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Nigella Lawson says ditch the Christmas cake this year

We all have beloved traditions around the Christmas season, especially when it comes to food. For centuries, fruit cake has been a staple dessert gracing holiday tables and magazine spreads all over the world. But celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has ruffled some feathers this year, urging us to consider a fresh take: ditching fruit cake for a decadent chocolate cake instead. 

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Nigella said that, even though she enjoys the classic flavour of fruit cake, it simply doesn’t satisfy the sweeter tooth of younger generations. 

“If no one in your family likes dried fruit, there’s no point having a Christmas cake gathering dust or just being eaten on sufferance,” she said. “If chocolate cake appeals more, go for it.”

Nigella, who says she once cooked Christmas dinner for 35 guests, knows a thing or two about choosing crowd-pleasing recipes. A survey by UK brand Delicious Dessert Company in 2022 found that people under 35 years of age thought fruit cake was “the most boring” type of cake, with a third of people who responded saying they thought it needed a makeover. 

And data from Ocado, a UK grocery store, found that 1 in 5 fruit cake buyers don’t actually enjoy eating it themselves. 

“It was made clear to me long ago that, in the interest of harmony in the home, I needed to introduce a new tradition that made us all happy, and this [chocolate] cake is it,” Nigella said. “Tradition is a glorious thing at this time of year, but I’m all for embracing new Christmas rituals of our own.”

Nigella says she hasn’t abandoned all classic desserts, though. She’ll still be baking a small Christmas pudding, and making a trifle in a nod to Christmas traditions. But a rich chocolate cake may be a merry new way to indulge this season. It avoids the dried fruit that many find unappealing, and who doesn’t love chocolate?

You can create Nigella’s Winter Wonderland Cake, with luscious chocolate sponge and a snowy marshmallow icing with this recipe.

What do you think? Does chocolate cake sound like a festive and tasty alternative? Or are you a traditionalist all the way?