This is a real fruit cake but it is also a real chocolate cake. It is densely packed with dried pineapple, prunes, peel, raisins, crystallized ginger and walnuts: a mixture which combines irresistibly with the rich chocolate flavour. I make the cake two or three weeks before Christmas and then glaze if with apricot jam and ice it with lemony royal icing only two or three days before eating it, so that the icing is still slightly soft.
Put the dried pineapple into a bowl, pour over plenty of boiling water and leave for 15-30 minutes and then drain. Line the base of a deep,
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Cream the butter and the brown sugar in a mixing bowl, add the melted chocolate and whisk thoroughly until smooth, paler in colour and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs
Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and level the top. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 3/325°F/170°C and bake the cake in the centre for one hour; then turn down to Gas Mark 1/275°F/140°C for 1¼-1½ hours until a knife stuck in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes and then take it out of the tin and leave it on a rack to cool. When cold, wrap well in several layers of cling film and store in a cool place until you are ready to ice it.
© 1978 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.