Yes, it is one month before Christmas and though I am hardly traditional when it comes to this time of the year I can not go through December (and November and January for that matter) without fruit cake. It has to be packed with fruit and absolutely no skimping on the booze please! And I think this year’s version certainly delivers on both. This flourless chocolate fruit cake is a combination of two Nigella recipes. I have been making her Chocolate Fruit Cake for a few years now, each year tweaking the recipe to suit my taste at the time. I would change the fruit, add various extracts and also play around with different spirits or liqueurs and have been very happy with the results. —heinstirred
Place all the fruit, butter, sugar, liqueur, marmelade, salt, cacao, extracts and mixed spice in a pot and heat over a medium heat
Simmer gently for 10 minutes and remove from the heat to cool.
Cover with plastic wrap (directly on the mixture to avoid a skin forming) and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the fruit mix from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
Line the bottom and sides of a 22cm high-sided tin with a layer of baking parchment; the lining should extend about 10cm above.
Beat the eggs and add to the mix with the ground almonds and mix well.
Spoon into the lined baking tin and smooth the top.
Decorate with the blanched almonds and cherries.
Bake for about 2 hours and let cool completely in the tin.
Start testing if the cake is cooked 15 minutes before 2 hours are up by inserting a sharp knife into the middle of the cake. Do not worry if there is a very slight bit of moist batter attached to the knife. If the cake is too uncooked return to the oven for another 15 minutes and test again. Cover the top with foil so that the cake does not become too dark on top.
Once cool, remove from the tin, brush with some brandy and wrap in foil.
Keep for a week (or longer) in an airtight container before serving.