Day 4 – Chocolate Christmas Cake


A super rich dark Christmas cake.  I’ve been making this for a few years now and I’m always asked for the recipe.  The chocolate isn’t an obvious flavour but it is what makes this cake so rich and luxurious.  It’s a great cake to make as the fruits only have an overnight soaking and it doesn’t need any feeding – bargain!  Try it, I know you’ll love it!

Plus there’s a couple of bonus projects with this recipe too – have a look here for these individual cakes, perfect to give as gifts and these cute little mini ones too – Santa Please Stop Here!




200g butter

200g light muscovado sugar

150ml brandy

150ml water

Juice and zest of 2 large oranges


300g sultanas

300g raisins

150g currants

150g whole cherries

2 pcs stem ginger chopped

150g dates, chopped

2 heaped tbsps. Cocoa powder


2tbsps treacle

3 eggs, large

230g plain flour

2 tsp mixed cake spice (or a combination of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves)

200g dark chocolate, chopped


Makes: 1 x 8” cake

So, you need to start off with a big pan!  Place the butter, sugar, brandy, water and orange zest and juice in the pan and heat it gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.

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Add the dried fruits, ginger and cocoa powder to the pan,  give it a good stir and bring it to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes on a gentle heat.

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Take it off the heat and transfer it to a clean large bowl.  Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool and infuse overnight.

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The next day line the base and sides of a deep 8” cake tin and preheat the oven to 130c(fan)/150c/Gas Mark 1.

To the bowl of fruit mix stir in the eggs and treacle.  Fold through the flour, spices and chopped chocolate.Christmas 1 027

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Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin, level the mixture on top and bake in the oven for 3 hours or until a skewer when inserted in the middle comes away free from cake mixture – watch out for melted chocolate on the skewer as this can often throw you!

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Allow the cake to cool fully in the tin.

Now the decoration is up to you but as it’s a very rich cake it doesn’t really need covering all over in marzipan and icing.

To top it simply roll and cut out circles from marzipan and white sugarpaste (using a large 8” cutter or the tin and sharp knife).

Trim the top of the cake if it needs it with a sharp serrated knife and place it top down onto a cake card or board.  Brush the top surface with a little apricot jam and add the disc of marzipan.

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To stick the sugarpaste to the top lightly brush the marzipan with a little clear alcohol (gin, vodka etc) and place the paste into position.

Smooth them neatly so you have a smart flat surface.

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I’ve trimmed mine with a cake frill and stencilled a gold snowflake on the top very simply.  The Christmas cake stencils I picked up in John Lewis.  I placed it into position and sprayed it lightly with a sugar syrup in a spray bottle (simply melt 50g sugar into 50ml of hot water and leave to cool)

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Keeping the stencil in position I’ve added a little gold leaf, gold sparkle dust and tiny edible gold stars – all from Waitrose, and then carefully lifted away the stencil.

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Another cake ready to go!

To store it needs to go in a box, wrap the exposed sides of the cake with clingfilm until you serve it just to prevent it from drying out.


Chocolate Christmas Cake


Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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21 Responses to Day 4 – Chocolate Christmas Cake

  1. Claire S says:

    Looks fab – how long do you think it would keep for once it’s been iced ?

  2. Jo sharp says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Can I ask what you could replace your brandy with as I love the recipe but I will be making this for tea totallers
    Thank you


  3. Cristina says:

    Hi Ruth
    I haven’t made my Christmas cake yet with boozy fruit (that has been on my counter for several weeks) – my plan was to do it this week. Could I use that fruit in this recipe?


  4. Kay says:

    How long will this cake keep fresh?

  5. Jodie says:

    Hi, can I ask where you got the gorgeous gold band that’s around the cake?

  6. Gill Baxter says:

    Hi Ruth, I thought I would try this cake this year and I just wondered if it keeps as well as your average fruit cake? ie, weeks, months, years? ! Also, normally you have to wait for the cake to dry out a bit before adding the marzipan, etc, does that not matter with this one?
    Lastly, is it quite a heavy cake, I’m wondering if my fussy kids will like it. I usually make Mary’s light christmas cake!
    Thanks x


    • Hi Gill, Yes it keeps as well as a normal fruit cake – I’m giving 3 months as its optimum but it will keep much longer as per a fruit cake. It’s not a heavy cake but it is very rich so I serve it in smaller pieces than my normal fruit cake x

  7. santhi says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I am just wondering if I can substitute the brandy to something non-alcoholic .

    What will be a best substitute.



  8. Heather says:

    I love all your recipes. Am about to make the mini cakes and will half the recipe, in doing so instead of three eggs shall I use two?

  9. Catrin roberts says:

    Can you please confirm what type of cherries please

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hi, if I were making this as a 6″ round cake (1/2 the recipe), how long would you recommend to bake it for, please?

  11. Emma Edwards says:

    Hi ruth, in decorating my christmas cake like this this year, do i need to wait a few days between putting the marzipan on and the icing? Usually its a few days in between to allow the marzipan to dry out.
    Thanks 🙂

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