California Raisin Chocolate Christmas Showstopper

California Raisin Chocolate Christmas Showstopper by Charlotte White

This recipe begins life as my Chocolate Mud Cake, which has NEVER gone unappreciated! If you need a really good go-to chocolate cake, this is the one for you. It is moist and sticky as a chocolate brownie and keeps beautifully for up to two weeks… or so I am told, as I have never had one last so long in my house.

Christmas is the time of year when a selection of all manner of fancy nuts and nibbles find their way into my shopping basket and this is a great way to use up any leftovers because you can really use whichever nuts you most enjoy to complement the California raisins, which are made even more sticky and sweet than usual by baking in this luscious chocolatey cocoon.


330g dark chocolate
330g unsalted butter
3 tbsp instant coffee granules
240ml water
190g plain flour
190g self-raising flour
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
720g caster sugar
6 eggs
165ml buttermilk
55ml vegetable oil
300g California raisins
100g macadamia nuts (roughly chopped)
50g flaked almonds

You will need:
3x 8” round sandwich cake tins

Preheated oven 160⁰C / 325⁰F / Gas Mark 3

  1. Begin by melting dark chocolate and butter in a large saucepan with coffee granules and water. The coffee can be cheap but keep the chocolate of the kind that you would like to eat. You will not taste the coffee but it does bring out the flavour of the chocolate in a way that you will taste the benefit of nice chocolate.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, bicarb, salt, and butter. Stir to mix all together and break up any suspicious lumps of flour and sugar.
  3. In a jug, fork together eggs, buttermilk and oil until combined. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix until you have the start of a thick paste. It will be dry, do not worry.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate mixture onto the dry paste and mix to combine into a thick and glossy chocolate batter.
  5. Add California raisins, macadamia nuts, and flaked almonds to the chocolate batter and stir to distribute.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between 3x 8” sandwich cake tins, each one lined with baking parchment.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a cocktail stick comes out with just a few crumbs but no wet batter attached to it. Allow these cakes to cool completely in their tins before turning out – if you try to turn them out while still warm, the cakes will crumble apart.
  8. Once cool, the cakes are ready to be filled and covered with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting

Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting


250g unsalted butter
200g cream cheese
100g cocoa powder
500g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp full fat milk

  • Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Best done in a freestanding mixer though entirely doable with an electric handwhisk or by hand, if you are Popeye.
  • Add the cocoa powder and beat into a dark paste. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl and to the bottom a few times to get all of the butter incorporated.
  • Add half of your cream cheese to the mixture and beat until combined. Remember that you will need to stop every now and then to scrape the sides of the bowl and encourage the chocolatey butter into the centre.
  • Add half of your icing sugar and mix in completely before adding your remaining cream cheese. If the mixture looks runny with all of the cream cheese, do not panic too much as the icing sugar will bring it together.
  • Add the rest of your icing sugar and continue to beat on a medium speed. Throw in a tablespoon or two of milk to prevent the frosting from getting too heavy and continue beating for around 5 minutes. The result should be a wonderfully light chocolate frosting.
  • Use this frosting to sandwich your cake layers together and spread the remaining amount around the top and sides of the cake. Decorate in a suitably festive way with sprinkles and plenty of edible glitter. Slice liberally and enjoy entirely.

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