I hope you are still enjoying the Holiday Season, and that you aren't completely worn out by it all yet. Just in case, here's a simple treat.
I've used the past couple of weeks to try out lots of new recipes on my family. The star of the show was undoubtedly this Chocolate Fruitcake, which I made to replace our traditional iced Christmas cake this year. It was originally a Women's Institute recipe, and I must admit I had my doubts before making it (chocolate and mincemeat?) but it's delicious. It is really easy to make, too, and doesn't need to be made in advance and matured so it would be good at any time. In fact, it was so popular we're having it again for our New Year celebrations! Here's the recipe:
5 oz (150g) soft margarine
5 oz (150g) soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6.5 oz (185g) self-raising flour
1.5 oz (40g) cocoa powder
1lb jar (or 400g of home-made) top quality mincemeat
3 oz (80g) sultanas
3 oz (80g) raisins
2 oz (50g) blanched, chopped almonds
4 oz (100g) packet of chocolate dots
Line an 8-inch (20cm) cake tin with two layers of greaseproof paper/baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to GasMark 3/Electric 160 degrees C or equivalent fan temperature (generally around 145 degrees C)
Put the first five ingredients in a big mixing bowl and beat together for a couple of minutes until they're completely mixed. Then fold in the mincemeat, dried fruit, almonds and chocolate dots.
Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for around an hour and three quarters, or until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Check after it's been in the oven for about an hour, and if the top's browning too much, cover it with some foil.
When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool in its tin for a few minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely (if you can wait). You can ice it like a traditional Christmas cake or give it a simple chocolate icing, but the family verdict was that might make it a bit too rich.
Thanks to everyone who has commented on my blogs and blog tour, or written to me over the past year. I hope 2012 will be happy, healthy and very productive for you all!