Following on my last month’s suggestion for an individual home-baked gift, here is a recipe for lovely little Christmas cakes baked in a coffee tin or something similar, such as a sponge pudding tin. This is a rich fruit cake mixture, coated with marzipan and icing. Make them soon, they will keep until Christmas. This makes two 10cm (4in) fruit cakes
- 75g (3oz) butter
- 75g (3oz) dark soft brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 75g (3oz) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 110g (4oz) currants
- 75g (3oz) sultanas
- 75g (3oz) raisins
- 25g (1oz) glacė cherries - quartered
- 25g (1oz) mixed peel
- 450g (1 lb) almond paste
- 1 tablespoon apricot jam
- 450g (1 lb) sugarpaste (ready- to-roll icing)
- 15cm (6in ) silver board – if available
Line the tin with fresh brown paper. Heat the oven to Gas 2/160C
Cream together the butter and sugar, gradually beat in the eggs and fold in the flour and spice, followed by the remaining ingredients.
Divide between the tins, make a slight hollow in their tops. Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour then reduce the heat to Gas 1 /150C for a further hour or until they are firm in the centre.
Cool in the tins. Store in an airtight container before decorating.
To decorate: Brush with heated apricot jam. Measure the cake with a piece of string, across from base to base to use as a guide, and roll out 225g (½ lb) almond paste to a circle to cover the whole cake. Repeat with the sugarpaste – you will not need the whole amount, the remainder can be reserved for decorations.
I have shown a very simple idea using sugarpaste coloured green using a cutter to make holly leaves but you can decorate them as you choose, perhaps using bought items if you are short of time. I can assure you, these personal gifts will bring much pleasure to the recipients.