port & chocolate christmas cakerating:
Another one to try:
|340||g pitted prunes|
|1 1/4||cups port wine, plus|
|additional port wine, for feeding the cake in the lead up to christmas|
|250||g butter, chopped|
|1||tablespoon vanilla essence|
|1||cup dark brown sugar|
|1||orange, juice of|
|1||orange, zest of, finely grated|
|1 1/2||cups plain flour|
|1/2||cup self-raising flour|
|1||tablespoon mixed spice|
|200||g dark cooking chocolate, chopped|
|250||g glace cherries|
|200||g walnuts, halved|
- You will also need: Brown paper- enough to wrap a double layer around the cake tin.
- Use a pair of scissors to cut up the prunes.
- Combine prunes, currants, raisins and 1 cup of the port together in a large bowl and mix well.
- Allow to stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, spray a deep 23cm-round (9") cake tin with cooking oil, then line the base and sides of the tin with two layers of baking (silicone) paper- bringing the paper 5cm (2") above the rim of the tin.
- When the fruit has been soaking for two hours, preheat the oven to a slow 160C (310F).
- Add the orange rind, juice and treacle to the fruit mixture and stir to combine.
- Place the chopped chocolate, cherries and walnuts into a mixing bowl.
- Add the sifted flours and spices to this bowl and stir lightly to combine.
- Now, chop the butter into smallish pieces and transfer to a small bowl.
- Beat with an electric mixer until the colour of the butter changes to pale yellow.
- Add vanilla and beat for an extra minute.
- Add sugar and beat until the mixture looks light and creamy and all the sugar crystals have dissolved.
- (This is an important step- if the sugar crystals don't dissolve your cake will develop a crusty top).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the butter and egg mixture to the fruit and mix well.
- Next, add the flour mixture to the fruit, and stir lightly with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- (Do not beat the mixture or the cake will be tough- a light hand ensures a good cake).
- Call in the family and have everyone give the cake a stir while they make a Christmas wish.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the cake tin.
- Run your hand under the tap and then use it to smooth the top of the cake.
- Now, wrap a double thickness of brown paper around the tin and secure it with string.
- Place the cake in the centre of the pre-heated 160c (310F) oven and bake for 3- 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and, while still hot, pour over the extra port.
- Now, wrap the cake (tin and all) in a thick, clean towel.
- Keep wrapped for at least 24 hours, or until the cake is completely cold.
- Store the cake, well covered, in its tin in a cool, dry place- or in the refrigerator if it's really hot where you live.
- Each week before Christmas, use a skewer to poke several holes in the top of the cake and pour over a little more port- this is called'feeding' the cake.
- Close to Christmas, you can ice this cake with the traditional Christmas cake icing (frosting) if you wish, but it will still be spectacularly good without it.
- Serve small portions as this cake is very, very rich.