For the cakes
- 600g raisins
- 60g glacé cherries, halved
- 100ml dark rum, plus 4 tbsp for ‘feeding’
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small orange
- 100g butter
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 60g ground almonds
- 130g plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
To ice and decorate
- Put the raisins and glacé cherries into a large mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for 2-3 minutes, then drain thoroughly through a colander. Tip the fruit back into the bowl and add the rum, orange zest and juice. Stir well. Cover and leave in a cool place for up to 2 days, and at least overnight. This plumps up the fruit and makes the cakes deliciously moist.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Grease and line two mini springform tins with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition. Stir in the ground almonds.
- Sift the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into the mixing bowl, then fold them through with a large metal spoon. Add the soaked fruit mixture and stir it in thoroughly. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tins, levelling the surface. Remember that the mixture will not rise.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour in the centre of the oven. Test that the cakes are cooked by inserting a fine skewer into the centre – it should come out clean. If not, cook for a little longer. Stand the cakes on a wire rack and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Remove from the tins by undoing the clips on the side, then use the tins to bake the next two cakes, using the remaining mix, lining them as before.
- When the cakes are completely cold, spoon one tablespoon of dark rum over the surface of each one and let it soak in. Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin.
- To decorate, roll out the marzipan to 3-4mm thick. Using the loose base of one tin as a template, cut out four circles of marzipan. Cover the top of each cake with marzipan, then brush with a little clear honey. Roll out ready-to-roll icing to 4-5mm thick. Again using the base of a tin as a rough template, cut out shapes larger than this, with random wavy edges, so that they resemble snow. Place one on the top of each cake.
- To make the Christmas trees, melt the Candy Buttons following the instructions on the pack. Spoon into a small piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Lay the chocolate or lolly sticks onto baking parchment, spaced well apart. Pipe Christmas tree shapes over them, leaving plenty of ‘trunk’ at one end to stick into the cakes, then allow to dry. Next, pipe a little glacé icing on top to look like fallen snow. When dry, carefully peel them off the baking paper. Use three trees to decorate each cake and finish off with a few shimmer pearls.
Tip: if using chocolate sticks for the trees, pierce three holes in the cakes with a skewer first, so that they don’t break as you push them in.