You will also need a bundt pan with a base measurement of 20 cm (8 inches), greased and dusted with flour, or a 20 cm (8 inch) springform cake pan, sides greased and dusted with flour, base lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4).
Break up the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl with half the milk. Sit the bowl over a pan of just simmering water to melt the chocolate, about 5 minutes. Make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the chocolate and milk until combined and then put to one side to cool.
Now in a small bowl, lightly whisk together the remaining milk, crème fraîche (or sour cream), and brandy. Put to one side.
Next, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Now gradually add the eggs until the mixture is smooth. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the mixture.
Using a large metal spoon fold in half the flour with a pinch of salt and then add half the milk mixture. Repeat using the remaining flour and milk mixture.
Spoon slightly less than half the cake mixture into a separate bowl and quickly mix in the melted chocolate.
Then combine both batches of the cake, marbling lightly so that both mixtures are still apparent.
Carefully spoon into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a fine skewer comes out clean when poked through the centre of the cake.
Leave in the pan until the cake is fairly cool and then turn out on to a wire rack.
Perfect for use in festive baking, fruit cakes, fruit buns, and more.
Mixed peel is very difficult to find in North America. I like to use it when baking fruit cakes and fruit buns, and especially when it comes to traditional English festive recipes.
The traditional fruits to use are lemons and oranges and this is a very simple recipe. One advantage is that you can freeze it in small batches so it will be there just when you need it.
Homemade Traditional Mixed Peel
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Standing time: 2–3 days
5average sized citrus fruits, traditionally lemons and oranges
280g(10 oz) granulated sugar (1½ cups)
Wash the fruit, scrubbing the peel, and then cut each fruit in half.
Squeeze the juice from the fruit which can then be refrigerated and used in other recipes.
Now cut each piece of fruit in half again so you are working with a quarter piece.
With a sharp knife, scrape out all the remaining fruit segments, leaving as much of the pith as possible.
Then cut the peel into approximately 0.75 cm (¼ inch) wide pieces and put in a large pan.
Add water to the pan so it just covers the peel and then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain as much of the liquid as possible by using a colander and then tip the peel back into the pan.
Repeat the process by just covering the peel with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Now, drain off the liquid again, but this time reserve 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup).
Put the peel in a bowl and leave on one side.
Now pour the reserved liquid into the pan and add 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) water.
Take two thirds of the sugar, 190 g (6½ oz) (1 cup), and add it to the pan.
Gently bring the liquid to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the sugar syrup has come to a boil, pour it over the peel. Cover the bowl and leave to stand overnight.
Next day, transfer the peel, the liquid, and remaining sugar to a pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and drain well.
Spread the peel out on two large baking trays/sheets covered with baking paper/parchment. Leave to dry. This can take 24–48 hours. Occasionally move the peel about with a fork to keep the pieces separate.
It can now be stored in the fridge for up to one month or divided into small batches and put in snap lock freezer bags and frozen.