Chocolate, Orange and Walnut Fruitcake with Chocolate Glaze
Serves 16 and takes about two hours of active time then two days of standing time while the fruitcake softens and mellows. This cake can be made three weeks ahead. Wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use. Adapted from the December 1995 issue of Bon Appetit.
2 1/2 c. coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1 c. each (packed) chopped dried black Mission figs, chopped pitted prunes and chopped pitted Medjool dates
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1/4 c. Grand Marnier
2 T. grated orange peel
3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. (packed) cocoa powder
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. each baking powder and baking soda
1 t. salt
1 lb dark brown sugar
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. each unsalted butter and cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 c. prune butter or orange marmalade (store bought or home-made)
Equipment: 12-cup angel food cake or bundt cake pan, electric mixer with paddle attachment, food processor.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour the cake pan. Combine the toasted walnuts, dried figs, prunes, dates, orange juice, Grand Marnier and grated orange peel in a large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Combine the brown sugar and 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and chop the chocolate into small pieces.
With the electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until blended. Add the chopped chocolate and brown sugar mixture and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the prune butter (or marmalade). Stir in 1/4 of the dry ingredients. Stir in the fruit and nut mixture and the remaining dry ingredients in 3 additions each.
Put the batter in the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the centre of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool 5 minutes and turn pan over onto a cake rack; let stand again for 5 minutes. Lift off the pan and cool cake completely. Wrap the cake in plastic and store at room temperature for 2 days. Glaze and serve. Serves 16.
Glaze (make on the day you serve the cake)
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. plus 2 T. unsalted butter
Chopped walnuts and candied orange peel (optional)
Melt butter in a heavy, medium sized saucepan over low heat. Add the 8 ounces of chocolate, and stir until smooth. Place the cake on a cake rack and spread some of the glaze thickly over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Spread the remaining glaze over the cake, covering it completely. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or candied orange peel if desired. Refrigerate the cake 30 more minutes to set the glaze.