Apricot, Walnut and Chocolate Loaf

Densely packed with fruit and chocolate – what’s not to like? This is a tasty teatime treat that you can actually enjoy anytime.

Makes: 1 loaf (12 – 15 slices)

Time:  80 – 90 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Equipment: A 1.2Litre/2 pint loaf tin

Ingredients

  • 100g/4oz dried apricots, chopped
  • 150ml/¼ pint orange juice
  • 100g/4oz unsalted butter or Stork or a mixture – softened
  • 100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g/4oz ground almonds
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 50ml/2 fl oz milk
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 90g/3oz walnuts (or pecans, or mixed nuts for economy)
  • Icing sugar for dusting the top

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Grease and line the tin, leaving the two long ends long enough to use to lift out the loaf when cooled. Or, simply insert a paper liner into the loaf tin (see picture below).

2. In a medium sized saucepan, simmer the apricots and orange juice for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, almonds, flour and milk in a large bowl and beat until smooth.

4. Stir in the apricots, the chocolate pieces and most of the nuts, reserving enough to decorate the top of the cake.

5. Spoon or pour the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Scatter over the reserved nuts and bake for about 55 minutes. (Test whether it’s done by inserting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, then the cake is cooked.)

6. Leave in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool fully then dust with icing sugar.