Christmas Mini Loaf Cakes

MAKES 12

What’s more Christmassy than a traditional Christmas cake? Absolutely nothing! And if you want bite-sized versions to serve up as part of a festive buffet, or to gift to fans of fruit-packed cakes, the delicious dozen you’ll turn out from our 12 Hole Loose-Based Mini Loaf Tin are hard to beat.

Ingredients

For the cakes

  • 200g dried mixed fruit
  • 30g candied peel, chopped
  • 50g glacé cherries, quartered
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

To decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 4. Place the dried mixed fruit, candied peel and cherries into a small pan. Add the zest and juice and heat gently for 1 minute until the juice is hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and cool to allow the fruit to plump up.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle until pale and light. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition. Fold in the flour, mixed spice and salt, add the fruit mixture and milk, and stir to combine.
  3. Divide the cake batter evenly between the holes in the tin and bake on a low shelf for about 25 minutes or until well-risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the tin for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave until completely cold.
  4. Brush the top of each cake with a little apricot jam. Lightly dust a surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to approx. 3mm thick. Using one of the tin’s loose bases as a template, cut out 12 rectangles of marzipan. Top each cake with a marzipan layer, then brush lightly with the remaining apricot jam.
  5. Clean the rolling surface, dust again with icing sugar then roll out the white icing to the same thickness as the marzipan. Again using a loose base as a template, cut out 12 rectangles of icing. Top each cake with a layer of icing, then add a few frosted cranberries to decorate.

Tips: to make frosted cranberries, dry washed cranberries with kitchen roll, brush with lightly beaten egg white, then roll in caster sugar and allow to dry. To give as gifts for Christmas, place each cake in a clear presentation bag and tie with string or ribbon.