Simple but scrumptious Christmas cake
Christmas is nearly here, but no need to worry, these light fruit cakes with a touch of brandy don’t need months of preparation as they’re tasty whether you eat them a day or a month after. Create a delicious large round cake to share with family and friends or, as here, make into a number of mini cakes, ready for gifts or when a sweet treat is required. Happy Christmas!
IngredientsMakes approximately 24 mini cakes or one 20cm round cake
200g dark Muscovado sugar
750g mixed dried fruits (containing mixed peel and glacé cherries)
Finely grated zest and juice of one orange
Finely grated zest of one lemon
100ml brandy (plus a bit extra for soaking – four tablespoons)
85g Macadamia nuts
Three large eggs, lightly beaten
85g ground almonds
200g plain flour
Half teaspoon baking powder
One teaspoon mixed spice
One teaspoon cinnamon
Method• Put the butter, sugar, fruit, zest, juice and 100ml brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade/fan 130 degrees centigrade and line a 20cm round cake tin (or two 12 tin mini sandwich trays – Lakeland’s are brilliant – or muffin tins). Toast the nuts in the oven for eight to ten minutes and when they are cool, roughly chop.
• Stir the beaten eggs, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and combine well. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently until there are no traces of flour left.
• Spoon the mixture into the tin(s) and smooth the mixture down evenly.
• If making one large cake, bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140 degrees/fan 120 degrees and cook for a further one to one and a quarter hours until the cake is dark golden in appearance and firm to the touch. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a fine skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If making mini cakes, bake for around 30–40 minutes depending on the oven. Again, check using a skewer.
• Make holes all over the warm cake(s) with a fine skewer and spoon the extra four tablespoons of brandy over the holes until it has all soaked in. Leave the cake(s) to cool in the tin. When cold, remove from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil. The cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or will freeze for six months.