2013, Chocolate cake, New Year


I’ve been away for a while, so I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and managed a nice rest before starting the new year. Thanks for all your messages: I’m glad those of you who tried the Chocolate Mincemeat Cake enjoyed it (and no one seems to have tried before I’d corrected the “Micemeat” misprint!) For those of you who missed the recipe the first time around, here’s a little something to keep you busy until my next post…

Care: this isn’t gluten free, and you really need the dots to be white chocolate – I didn’t have any when I first tried this recipe out, and the ordinary milk-chocolate dots I used were virtually invisible in the finished cake.


150g softened butter 
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g  self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
400g mincemeat (I used my own recipe of mixed dried fruits, plus grated apples and brandy)
80g each of sultanas and raisins
20g quartered glace cherries, washed & well dried.
50g blanched almonds, chopped
100g of white chocolate dots


Pre heat oven to Gas Mark 3/Electric 160 deg. C, Fan 140 deg C.
Line a 20cm/8” tin with a couple of layers of greaseproof paper.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 1- 2 minutes, until well mixed.
Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for between 90 minutes – 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  You’ll probably need to cover the cake with tinfoil toward the end of the cooking time, to stop it browning too quickly.
Leave the cake to cool in its tin for a while before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This cake doesn’t freeze and is unlikely to keep for as long as a traditional rich fruit cake, but this doesn’t matter as it vanishes in a very short time!

chocolate, Christina Hollis author, New Year, Women's Institute

Happy New Year Cake!

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!