As Christmas approaches I had the idea for these small fruit cakes, which would be perfect to serve one person. Particularly in these times, when food prices are going ever higher, not everyone will want to make a full sized cake. So, as well as these cakes being great to give out as gifts, I though maybe a group could share the costs and one person bake individual cakes to share.
I have based my cakes on a recipe on the Lakeland website.
The cakes themselves are filled with some dried fruits, as is traditional. For mine, though it is optional, I also brushed some alcohol over the baked cakes. For that I used cherry brandy, but other spirits would be great too. That added some extra flavour though the flavours would be great without.
These little cakes can easily be topped with some marzipan and royal icing, as it traditional. However for mine I went for a simpler brown butter(beurre noisette) icing.
I did make a mistake when mixing my cake batter. I forgot to mix the spice into the flour before adding that to the batter. But, since the last ingredient to mix in was milk, I was able to stir the spice into that first. So all was well and the spice was mixed through the batter perfectly well.
The cakes are very easy to make. The butter and sugar are creamed together before having the eggs mixed into them. I should mention that I used large eggs, which would be extra large in the USA, but if you only have medium eggs(large USA) you can use them and add an extra tablespoon of milk to the batter. Then the flour and mixed spice is folded in before also stirring in the mixed fruits. The final ingredient is milk, to slightly loosen the batter. Then the mixture can be divided evenly into the 12 portions
I used a 12 hole cake pan, which is slightly smaller than a muffin pan, but one of those would work well too. I also lined the pan with paper cases, which were later discarded, just for ease of removing the cakes. However the cups of the pan can be greased and floured instead, if desired.
Making the brown butter icing is quite simple too. Simple heat butter until it starts to turn golden brown colour, ensuring that it doesn’t burn. As the milk solids cook they will turn into black specks which need to be strained off. Then, once the brown butter has cooled off a little icing sugar is stirred into to make a thick icing which is loosened to the desired consistency with a little milk.
That icing can then be spooned over the top of the cakes and allowed to set up before serving, or sharing. Of course, those who wish can also top the cakes with marzipan and royal icing instead of the brown butter icing, as I mentioned earlier.
As I mentioned above I did make a mistake when mixing the ingredients, but that was rectified easily.
I baked the cakes for 25 minutes and allowed them to cool for 5 minutes, then I transferred them to a wire rack, removing the papers.
I actually turned the cakes over to use the bases as the top, since they are more level. Then I poked some holes in the tops and bottoms and brushed some cherry brandy over them. That is just an option of course.
Then I made my icing and spooned that over too, letting it set up a little before tasting.
The cakes tasted so good and the added caramelised sweetness of the icing made them even better.
Another, but full sized, easy Christmas Cake recipe is Last-Minute Christmas Mincemeat Cake
Mini(Individual) Christmas CakesCourse: Cakes, ChristmasDifficulty: Medium
150g(1 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) – see note 1 below for using plain flour
100g(3/4 cup) currants, then soak in hot water for an hour, drain and pat dry
100g(2/3 cup) sultanas, then soak in hot water for an hour, drain and pat dry
50g(1/4 cup) glace cherries, quartered
30g(1/4 cup) chopped mixed peel
150g(10 tbsp+2 tsp) softened unsalted butter
100g(1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
20g(1 tbsp) golden syrup
20g(1 tbsp) black treacle, or molasses
2 large eggs(xl in USA), out of shell weight 125g, beaten – see note 2 below
5g(1 1/2 tsp) mixed spice
30ml(2 tbsp) milk
30ml(2 tbsp) cherry brandy, or other alcohol of choice, for brushing over the cakes – this is entirely optional
90g(6 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter
130g(1 cup) icing sugar
30ml(2 tbsp) milk, if required
- Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/325F.
- Line a 12 hole straight sided pan, with smallish cups(or a muffin pan) with paper cases, or grease and flour the cups.
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together with the golden syrup and black treacle, until it is pale and fluffy.
- Gradually egg the eggs, whisking all the time, until fully incorporated.
- Mix the spice into the flour and add that into the batter, then gently mix until fully combined.
- Toss the dried fruits in a tablespoon of extra flour, then add them to the batter and stir until evenly distributed.
- Stir in the milk to slightly loosen the batter.
- Spoon the mixture into the 12 holes, about 72 grams each.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Then allow them to cool for a 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the papers too.
- If using alcohol for brushing poke holes in the top and bottom of each cake. Brush the top and bottom with the alcohol, then leave the cakes bottom side up, for a flat surface.
- Add milk, a little at a time, until you have a smooth icing of the consistency you wish to top the cake.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, on a fairly gently heat until it starts to foam and the milk solids are separated. As the foam dissipates the butter should turn a golden brown colour. The solids may turn into black flecks. Don’t overheat or the butter will burn and become bitter.
- Strain the butter to remove the flecks.
- Allow the butter to cool for 5 minutes then stir in the icing sugar to make a thick paste.
- Spoon the icing over the upturned cakes, allowing some to drizzle down the sides. Leave the icing to set up a little before serving, or sharing.
- 1. If you don’t have self raising flour you can use the same amount of plain flour, but add in 2 tsp of baking powder and mix thoroughly.
- 2. If you only have medium eggs(large USA) you can use them and add an extra tablespoon of milk.