Sunday, 11 November 2012

Recipe - Miniature Christmas Cakes

Makes 10-12 Miniature Christmas Cakes

750g Mixed Dried Fruit
250g Plain Flour
250g Dark Brown Sugar
250g Unsalted Butter
4 Large Eggs
60g Ground Almonds
50g Blanched, Flaked Almonds
50g Glacé Cherries, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Black Treacle
2 Tablespoons Marmalade
3 Teaspoons Christmas Spice
6 Tablespoons Brandy

As this is the beginning of the build up to Christmas I thought that this would be a good place to start. I always make a couple of massive Christmas cakes but this year I realised that it would be much simpler to make a batch of miniature cakes to give to people rather than a big, slightly unattractive slice!

I still wanted the cakes to be round so I found that the easiest solution would be to use 220g tins (baked beans, tuna etc..) that I had washed out and lined with baking paper (Miniature square shaped cakes can be cut out manually from a large square tinned cake)

1) Firstly I made sure that all my tins were the same size and all washed out and dried properly, nobody wants baked bean flavoured Christmas cakes! Then with the baking paper I cut out two circles for each of the tins, the same size as the tins bases and I cut a big strip of paper two times the height of the tins to wrap around the inside. The first circle went in first covered with a layer of melted butter, then the strip all the way around the inside of the tin, folded over the bottom slightly. Then the second circle over the top with one final layer of butter.

2) Set oven temperature to about 150ºC/300ºF/Gas Mark 2. Beat butter until soft and then add sugar and beat both until the mixture is fluffy and smooth. In a separate bowl, beat all the eggs together and then add gradually to the mixture whilst still beating. Sift in the flour and the Christmas spice. Add ground almonds, black treacle and marmalade and mix together.

3) In a separate bowl add the mixed dried fruit to the glacé cherries and the flaked almonds. If the mixed fruit is clumped together then you can add a tablespoon of flour and mix to break everything up.

4) Add the mixtures together and add the brandy and fold the mixture together until completely combined. Then distribute evenly into the tins. Once they are in the tins make a slight dip in the middle of the mixtures so that the cakes will rise equally.

5) Bake in the oven for around an hour before checking with a skewer. If done, the cake should be an even golden colour and the skewer should come out clean. Leave to cool before taking off all of the baking paper as the cakes could break or loose their shape.

These cakes should be made in advance before Christmas and with a big Christmas cake you should add brandy over the top every two weeks but as these are smaller it only needs to be done once or twice otherwise you might not make it to boxing day!

Keep them wrapped up in greaseproof paper and foil in an airtight tin until ready to ice.

Happy Christmas cake making!


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