Chocolate Cranberry Fruit Cake
350g/12¼oz dried soft prunes, chopped
2oo g/7oz dried cranberries
175g/6¼oz unsalted butter, softened
175g/6¼oz dark brown sugar
175ml/6¼fl oz honey
125ml/4½fl oz rum (It should really be coffee liqueur but I didn't have any)
2 oranges, juice and zest
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
3 eggs, beaten
150g/5¼oz self raising flour
1/2 teasp bicarbonate of soda
75g/2½oz ground almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
2. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of baking parchment. When lining the tin with the parchment, cut the material into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it is easier to use two shorter strips of parchment, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.
Also cut a disc of baking parchment to fit the diameter of the tin. When the cake has set you can pop this little hat on the top to help stop any scorching.
3. Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, rum, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
5. Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a skewer into the middle of the cake, the tip should be slightly sticky .
6. Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.
To make individual cakes as I have done. I used 6cm x 8cm cases. This made approximately twelve. There is no need to line the cases and they take approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to bake. Test them after an hour.
I decorated by cutting out stars of fondant icing.