I cannot bear Christmas Pudding, I have never been a fan of fruit cakes, and that’s entirely my mother’s fault. My nan would buy Eat Me dates, she loved traditional fruit cake and every Christmas she’d buy one. I’m not even sure it got eaten but a great traditionalist, she’d buy it for when someone wanted a slice, or if a visitor popped in to say hello. I’ve never asked Mum why she’s not a fan of fruit cakes but I do know that when we were kids she’d never bake anything with dried fruit in it. Goodness knows what the fruit cake trauma was or the subsequent nightmares that ensue.
So, when Lakeland sent me a set of their small Hemisphere Cake Pans I broke out in a cold sweat, were they expecting me to deliver a traditional Christmas pudding, after all, there was no recipe. I’ve only ever made one Christmas Cake and that was a boxed kit to make a Delia Cake. I stared at the empty pans for a while then thought what a great idea it would be to make a family-sized melting middle chocolate fondant, disguised as a Christmas pudding.
I found a Ramsay recipe on the BBC Good Food Recipe site which sounded wickedly stuffed full of chocolate and just the thing I was looking for, although the recipe was intended for a individual ramekin puddings.
After washing both pans, I greased them with Cake Release and put each pan on a cookie cutter which kept them upright, and placed them both on a baking tray. These went into the fridge until I had prepared the mixture.
The recipe was the perfect amount and once I had filled the moulds, leaving half an inch clear at the top of each, I had enough left over for two individual pudding pots (which I filled and froze without cooking).
- 200g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
- 200g butter cut in small piece
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs and 4 yolks
- 200g plain flour
- Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins. Watch your fingers when you remove the bowl from the pan of hot water.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a resemble a loose cake batter.
- Divide the fondant batter between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 10 mins more to the cooking time.
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for between 20 and 25 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit until cooled.
- Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds.
- Leave to stand until the cakes are completely cooled (don’t attempt to handle when they’re still warm or hot) and place one on top of the other to form a ball. If you attempt to do this warm the cakes could crack and the filling spill.
- Divide marzipan into three, making one large and one medium ball and a small ball. Roll the larger ball out with a rolling pin and cut around a small plate. Cut out ‘drips’ and place over the top of the ball. Drip green food colouring into the medium size ball and work it so it turns green. Mould three holly shaped leaves. Take the other ball and work in the red food colouring and make three red holly berries. Once dried and not too sticky place on the top of the cake.
To reheat, you can remove the marzipan topping before putting the fondant into the microwave to heat. I reheated for 2 minutes on a 600 setting but as soon as you remove the hot ball and cut it, the chocolate will ooze out on contact. I heated my fondant with the marzipan still on top and it didn’t melt. I used a sharp knife to see if the fondant was runny and once the damn was broken, the chocolate waterfall sprung forth.
As you can see the cake remains moist heating it for such a short time on a lower setting. If you put it back into the oven, I doubt you’d get the gooey effect and the cake would harden considerably. I made no real attempt to hide the joins but there are a host of different ways you could cover this cake in its entirety, a good buttercream would be a great place to start although it’s pretty rich as it is. If you choose to buy these pans I’d love to see what you get up to with them.
Serve with a little creme fraiche sweetened with icing sugar and vanilla or some double cream or ice cream.