I’ve had to do a lot of prioritising this year with house renovations and sadly this has meant that I’ve not been able to play around as much in my kitchen when it comes to my annual Christmas hampers. Every hamper usually has a well fed Christmas cake; the kind that might possibly be dangerous while driving and the more moist, the better. But I’ve found a recipe that solves my short-of-time problem and although it’s not as boozy, I’d already heard before that the trick is to feed the cake with brandy while it cools down; not when it’s already cold (source: a frugaller facebooker whose friend of a friend made Prince Charles & Lady Diana’s wedding cake). We shall see if it’s any better.
So getting back to the cakes, last year I made 5 cakes to squeeze in to the hampers and looking back, I don’t know how I’d found the time or energy; the thought of the effort makes me yawn with exhaustion. And for the last two years, I’ve been looking for reasonably priced mini 12cm cake tins with a clip release but found they’re incredibly pricey until finally I fell upon a steal at Home Bargains (2 for £2) and can’t at all nitpick about the quality. I picked up four and that way I could split one regular cake mixture and dish out smaller, cuter versions, more than halving my work, making just two batches. I win!
If you don’t have mini tins like me, then I know a lot of people just use empty bean cans, but this recipe is also perfect for a regular 9″ tin. Also, the added bonus of this boil and simmer cake is that it cuts down the washing up as your large pan is the mixing bowl so I’m extremely thankful for trying!
175g butter, cut in to cubes
200g dark muscovado sugar
550g dried mixed fruit
200g candied peel
70ml orange juice
45ml lemon juice
100ml brandy (& 4 tbsp to feed at the end or 1 tbsp per mini cake)
3 large eggs, beaten
135g ground almonds
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
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- In a large pan, add the butter, dried fruit. peel, sugar, juice and 100ml brandy and slowly bring to the boil, meanwhile stirring until the butter has melted.
- Turn off the hob and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
- While waiting, preheat the oven on gas mark 2 and line your cake tin or tins. Please make sure you line your cake tin by following my video tutorial here to ensure you don’t burn your hard efforts.
- Once the 30 minutes cooling time is up, gently stir in your eggs, ground almonds and follow with the flour, baking powder and spices until all the flour is combined.
- Spoon in to your cake tin and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes and then lower the heat to gas mark 1 and continue to cook for another 1 hr 30 until it is firm to touch and an instered skewer comes out clean.
- Take the cakes out of the oven and prick in several places with your skewer and spoon in the brandy and leave to cool.
- Then remove all the pack from the tin(s) and double wrap in baking paper then again with tin foil and store in an airtight container.
When it comes to prettying up your cake with marzipan and icing, I tend to do this a few day before Christmas, so definitely sign up to my free email subscription and you’ll get a prompter when I share with you how I’m decorating mine this year.
Tastefully Vikkie x