Double Chocolate Fruit And Nut Cake

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on January 1, 2014

Dark Chocolate Fruit CakeI know what you’re thinking– another fruit cake recipe that will end up as that proverbial doorstop and won’t be eaten by anyone. Well, I’m here to say that you must get that horrible thought right out of your head…

This is definitely a fruit and nut cake, but it’s not what you think. A really good fruit cake is not made with all of that neon colored fruit so commonly found in fruitcakes here in the USA, but rather with an assortment of chopped dried figs, dates, currants, cherries, pineapple and just about any other delicious dried fruit you can think of. It is important to use a mixture of any creamy type nuts, like walnuts, pecans, pistachios or cashews — because these types of nuts make the experience even more ethereal. These really good fruit cakes are delicious, boozy and heavily spiced, and unlike anything else I have ever tasted. They simply put everything else to shame.

I wanted to create a fruit cake recipe that people here in the US would be interested in trying, so I decided to create something using lots of chocolate.
I chose to take a favorite chocolate cake recipe that I frequently use and turn it into something a little more dense and reminiscent of a traditional fruit cake, loaded with dried fruit and nuts. The beauty of this is that as long as you maintain the same quantities in the recipe, you can add the dried fruits and nuts of your choice. Just make sure that if they are larger chunks, use a large knife and hand chop them into small, bite size pieces. DO NOT use a processor or you will have fine crumbs that will then behave like flour in the recipe and dry it out.

I had to change a few things about this batter to make it a little thicker to hold the added fruit and nuts, so that they remained evenly distributed in the batter. These changes were right on the money and resulted in a lovely, uniquely textured and fragrant cake. Of course the addition of the brandy, cocoa and dark chocolate only enhanced the experience. Make it a few days before you plan to serve it and allow the flavors to cure. Like regular fruit cake, this is quite rich so it does not need a frosting or a milk glaze. I simply heat up some apple jelly in the microwave and brush it on the surface of the cake to give it that traditional shine.

Try this and tell me again how you feel about fruit cake…

Double Chocolate Holiday Fruit Cake
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup good quality brandy or rum, heated
1½ cups brandy or rum for soaking after cake has baked
¾ cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 to 1 ½ cups dried fruit (I used ½ cup dried blueberries, ½ cup dried cherries, ½ cup dried figs that I chopped into smaller pieces)
½ cup homemade candied orange peel **optional
1 cup nuts, roasted, cooled & hand chopped (I used chopped pecans but chopped almonds or pine nuts are best)
1 cup dark Guittard chocolate pieces, chopped
1 ¾ cups flour, sifted
¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

NOTE: Use currants instead of raisins because they are smaller and allow the cake to slice better.
First, add the 1 cup of brandy into a microwaveable container and heat in the microwave for a minute until very warm. Measure out all of the dried fruits you would like to use and when you remove the brandy from the microwave, add in the chopped dried fruit and let it macerate in the brandy for about 1 hour. Once the brandy and the fruit mixture has cooled, you can start making the cake batter. Add the eggs, oil and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk everything together. Add the vanilla and sour cream and whisk again. Now, replace your whisk with a wooden spoon and pour in the brandy with the macerated fruit and stir it all together. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, then fold in the chopped nuts and dark chocolate. Stir it all together until you have a somewhat thick batter so that the fruit and nuts stay suspended. The batter will not rise too much, so don’t worry too much about it pouring over the sides of the pan.

Dark Chocolate Fruit Cake batter

Pour this into a well sprayed 10” baking pan (I used a 10” bundt) and bake at 300°F for about 1 hour until the center tests clean and the cake is firm to the touch. I did not use foil on the top of the cake but if your oven runs hot, spray a small piece of foil with pan spray and loosely cover the top of the cake pan before baking. Once it has baked, allow the cake to cool completely, then cover it well with plastic wrap until the next day.

For the next 5 days, you will pour ½ cup of brandy and 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier over the cake, each time covering it again plastic wrap. This is what makes the cake come alive as a fruit cake, and allows it to cure. Make sure to store it covered in a cool place. A wine cooler is the perfect temperature or keep it in the refrigerator. After the 5 days, it is time to serve your delicious cake. Invert onto your serving dish, brush on some hot apple jelly for a beautiful shine and serve with an anglais sauce, ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Dark Chocolate Fruit Cake

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Mary November 15, 2016 at 8:41 p

In your chocolate fruit nut cake recipe — is the Guillard chocolate sweet or unsweetened? I am wanting to try this!

Thank you.

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet October 22, 2017 at 11:27 p

I believe the Guittard chocolate was either semisweet or bittersweet Mary

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