional English crumb, try Eric Lanlard's Chocolate and Orange Christmas Cake. This is still packed full of luscious dried fruits and festive spices, but benefits from the delicious addition of orange liqueur and rich dark chocolate.
FOR THE CAKE
- 200g golden raisins 200g golden raisins
- 200g seedless sultanas 200g seedless sultanas
- 100g mix peel 100g mix peel
- 50ml orange liqueur (plus extra for soaking) 50ml orange liqueur (plus extra for soaking)
- 200g unsalted butter 200g unsalted butter
- 100g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Pure Cane Dark Brown Soft Sugar 100g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Pure Cane Dark Brown Soft Sugar
- 50g molasse sugar 50g molasse sugar
- 3 large eggs 3 large eggs
- 150g plain flour (sifted) 150g plain flour (sifted)
- 175g dark good-quality chocolate (high cocoa content) 175g dark good-quality chocolate (high cocoa content)
- 1 tsp. ground mixed spice 1 tsp. ground mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- the juice of 1 lemon the juice of 1 lemon
- 50g of glace cherry 50g of glace cherry
- 75g walnut halves 75g walnut halves
- 75g whole hazelnuts (roasted) 75g whole hazelnuts (roasted)
FOR THE DECORATION
- mixed glace fruits (orange slices, apricot, cherries, etc) mixed glace fruits (orange slices, apricot, cherries, etc)
- mixed nuts (walnuts, pecans, peeled pistachios) mixed nuts (walnuts, pecans, peeled pistachios)
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Put raisins into bowl and cover with orange liqueur. Cover the bowl and set aside for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 150C/gas mark 2. Grease and line a 22cm spring form cake tin.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. If the mixture looks like it is going to split, add a small amount of flour.
- Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water and add it to butter, sugar and egg mixture. Sift in the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg, and stir. Add lemon juice and orange liqueur, and mix together.
- Gently fold in the soaked raisins, sultanas, peel, cherries, walnuts and hazelnuts. Spoon the mix into your greased and lined spring form cake tin.
- Bake the cake for 2 and a half to 3 hours, depending on your oven. Test whether cakes are cooked with a skewer - if it comes out clean the cake is done. Cool on a wire rack, then spray with more alcohol and wrap in cling film until ready to decorate.
- Decorate the top with fruits and nuts. Warm apricot gelee and, using a pastry brush, glaze fruits and nuts. Add chocolate fans and highlight with a gold leaf.
To stop your dried fruit from sinking, dust them off in a little flour first. It gives the fruit some grip onto the cake batter so the two elements can rise together.