CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS CAKE

Yields16 Servings
 200 g raisins
 100 ml Grand Marnier, plus 1 tbsp extra for drizzling
 200 g unsalted butter softened
 150 g dark chocolate
 100 g walnut halves
 200 g brown muscovado sugar
 4 eggs
 200 g plain flour
 1 tsp ground mixed spice
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 ½ tsp ground nutmeg
 Juice of 1 lemon
 200 g sultanas
 100 g mixed peel
 100 g glace cherries
 100 g chopped roasted hazelnuts
To finish and decorate
 150 g unsalted butter
 300 g dark chocolate
 1 tsp Grand Marnier
 200 g marzipan
1

Put the raisins in a bowl with the Grand Marnier, cover and leave to soak overnight

2

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas2; grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line with baking parchment. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave in 30 second bursts and set aside; dry-toast the walnut halves in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes until golden and set aside

3

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the melted chocolate; fold through the flour and spices, then stir in the soaked raisins, toasted walnut halves, lemon juice, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries and hazelnuts until you have a smooth batter

4

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean; leave to cool on a wire rack. Then use a skewer to poke holes all over and drizzle over 1 tbsp of Grand Marnier

5

To make the ganache, melt the butter and 300g dark chocolate together in the microwave, stir in the 1 tsp orange liqueur, remove from the heat and leave to cool for 2 hours, until you have a spreadable consistency

6

To finish roll out the marzipan and lay over the cake and smooth down; cover with the ganache and allow to set for 30 minutes, then pile up some chocolate curls; decorate to your taste

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