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Making A Dark And Rich Christmas Cake

Asked by GemmaA. Answered on 20th September 2017

Full question

I love Nigella's traditional Christmas cake, but how long will it keep and when should I make it for Christmas? Also although I love the recipe, I would like a really dark cake - almost black - but don't want to add food colouring or use the Chocolate Christmas Cake recipe. How can you get that really rich darkness to a Christmas cake?

Traditional Christmas Cake
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Traditional Christmas Cake (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is a moist fruit cake that can be made up to 6 weeks in advance. The cake itself is fairly densely studded with dried fruits and when first baked, like most fruit cakes, has a lighter colour. Fruit cakes usually turn darker as they are matured. So we suggest that you make the cake 6 weeks before you wish to ice it (so roughly the second week of November) and then store it and feed it with some extra alcohol.

Once the cake is completely cold, use a skewer to poke some holes in the top of the cake and trickle over 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen alcohol (it is easiest to use the same one that was used to make the cake). Wrap the cake in a layer of greaseproof or parchment paper, then in a double layer of foil and leave in a cool, dry place. You can add extra alcohol to the cake again either weekly or fortnightly, wrapping the cake again after each feeding, until you want to ice it. The cake should darken and become even moister as it is stored. The Chocolate Christmas Cake is much darker in colour thanks to the addition of cocoa powder and prunes, is ready to eat immediately and does not actually have a strong taste of chocolate. You may also want to consider the Date And Marmalade Cake, which is also ready to eat immediately and is dark and rich.

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