I don't know what it is in the prunes that gives the cake its damp bounciness; all I know is that it works. You don't need to make this in advance, although you can, and you don't have to do anything much to make it, either. You just melt everything together, give or take, in a saucepan, pour from saucepan to cake tin and bake. It needs no icing, though I have suggested -- see p.267 if you need help with stockists -- a little festive decoration, below.
And there's no reason why you couldn't vary this method to make a Plain Dark Fruit Cake: just replace the Tia Maria with rum (or brandy if you prefer), making up the sweetness by adding a heaped tablespoon of marmalade; take out the cocoa, adding 2 tablespoons of flour to the 150g; and decorate with a sprig of holly or any of the suggestions below.
- 350g prunes, scissored or chopped
- 250g raisins
- 175g currants
- 175g soft butter
- 175g dark muscovado sugar
- 225g (175ml) honey
- 125ml Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur
- juice and finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 150g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 25g dark chocolate-covered coffee beans
- approx. 10 edible gold stars
- edible gold mini balls
- edible glitter, in Disco Hologram gold
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From Nigella Christmas. Published by Random House Canada. Copyright © 2008 by Nigella Lawson. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Random House Canada.