Let this Christmas be a celebration of love, and love means Chocolate.
This Chocolate cake taste just like Chrismas.
- 100g mixed dried vine fruits
- 75ml marsala, sweet or dry
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 325g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 75g walnut halves
- 75g blanched hazelnuts
- 50g blanched almonds
- 5 large eggs, separated
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- generous grating of nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 25g chopped candied peel
- 50g ground almonds
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
- Put the dried fruit into a small saucepan with the marsala. Bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat. Leave the fruit to plump up for at least 30 minutes, by which time almost all the liquid should be absorbed.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Add the chocolate, stirring to help it melt. Remove the bowl and leave it to cool a little.
- Toast the nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat, taking care not to burn them, then chop very roughly.
- Add the egg yolks to the chocolate along with the zest, spices, candied peel, dried fruit (plus soaking liquid) and chopped nuts. Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add a big tablespoon of the whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest along with the ground almonds. Mix lightly so that you don't knock all the air out of the egg whites.
- Pour into a buttered and base-lined 23cm springform tin and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will feel set in the middle but the skewer test doesn't really work because it stays very moist in the centre until it has cooled.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for about 20 minutes, then carefully remove the surround. When it has completely cooled remove the base from the cake. To decorate:
- Dust the top with icing sugar : Draw a snowflake on a piece of paper, cut it out, and place it on the top of your sponge cake. Sieve a generous helping of icing sugar over your cake and, when the surface is almost totally white, lift the paper stencil off.