Monday, December 1, 2008

Chocolate Christmas Cake

If you haven't checked out Sweet and Simple Bakes, you really should. Its great for amateur bakers. Started by Rosie and Maria, they challenge us every month to go a little further and bake something you probably haven't baked before. And every single recipe has been tried and tested and comes out perfect.

For November's Sweet and Simple Bakes, Maria asked us to make a chocolate Christmas cake.

Chocolate Christmas Cake
(recipe from Sweet and Simple Bakes)

Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling
Cooking time: 1¾ -2 hours

150g (5oz) soft butter
150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (6½oz) self-raising flour
40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
400g jar of luxury mincemeat (recipe follows)
80g (3oz) each of sultanas and raisins
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
100g packet of white chocolate chips

For decoration (decorate as you wish!)

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/electric 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Line a 20cm (8inch) cake tin (see below for instructions).

Lining the cake tin: One of the keys to success when baking a fruit cake is the preparation of the tin before you start mixing the ingredients. Because of the length of cooking time, you need to use two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment inside the tin.

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat together for a minute or two until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1¾-2 hours until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. You will probably need to cover the cake with foil towards the end of cooking to prevent the top from browning too much. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as you wish! (I didn't decorate it)

Vegetarian Mincemeat
(check here for the original recipe. Since a lot of the ingredients required aren't available in India, I made some substitutions).

To make 2 lbs mincemeat


450g (1 lb) mixed dried fruit (I used dates, figs, blueberries, cherries and cranberries)
100g (4oz) melted butter
100g (4oz) cooking apples or apple of choice - peeled and grated (weight when prepared)
100g (4oz) soft brown sugar
50g -100g (2-4 oz) of chopped nuts of choice (I used pecans)
100g (4oz) glace cherries (I used more blueberries and some raspberries)
100g (4oz) chopped candied peel (I used raisins)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon mixed spice (I made my own spice mix - recipe follows)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons brandy

Mixed Spice Mix:

Grind together 1 small cinnamon stick and 1 tablespoon each cloves, mace, ground nutmeg and coriander seeds.


Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and soak overnight covering with a clean cloth. Mix thoroughly through together either with a large spoon or clean hands. Cover over with a clean tea towel and leave to stand for 24 hours giving the mixture a good stir as you pass by. Next day pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars, and top with greaseproof paper jam covers. Seal the jars tightly and store in a cool place.

*Note*: if you choose not to use glace cherries make the weight up with mixed dried fruit instead. If you wish not to add alcohol use apple juice or orange juice instead. We have given a recipe here for mincemeat without suet, but should you wish to use either beef or vegetable suet in this recipe omit the melted butter.

I sneaked a little taste when I was bottling the mincemeat, and it was so good. I knew the cake would be amazing.

Thanks, Maria for another interesting recipe.


Curry Leaf said...

Lovely and perfect.Wish I could have a taste.The mincemeat is interesting

Maria said...

Arundathi, you cake turned out beautifully dark, rich and moist!

Thanks for taking part and hope you will join us again.


Lakshmi Venkatesh said...

Superb and mouth watering. The mincemeat is new to me and is tempting me to try it out.

Rosie said...

Hi Arundathi, lovely to view your scrumptious cake :) Your mincemeat looks wonderful and the colour to your cake is rich and dark -YUM!

Many thanks for partaking in this month’s bake and I do hope you will join us in our next bake.

Best wishes Rosie x

Sunshinemom said...

This is vegan too, isn't it?!! Lovely cake! I too made some really delish brownies form Diana's desserts:)

sowmya said...

yours look great...good that you know that you made my owm mincedmeat..

Sagari said...

veryy gooddd

Lisa said...

Looks very moist. Perfect with a cup of tea.

Happy cook said...

Wow this cake looks really yumm.
I would love to have a piece from it.

Peter M said...

I better go eat lunch before I go & splurge on some chocolate cake!

natalia said...

Ciao !I love your cake and the photo is so yummy !!!

Holler said...

I remeber someone telling me about a chocolate Christmas cake last week and I was intrigued, I think I have moved over into persuaded! It sounds good, I like the recipe for mincemeat too!

Priya said...

I love the plum cakes we get around Christmas time in India.

How are you guys doing in Chennai, I read about the flooding due to rains. I know I'm late in asking! Stay safe!

Bharti said...

That first picture is gorgeous....looks really moist and yummy.

Ranjani said...

I'm going to be in India in March...perhaps a few days in Chennai to see the husband's to feed me then?!!

I heart x mas cake..and OD on chocolate anything...this is a dream come true!!!
Seriously, how do you manage to cook up all this fabulousness find time to blog about it, have a family and work?!! How?
Kudos to you!!!

lilmizlynn said...

Looks yummy with a cup of tea... :)

Raaga said...

you should be out of this group now I think... the word amateur doesn't gel with you anymore ;-)

d said...

hi. am new to your blog and have bookmarked several recipes to try. made the banana walnut bread today and it was lovely. (the smell is divine!)

i have also on my own been meaning to buy foil containers to bake and gift, and was pleased to see that it is an idea that works!!! now i can do it this christmas!

also made the baby potato fry (with a twist - ground whole dry red chillies and garlic flakes to a coarse paste and added to hot oil with the karipatta, then added the potstoes and fried) - yummm!

am making a short trip to chennai this christmas - new year and checked out your rediscovering chennai blog for some quick to-do-in-chennai ideas!


Mallika said...

You make it sound easy woman. This for me is usually a bakery bought treat...

syrie said...

What a moist and luscious looking cake. Congratulations!

Arundathi said...

Curry Leaf - Thanks

Maria - Thanks for a great recipe!

Lakshmi Venkatesh - Do try it.

Rosie - Yes it was definitely rich and warm and full of flavor!

Sunshinemom - Yup, its vegan. Do try it.

Sowmya - thank you - well, didn't have a choice since we don't get readymade mincemeat here

Sagari - thanks

Lisa - That's right. and maybe some eggnog.

Happy Cook - Sure, i'll send some over.

Peter - :-) hope you got your chocolate "fix"

Natalia - Thank you!

Holler - Thanks so much - do try it!

Priya - Yup, there was lots of rain but things are dry and hot again now!

Bharti - thank you

Ranjani - Will definitely feed you - come on over! hmm - i think the cooking part keeps me sane! lol!

Lilmizlynn - yup, perfect.

Raaga - haha!! thanks for the compliment!

D - thank you for stopping by and am so glad you tried some of the recipes and enjoyed it. your idea for the potatoes is awesome. enjoy your trip to chennai!

Mallika - i guess we can't get quite the same cake in the bakery, otherwise, believe me, i would've bought it!! lol!

Syrie - thanks so much!

Amu... said...

Arundathi....Such a Beautiful Cake!!!...Could not take my eyes of it....looks Yumm!!!

Thanks a lot for that lovely comment on my cake...

Luv...Amu :-)

Anonymous said...

I love X'mas fruit cake & I love chocolate cake. What can be better than these 2? Your Chocolate X'mas cake ofcourse!!! I'll have to try this. Thanks for sharing recipe/links.


reshma said...

Hi Arundathi,

I was browsing through Christmas recipes in food blogs and came across yours and found it interesting.

I write for The New Indian Express, in a weekly lifestyle magazine called Indulge and would like to feature your blog in the Internet column which I write.

Would that be possible? I have a few queries about your blog too.

Do let me know.



Reshma Iqbal

Arundathi said...

Amu - Thank you so much! :-) And yours looked lovely!

Mamatha - Sure - do try it.

Reshma - Thanks for dropping by and for your interest. Do send me an email. Thanks.

reshma said...

Hi Arundathi,

Thanks for your quick reply.

My queries are:

- What do you do?
- How did your love of cooking start? (Any interesting anecdote?)
- What kind of cuisines do you like?
- What is your favourite Christmas recipe?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Any food blogs you recommend?
- Easiest/quickest/most nutritious recipe?
- What advice would you give for beginners who are daunted by cooking? (like me!)



Arundathi said...

Reshma - please leave your email address so I could get in touch with you. Thanks.

Lorraine E said...

What a nice variation of a fruitcake!

reshma said...

Jude said...

Looks so good.. I don't think it needs any decorations at all.

Arundathi said...

Lorraine E - Thank you

Reshma - will send you email.

Jude - You're too nice. Thank you.

Rajani said...

this looks so good i can only imagine how good it must taste! and so happy with your mincemeat recipe i was looking for one that didnt sound too daunting. :)

Shaheen said...

Okay you're veg mincemeat cake makes my mouth water. So rich, I'd feel guilty fr the next couple of days!

Arundathi said...

Rajani - Do try it - it was only the effort of gathering the ingredients - once that was done, everything was easy.

Shaheen - LOL - I was thinking it was healthy because of all the fruit ;)

Rajani said...

arundathi, did you actually rest your bottled mincemeat for 2,3 weeks? or made your cake the next day?

Arundathi said...

Rajani - Yes, I did rest it for quite a while. We made the mincemeat in Oct and I made the cake at the end of November.

Rajani said...

thanks! i made mm y'day...a lil differently though -hope it will last!!

Brijesh said...

Hi Arundathi!
I just happened to stumble upon one of your blogs where in I checked loads of recipes posted by you. I must say that each one of your baked products are simply amazing. Need a help and it would be wonderful to have your inputs. I have a Microwave with convection mode but cakes that i bake generally turn out dry. Has this something to do with the type of oven ? I was planning to go for an OTG and see if that helps. What do u say ? Baking cakes in OTG turn out better than ones in Microwaves ? BTW, which one do you use ? my e-mail id is
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

cinabar said...

chocolate christmas cake - genius! must give this a try in the form of a birthday cake.

Arundathi said...

Rajani - how did it come out?

Brijesh - I have an OTG and it comes out very well. OTGs are great for cakes but not so for breads. I have friends who use microwaves on the convection setting and they are quite happy with the results. hope that helps.

cinabar - mmm that would be an awesome bday cake too!

Rajani said...

Hi welcome back, happy new year!! the mincemeat turned out delicious and i already used up half of it for a xmas cake. made the mincemeat with carrots - its on - on the blog. said...

this is to die for!! totallllly!!

Arundathi said...

Rajani - thats great! so glad you liked it!

Mandira - Thank you!! Yes, it was delicious!

Anonymous said...

ur cake looks delicious. Can u plz tell me which brand and model is ur OTG as i m planning to buy one. waiting for ur reply. thanx.

Arundathi said...

Anonymous - I couldn't tell you the model # but its a mid-size Morphy Richards.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the quick reply

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ratu said...

very nice! I never make it .. thanks for the recipe .. :)

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I remeber someone telling me about a chocolate Christmas cake last week and I was intrigued, I think I have moved over into persuaded! It sounds good, I like the recipe for mincemeat too!

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