Chocolate Christmas cake

A traditional Christmas cake with a bittersweet twist thanks to the rich addition of Dutch-processed cocoa and dark chocolate.

Serves 12


  • 200g currants
  • 200g sultanas
  • 350g dark dried fruit, such as dried figs, prunes and sour cherries, diced
  • 70g diced candied orange
  • 200ml brandy or port
  • 150ml orange juice
  • 200g softened butter, coarsely chopped
  • 185g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g dark couverture chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Icing sugar, optional, to serve


  1. Combine currants, sultanas, dark dried fruit, brandy or port, and orange juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and stand overnight at room temperature, stirring occasionally, to macerate.  
  2. Preheat oven to 150°C/130°C fan-forced. Grease a 22cm-diameter cake tin and line with two layers of baking paper.  
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (if the mixture curdles, add 1 tbs of the flour). Add the chocolate and macerated dried fruit mixture, then stir to combine.
  4. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and spices and gently stir to combine. Spoon batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (cover the cake with foil if the top is getting too dark). Cool completely in tin on a wire rack.
  5. Wrap the cooled cake in a double layer of baking paper, then wrap tightly with foil and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month. If desired, dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Tip: You can make the Christmas cake up to a month in advance (the flavours will develop over time). To keep it moist, you’ll need to pierce it with a skewer and ‘feed’ it once a week by drizzling with a little extra brandy or port. Tightly re-wrap the cake in between feeding.

Reserve Limestone Coast Shiraz

Reserve Limestone Coast Shiraz

With a full-bodied palate and plum and spice notes, this Shiraz perfectly complements the Christmas spice and chocolate flavours in this cake.

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