• 150ml hot Lady Grey tea
  • 3 tbsp Stones Ginger wine
  • 3 tbsp cherry brandy
  • 225g glacé cherries
  • 115g dried apricots, chopped
  • 840g raisins
  • 1 tbsp of spice
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 225g butter/margarine
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temp
  • 230g self raising flour
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp brandy for soaking cake once baked
  • 90g boiled and sieved jam
  • Icing sugar for rolling onto
  • 2.25kg marzipan
  • 30mls clear spirit such as vodka/gin
  • 2.25kg white fondant icing
  • Extra coloured fondant for decorating

Fun size is not normally fun. This is a truth universally acknowledged. However, time and time again I hear that people can’t get through a whole Christmas cake. If you’re one of these families, why not make lots of fun sized mini Christmas cakes and give the gift of baked dried fruit this Christmas to those you love. You can of course make gorgeous round mini Christmas cakes like these but I’m afraid I don’t have the patience for intricate lining. This recipe makes 18 cakes but you could easily halve it.

One year ago: Hot chocolate on a stick

Two years ago: Caramel, nutmeg and brandied raisin ice-cream

Mini last minute Christmas cakes with marzipan and fondant icing

Makes 18 individual cakes

Ingredients:

 

  • 150ml hot Lady Grey tea (Any old tea will do, I just like this a lot.)
  • 3 tbsp Stones Ginger wine
  • 3 tbsp cherry brandy
  • 225g glacé cherries
  • 115g dried apricots, chopped
  • 840g raisins
  • 1 tbsp of spice, I used Vanilla Pudding Spice which smells a bit like a Christmassy coffee shop, but you can use cinnamon or nutmeg or mixed spice or ginger…
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 225g butter/margarine
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temp
  • 230g self raising flour
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp brandy for soaking cake once baked
  • 90g boiled and sieved jam
  • Icing sugar for rolling onto
  • 2.25kg marzipan
  • 30mls clear spirit such as vodka/gin
  • 2.25kg white fondant icing
  • Extra coloured fondant for decorating

 

This is all about making Christmas cakes without the prep so to speed the soaking of the fruit, pop all the dried fruit in a microwavable bowl and add the booze and tea and spice. Stir, then cover with clingfilm and microwave for about 2 minutes on high, stirring every 30 seconds. Leave on the side to cool down.

Grease and line 2 traybake tins with straightish sides. Mine were about 20cm x 20cm. Preheat the oven to Gas 2/150C. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer/with a handheld mixer/with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating in one at a time, adding a tbsp of the flour with each egg. Add the rest of the flour and almonds, mix again until combined. Then whizz up half the dried fruit mixture in a food processor until it’s a purée and add this too. Whizz up again. Lastly add the other half of the fruit that wasn’t puréed and then mix well. Put half the mixture into each traybake tin and then bake for 30 minutes before turning the oven down to Gas 1/140C and baking for another 90 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the middle of the traybakes clean. Cool on a wire rack and brush with a little brandy whilst still warm.

Once cool use a serrated knife to cut any haphazard sides off that are not at right angles. I ate these. Very little waste unfortunately.

Then, turn smooth side up and cut into squares. I started off using a ruler and ended up just doing it by eye.

Then coat one of the squares of cake in boiled, warm jam. I used damson. Don’t coat the underneath. Wrap the rest of the cake in foil until you’ve finished the first one.

Roll out about 125g marzipan to about 4mm thick in a rough square shape. Do this on an icing sugar dusted surface.

Pop the marzipan over the cake and then using your hands, smooth, but don’t drag, the marzipan down and round.

Use a knife to cut around the marzipan overhang so that half a centimetre is left all round.

Then use a knife and your fingers to tuck this over and under.

Smooth the cake over and pinch the sides and corners a little to get a rough square shape back.

Paint in clear spirits then cover in fondant icing in exactly the same way as you did with the marzipan. I removed all rings for this stage as white fondant icing can be a little unforgiving where jewellery’s concerned.

Tuck the icing underneath again to give a smooth outer edge.

Use the white spirits to fix any decorations you make to the top of the cake, then leave to dry overnight before you package the cakes up.

They will last for 2 – 3 weeks.

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