Cherry Brandy Mini Christmas Cakes
Uploaded by Renshaw Baking
- 325 g mixed dried fruit (including mixed peel)
- 50 g chopped glace cherries
- 50 ml cherry brandy (or your choice of alcohol) plus an extra 60ml for soaking
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 zest of lemon
- 1 zest of small orange
- 12 tsp almond essence
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tbsp treacle
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 14 tsp salt
- 85 g chopped nuts (optional)
- 100 g smooth marmalade or apricot jam
- 250 g Renshaw Original White Marzipan
- 250 g Ready to Roll Icing in your choice of colour (I have used Baby Pink!)
- 100 g each of Carnation Red and Leaf Green Flower and Modelling Paste
- Edible glitter or lustre for dusting (optional - I used Sugarflair's Snowflake)
You will need a square 12-cavity tin such as this one from Lakeland. Alternatively, you can use a 9"x9" brownie tin - it will need longer in the oven (Check after 35 minutes) and you'll need to slice the cakes into 12 equally sized squares. You'll also need a rolling pin, a 6cm square cutter and a holly leaf cutter.
Preparing the fruit:
The day before you plan to make the cakes, empty the dried fruits and cherries into a large container (preferably one with a lid) and pour over the cherry brandy. Give it a really good mix, put the lid on (or cover with clingfilm) and set aside. Try to give the container a shake a couple of times during the steeping process (this is why I suggest using something with a lid!):
Brush your tin with melted butter, then cut little strips of baking paper a little wider than each cavity so that you can 'lift' out each cake later. Make sure each strip is pressed neatly into the tin.
Preheat the oven to 150c/300f/gas mark 2. Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar together until a fluffy, pale coffee colour.
Switch off the motor for a moment and add the lemon and orange zests, almond essence and black treacle. Mix thoroughly, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 10 second between each addition.
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, spices and salt. Add to the mixer using a heaped tablespoon, until it is completely incorporated.
When the mixture looks smooth and creamy, add the soaked fruit - and any remaining liquid - and the chopped nuts (if using). Mix again until everything is evenly distributed, then spoon the mixture into your tin. I use a large ice-cream scoop for this - I find one level scoop of cake mix is the perfect amount per cavity.
Use the back of a teaspoon to level the tops, then place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven for 30 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean. You know they are done when they look darkly golden and the tops spring back when touched. These little cakes do not need to be baked for long, be careful not to overbake otherwise you'll have a dry fruitcake. Carefully place the tin on to a wire cooling rack, and brush a 2-3 teaspoons on to the top of each cake while they are still hot. Leave to cool in the tin.
When the cakes are cool, you can start decorating. Lightly knead the marzipan then roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Roll to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin - this is enough for these little cakes. Use the square cutter to cut 12 squares. Warm the marmalade in a dish in the microwave for a few seconds, then brush the tops of the cakes with it.
Trim the corners off each square, and place one on each cake. Trimming makes it easier to mould the marzipan neatly to the cakes.
Repeat the same rolling, cutting and trimming process with the pink icing. Brush a tiny amount of cooled boiled water on to the marzipan to make the sugarpaste stick.
Roll out the green flower paste thinly and use a holly cutter (a plunge one is very quick and easy) to cut 12 holly leaves. Dab a little water or edible glue on to the back of each one, then position in the centre of each cake. Roll tiny balls (berries!) of red flower paste, then place in a little dish with some edible lustre, and swirl them around so that they get a sparkly coating. Again, use a dab of water or edible glue to stick on to the cakes. Finish each cake with a dusting of lustre (if desired).