Dark Chocolate Cake

It has now become a tradition in our family to have this moist chocolate cake instead of the usual rich fruit cake at Christmas time. After the fruit-filled pudding and mince pies we all much prefer it and with its snowy-white frosting the appearance when decorated is perfectly seasonal.

Ingredients

For the cranberry and orange filling

  • 4 fl oz (100 ml) fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 4 oz (100 g) sugar
  • 8 oz (200 g) fresh cranberries

For the cake

  • 4 oz (100 g) plain chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons (3 x 15 ml spoon) water
  • 6 oz (150 g) butter or margarine
  • 10 oz (250 g) soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml spoon) vanilla essence
  • 3 large (size 4) eggs - lightly whisked
  • 6 fl oz (150 ml) milk soured by adding the juice of ½ lemon
  • 10 oz (250 g) plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml spoon) baking powder
  • level teaspoons (3 x 2.5 ml spoon) bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting

  • 2 large (size 4) egg whites
  • 12 oz (300 g) caster sugar
  • good pinch of salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tablespoon (15 ml spoon) water
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml spoon) cream of tartar
  • Christmas decorations

Method

Make the filling first. Put the orange juice in a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the cranberries. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and chill well in the fridge before using.

Now line two greased 8½-9½ in. (22-24 cm) sandwich tins with greased greaseproof paper. Break the chocolate into small pieces, then put with the 3 spoons of hot water in a bowl over a pan of very hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Turn the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C. Cream the fat with the sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Thoroughly beat in the eggs and melted chocolate. Add the soured milk alternately with the sifted flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth with a knife. Bake towards the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until well risen and springy to touch in the centre. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes carefully out on to a wire tray to cool, and remove greaseproof paper. When cold, sandwich together with the cranberry and orange filling.

To make the frosting, put all the ingredients together in a large deep bowl and whisk together. Put the bowl over a pan of very hot water and continue to whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to stand in peaks and the sugar has dissolved. Spread at once thickly all over the cake with a wide knife, making rough flicks, decorate, leave in a cool place but not the fridge.

You can, of course, make the cake in advance and freeze it. The icing is best done a day before you cut the cake.

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