chocolate christmas cakerating:
As yet untried. Looks squishy.
For the cake
75g dried cranberrries
150g lexia raisins (or other raisins)
5 tbsp brandy
250g plain chocolate
6 tbsp milk
1 tsp almond extract
175g unsalted butter
175g light muscavado sugar
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
150g self-raising flour
75g ground almonds
75g Brazil nuts, chopped
For the ganache
200g white chocolate
300ml double cream
1 tbsp brandy
cocoa powder, for dusting
1.Soak the cranberries and raisins in 2 tbsp brandy overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Oil and base line a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin.
3.Melt plain chocolate, milk and almond extract together in a bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
4.In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs. Fold in flour, melted chocolate mixture, ground almonds, soaked fruit and Brazil nuts.
5.Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1-1.5 hours (well that's what the recipe says but we find it's nearer 2 hours!) until a skewer comes out clean. Remove cake from tin, discard lining paper and cool completely on a wire rack. Then turn cake over, prick the base several times and drizzle over the remaining brandy, before turning upright again.
6.To make the ganache, melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool slightly. Lightly whip the double cream until just holding its shape. Fold in the brandy. Working quickly, gently fold the cream into the white chocolate until it's well combined.
7.Spread the white chocolate mixture over the tops and sides of the cake and smooth with a knife. Allow the ganache to set and then dust with the cocoa powder and tie a gold ribbon around if you wish!
A tip: Make the cake the day before you want to serve it and once it is cooled keep it in the fridge wrapped in foil. The next day, decorate it and serve. This makes sure the cake is nice and dense and not crumble, which it will be if you eat it on the day you cook it.