When I took the Chocolate Fruit Cake out of the oven it cracked in many places. Last year I didn't have this problem. What am I doing wrong?
Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake (from FEAST) is a moist fruit cake which is perfect for last-minute Christmas baking as it can be eaten immediately and does not need "maturing". It is also a popular alterntive for people who may not like a more traditional rich fruit cake. Sometimes the cracks on the surface of a fruit cake close up as the cake cools, so you may find that this happens. You can also turn the cake over so that the bottom of the cake is uppermost and any cracks won't be seen. The flat base also gives a good surface for decorating.
Usually a cake cracks on the surface if the oven is too hot. The top of the cake sets too quickly then as the centre of the cake cooks and rises it pushes through the set surface, creating cracks. It should be noted that the oven temperature in the recipe is for a conventional oven, so if you have a fan or convection oven then you will need to adjust the temperature downwards, usually by 20c. Even then the cake can cook more quickly than the time stated in the recipe so it is always advisable to check slightly early. If you baked the same cake in the same oven last year then you may need to check the thermostat of the oven, as they do become less efficient over time.