Christmas cakes these days come in all shapes and forms, but a traditional Christmas cake is still a fruit cake. Now don’t be put off by this recipe being a fruit cake, I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. Growing up I hated fruit cakes.
My sisters and I would only eat fruit cake after we’d hunted through each piece and removed the “shivery bits.” Mixed peel has no place in cakes or any other type of food for that matter – it’s the peel! You’re meant to remove it from the fruit before you eat it.
Why on earth would you want to cut it up and put it in your Christmas cake or pudding? Mixed peel or candied rind still makes me shudder and shiver so I will never include it in any of my recipes.
This recipe avoids all the things that make fruit cake yucky – mixed peel, glace cherries and nuts and, instead, adds some dried apricots to the mix of dried fruit used and has the delicious addition of chocolate!
That’s right, this is a Chocolate Apricot Christmas Fruit Cake, otherwise known as the best fruit cake recipe in the world. This is in fact the only fruit cake I will ever eat – I don’t trust other bakers and their penchant for mixed peel and, frankly everything tastes better with chocolate added so this one is the winner!
It’s not difficult to make this Christmas cake but you do need to plan ahead a little. To make sure no mixed peel makes it into the mixture, we begin by preparing our own mixed dried fruit.
Put all of your dried fruit into a very large bowl, preferably one with a lid because you’ll be soaking the fruit in there for at least a couple of hours or maybe even overnight.
Obviously sultanas, raisins and currants just go straight into the mix but you can use scissors to cut up the dates, prunes and dried apricots, straight into the bowl. Of course you can use a knife and board to cut up your fruit or even a food processor if you want it cut up fine. Whichever way works for you is fine.
Next, we’re going to soak the dried fruit in alcohol for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. The recipe calls for rum or brandy but I’ve also been known to use whiskey before when it was all I had in the house at the time!
Just pour the alcohol in, give it a bit of a stir or shake to make sure all of the fruit is coated in it. Pop the lid on the bowl, or cover it with glad wrap, and let it sit for 2-24 hours (I’ve been known to leave it for a couple of days before the next step when life got too busy to finish making the cake.).
Next is the most boring part – preparing the cake tin! This is a large cake so you’ll need a deep 23 cm round cake tin (or 2 x 18 cm cake tins), greased and lined with baking paper.
Once the mixed fruit has soaked for 2-24 hours, take the lid off and give it a stir – it smells like Christmas already!
Meanwhile, cream together the butter sugar and vanilla.
And then beat in the eggs, one at a time. You’ll have a fairly sloppy looking mixture like this.
Add this mixture to your dried fruit and mix together well.
Now for the ingredients that take this Christmas cake to the next level and truly make it the yummiest and the best Christmas cake in the world! Chocolate, apricot jam and apricot nectar!
Break up the chocolate pieces into a small/medium glass or microwave safe bowl.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the apricot jam and the apricot nectar to the chocolate and stir it through.
Next we simply add the chocolate/apricot mixture to the dried fruit mixture.
And then stir it all through.
Then use your muscles to fold through the flour and the cinnamon – you’ll get a good arm workout doing this as the mixture is pretty heavy!
Then transfer the mixture to your prepared cake tin. The Christmas cake needs to cook long and slow so there are a couple of things I like to do to try to help it cook evenly throughout.
Then it goes into the oven for around 2 and a half hours! (And it makes your house smell divine!)
After 2 and half hours if a skewer comes out clean, your Christmas cake is cooked! Remove it from the oven but leave it in the tin, wrap it in clean kitchen towels and leave it overnight.
The next morning unwrap your Christmas cake – it’s just like Christmas!
The Best Christmas Fruit Cake In The World Recipe
The Best Fruit Cake Recipe In The World
- 500 g raisins
- 250 g pitted prunes chopped
- 250 g pitted dates chopped
- 125 g sultanas
- 125 g currants
- 200 g dried apricots chopped
- 1 cup rum or brandy or other alcohol
- 250 g butter cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla essence
- 4 eggs
- 200 g dark chocolate
- ½ cup apricot jam
- ½ cup apricot nectar
- 2 cups plain flour
- ½ cup self raising flour
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- Mix the dried fruit in a large bowl.
- Add the alcohol, cover and leave for 2-24 hours.
- Line a deep, 23cm (or 2 x 18 cm tins) round cake tin with doubled over baking paper on both the sides and the base.
- Put the tin on a large, thick, heavy baking tray and wrap the outside of the tin with extra baking paper or use Wilton Cake Wraps following directions on the packet.
- Preheat oven to 160℃.
- Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Add this mixture to the fruit and mix well.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
- Stir the jam and the nectar into the melted chocolate.
- Add the chocolate mixture to the fruit mixture and mix well.
- Fold in the flours and the cinnamon.
- Transfer the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin.
- Smooth the top and tap the pan on the bench to help settle the mixture.
- Bake for 2 ½ - 3 hours (2 hours if using the smaller cake tins) until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven but leave the cake in the cake tin.
- Wrap the cake, in the tin, in kitchen towels and leave overnight.
- The cake will keep for several months if wrapped in plastic film or foil and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. (I usually make our Christmas cake in late October or early November so that we can enjoy it right through December).
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas cake that the whole family will enjoy, this is the one – please give it a try, you won’t regret it, I promise – it really is the best fruit cake recipe in the world!