What you need
1kg mixed dried fruit
1 cup brandy
250g butter, softened
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
½ cup SR flour
½ cup CADBURY Bournville Cocoa
2 teaspoons mixed spice
¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and halved
½ cup CADBURY Baking Dark Chocolate Chips
For decoration, optional
200g white plastic icing, for decoration
Pure icing sugar
Thick Christmas ribbon, for decoration
1. COMBINE the fruit and brandy, cover and stand overnight but up to 1 month.
2. CREAM together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, beating well between each addition. Add the sifted flours, cocoa and spice and stir until combined. Stir through the fruit mixture, nuts and chocolate. Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 22-23 cm round cake pan.
3. BAKE in a slow oven 140°C for 2¾-3 hours or until cooked when tested. Cool in pan on a wire rack before turning out. Store in baking papers, well wrapped in an airtight container until required.
4. KNEAD the plastic icing until smooth then roll out on an icing sugar dusted surface to 3mm thickness. Use snowflake or Christmas cutters to cut various sizes then place decoratively onto the top of the cake. Tie a large Christmas ribbon around the cake and secure with a bow.
Line the pan with 2 layers of paper, and make sure the paper stands 5cm above the top of the pan.
If desired, the fruit cake may be brushed with additional brandy when you take it from the oven.
Cocoa gives a rounded mellow flavour to fruity Christmas cake, and remember a rich fruit cake only gets better with storage time. Make up to 1 month in advance. Time to put some fruit down now!