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Chocolate Christmas Cake

Asked by KarenLW. Answered on 8th December 2012

Full question

How long in advance can you make Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake and could you use an alternative to coffee liqueur? Many thanks.

I do not like coffee, does the Tia Maria in the Chocolate Fruit Cake come through strongly in the cake or could I use something else? Thanks, godzilla.

Our answer

Nigella's Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake from Christmas (and see related recipe link) is a very popular alternative to the traditional Christmas cake. It is quite moist and won't keep quite as well as a regular fruit cake but can be made 2-4 weeks in advance. Once the cake has been removed from its tin and is fully cooled then it can be wrapped tightly in a double layer of baking parchment (parchment paper) and a double layer of foil and stored in a cool, dark and dry place. If you like you could "feed" it once with 2-3 tablespoons liqueur, but it is not strictly necessary for this cake. The cake can also be wrapped this way and frozen for up to 3 months.

All fruit cakes should always be wrapped first in baking parchment and not directly in foil as the acid in the dried fruit can react with the foil, causing the foil to corrode which can leave the cake vulnerable to mould and sometimes it can also impart an odd flavour to the cake.

Coffee liqueur is a good choice for the cake as coffee and chocolate flavours complement each other and coffee liqueurs tend to be slightly sweet. There is not a pronounced coffee flavour from the liqueur. However you could use a chocolate liqueur (such as dark creme de cacao) or an orange liqueur would be an interesting alternative. A "harder" liquor, such as a bourbon or whiskey could be used, but it could have a slightly harsher flavour than the liqueurs due to its higher alcoholic content and lack of sweetness.

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