My BBQ Man loves cake, in spite of the fact that cakes do not often contain meat products or hops. So my kind-of Valentine’s Day tradition is to bake him a cake. This is no ordinary cake, however. Some wizard at Women’s Weekly came up with the idea of a chocolate fruit cake, and the result is swoonworthy. The richness of all that fruit, beautifully balanced by the bittersweet endnote of chocolate. And then there’s the icing, a sour cream and dark chocolate ganache. A smooth, unctuous topping, not at all sweet but very, very intruiging…a fitting highlight for this particular cake.

If you’re not a fruitcake fan, or if you have someone in your life who needs enlightening in this regard, this is the fruitcake to go with. It’s also one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made, if you need further convincing.

To make the cake, line tin, measure out first lot of ingredients, melt together in a saucepan.


Whew! That was hardwork! Now have a drink and take a break. Oh-wait a minute-the drink’s for the cake. Sigh. Throw it in the saucepan, too.


Now for the home stretch. Measure out the last lot of ingredients. Into the saucepan they go, mix and pour into the cake tin. 


NOW have a drink and relax. Allow no one to interrupt you for next hour and a half, because you are busy baking, (yes, even if you’re on the sofa researching your next kitchen adventure. You are still baking.) After an hour and a half, check the cake. If the cake tester comes out clean – well you won’t have to wash it. And oh, the cake will be ready.

Leave it to cool in the pan before turning it out. Look, it turned out nicely! (Pun intended, awfully sorry).


To make the ganache,  chop chocolate and melt, measure out sour cream, stir together.


And now, ice ice baby!


After playing with 5 different patterns on the cake, I finally settled for this one.

 Put it on a man-sized plate. Now it’s ready for the BBQ Man!



BBQ Man takes matters into his own hands and goes back for seconds… Guess it’s a winner! 😀


Chocolate Fruit Cake (adapted from Women’s Weekly recipes)

125g butter

150g brown sugar

50g dark eating chocolate, chopped

125ml water

60ml dark rum (I used Frangelico)

445g mixed dried fruit of your choice. I add peel to my mix

110g plain flour

2 tbs cocoa powder

2 tbs self raising flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

1/2 a nutmeg, freshly grated (or 1/2 tsp ground)

2 eggs, beaten lightly


80g dark chocolate, melted

60g sour cream


Preheat oven to 150C or 140C for fanforced

Grease and line bottom of 20cm ring pan, or a small heart shaped pan, or a 14cm x 21 cm load pan.

Combine butter, sugar, chocolate and water in saucepan, stir over heat until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat, stir in rum and fruit

Add sifted dry ingredients and eggs, stir until combined. Spoon mixture into pan.

Bake for 1 hour if you are using a ring pan, or 1.5 hours if using a heart shaped or a loaf pan

Cool cake in pan. I leave mine overnight.

To make icing, melt and cool chocolate, stir into sour cream until smooth.

Turn cake out on to baking paper, spread icing over the top of the cake. If you want to do the sides of the cake, double the icing recipe.

Use baking paper to life cake onto serving plate, slide paper out from under the cake.


My BBQ Man is a Man’s Man, and a Man’s Man does not do romance. Valentine’s Day is an anathema to him and must be ignored at all cost. That’s why, a couple of days before Valentine’s Day each year, I get taken out on a special date. Which has nothing to do with Valentine’s and all that commercial, overpriced dinners and flowers, you understand. The Not-Valentine’s-Day Date is about… the real thing . But no, nuh-uh, no way no how, is it ever going to be r-o-m-a-n-t-i-c.

So my BBQ Man and I set off for lunch, and the venue is a surprise. I hop in the car and ask brightly, ‘Should I shut my eyes? ‘ He rolls his eyes at me and then mutters under his breath ‘What’s the fastest way to Hungry Jacks…’ ! Off we go through town, take a wrong turning, go past one or two lunch bars that cater to the blue collar crowd. ‘Oh no’ he groans. ‘That’s shut’. And then,  ‘How about that Chinese takeaway?’ (See? Not romantic!) But the route gives his secret away – we’re heading north out of town, I note with glee. This can only mean one thing – The Chocolate Cottage! Only my favourite cafe!


 The Chocolate Cottage is a charming little place. Follow the winding path, up the stairs to the entrance where some giant cutlery greet you. It’s a subtle hint to your tummy: expect big things here…


Where shall we sit? Under the vine laden arbor, out in the front? Or on the lawn, around the back, with the range dropping away in a breathtaking view? Or on the balcony, where each and every chair is decked with painted flowers?


 Inside, the whitewashed walls are covered with all kinds of inviting things, from gourmet foods to quirky and cute kitchenware, to original works of art, to chocolate, chocolate and did I mention chocolate?




We choose our table on the balcony and before we know it, our little lunch arrives.



Creaming soda float for him, sparkling apple juice for me, nachos and a flourless blueberry mudcake to share. How was it?


Om…nom nom nom…*burp*

And then…he takes me to one of my favourite stores, a place where beautiful things are crafted and sold, aptly called Simple Things Small Joys.


Pendants made from vintage typewriter keys…we try to find a ‘J’ but there are none…


And then, on a tree, we find a gift for me.

I had fun opening it, later at home.

Thank you for a lovely date, BBQ Man.


My BBQ Man, crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.