I found this recipe for Mini Festive Fruit Cakes on the Marks & Spencer website. In the UK, we do love a rich fruit cake at Christmas, especially one with marzipan and icing. However, a large cake can often be too much for small households. These mini cakes provide a great alternative that can be shared with others and even given as gifts.
A note about the recipe: The original version doesn’t indicate the size of the mini cakes, stating only that the recipe will make 10 to 12. Knowing the dimensions would have been helpful. Fortunately, I have a silicone pan with 10 rectangles measuring 3 inches by 1 3/4 inches, which seemed suitable. I also used some 5-inch by 3-inch loaf pans, resulting in 10 mini cakes and 2 mini loaves. Alternatively, you can make an 8-inch square cake and cut it into mini cakes, as suggested on the M&S website. You can also use a muffin pan for round mini cakes, just don’t use too much of the batter for each one.
Process for Mini Festive Fruit Cakes
The process, while involving a few stages, is not difficult. Make the cake batter and bake the mini cakes, then roll out marzipan to top them. Cover the marzipan with rolled-out fondant icing and pipe coloured icing on the top for decoration. While I use homemade fondant icing, store-bought is also an option.
The ingredients list is extensive, but most items are readily available. The recipe calls for 500g (1.1 lb) of mixed dried fruits, but you can vary the fruits according to personal preferences. While I mention soaking the fruit in water and brandy, you can omit the alcohol and use hot tea or orange juice instead. Be sure to drain the fruit before using it in the recipe.
The remaining cake ingredients are just as for most cakes. Then there is some marzipan and fondant icing too. In addition there is a little apricot jam for sticking marzipan to the cakes.
Since I made two different sizes of cakes, I had two different baking times. The small cakes baked for 30 minutes, and the larger ones baked for 40 minutes. In both cases, a skewer came out clean when inserted into the centre.
Covering the cakes with marzipan and icing was straightforward. In the end, I had 10 small cakes and 2 larger ones, and the taste was delightful. The rich fruity cake, with a hint of spice, was perfect. The marzipan added extra flavour, and the sweet icing complemented the wonderful cake.
Another great recipe for Christmas is Deep Filled Mince Pies.
Mini Festive Fruit CakesCourse: Cakes, ChristmasDifficulty: Medium
- Fruit Cakes
500g(1.1lb) dried mixed fruit, soaked and drained(I used water and brandy)
175g(1 cup+3 tbsp), based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup)plain flour
175g(12 1/2 tbsp) softened unsalted butter
50g(1/2 cup) ground almonds
50g(1/2 cup) flaked almonds
3 medium eggs(large in USA) beaten
50ml(3 tbsp+1 tsp) golden syrup
70g(3 1/2 tbsp) black treacle, or molasses
100g(1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
4g(2 tsp) mixed spice
2g(1/2 tsp) baking powder
Pinch of salt
30ml(2 tbsp) milk
50ml(3 tbsp+1 tsp) orange juice, plus the zest of the orange
250g(9 oz) marzipan
250g(9 oz) fondant icing
200g(1 2/3 cup) icing sugar
1/2 egg white( I used powdered egg white mixed with water and then halved)
40g(2 tbsp) apricot jam, warmed
pink food colouring for icing
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F.
- Grease and flour the insides of mini cake pans.
- Mix the flaked almonds and orange juice/zest into the mixed fruits and set aside.
- Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice and salt together and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add in the beaten egg, mixing to combine.
- Beat in the golden syrup and black treacle until combined.
- Tip the flour mixture into the bowl and stir until just about combined.
- Add the mixed fruit and the milk and continue mixing until everything is fully combined.
- Divide the mixture into the prepared pans, levelling the tops.
- Bake the cakes for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pans you use.
- Test with a skewer to ensure the cakes are cooked.
- Leave them to sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a thickness of 2mm.
- Cut out rectangles the same size as the surface of your cakes.
- Brush the surface of the cakes with apricot jam and press the marzipan onto it.
- Roll out the fondant icing to the same thickness as the marzipan and cut out in the same manner.
- Brush the marzipan with hot water and place the icing onto the top.
- Beat the white egg a little.
- Pour some icing sugar into it and stir well to combine, adding more until the mixture is thick enough to pipe in ribbons.
- Add a little food colouring to colour the icing to your liking.
- Place the icing into a piping bag and pipe decoration of choice on the top of the cakes.