Christmas is the season for giving, and your friends and family will love being on the receiving end when you’re handing out these Mini Christmas Cakes.
The fruit cake recipe is packed with mixed fruit and infused with an assortment of spices, syrup and cocoa. There’s even a dollop of strawberry jam hiding in there.
With the glaze icing and silver cachous, these Mini Christmas Cakes capture everything that’s wonderful about Christmas time.
A family recipe
Like Christmas itself, the re-creation of this recipe was a true family affair.
The original recipe is from the pages of Nana Ling’s handwritten recipe book. It’s always such a magic feeling to leaf through her handwritten recipes which have been handed down from mother to daughter through four generations. That magic feeling is especially real at Christmas time, when family and tradition both come into focus.
The styling of the photo is inspired by Nana Ling’s daughter, my Nan Mac. Christmas was never complete without a few bunches of Christmas Bush in Nan Mac’s house. I remember her fussing about to get the very best (and biggest) bunch around to decorate her house. And now I feel like Christmas isn’t quite complete without these tiny red flowers somewhere in the house. The photo that accompanies this recipe certainly wasn’t complete until I added a few sprigs from the garden!
The final outcome is thanks to my mum, one of Nana Ling’s granddaughters. I originally attempted to decorate these mini fruit cakes with marzipan and ready to roll icing. Disaster! I won’t be trying that again for a while. Mum, who also happens to be a trained pastry cook, is always on the end of the phone line with great advice about how to rescue a kitchen disaster. On this occasion, she said “Well, Nana Ling wouldn’t have mucked around with that icing except for a wedding cake. She just used to decorate her Christmas cakes with glaze icing and silver cachous.” So I ripped that messy icing off and did it Nana Ling’s way. Perfect. Thanks, Mum!
Nana Ling’s Fruit Cake recipe
Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.
- 375 grams mixed fruit
- 60 grams glace cherries (halved)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch allspice
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 cup water
- 30 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon jam
- 2 cups SR flour
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- 3-4 tablespoons boiling water
- Place fruit, glace cherries, brown sugar, cocoa, bicarb soda, salt, allspice, nutmeg and water in a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, stirring, and boil (covered) for 3 minutes.
- Take from heat and add chopped butter and golden syrup. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When cool, add eggs, jam (I used strawberry jam) and SR flour. Stir well.
- Line muffin pans with paper (I use the pre-shaped store-bought muffin papers). Add mixture to pans (makes 12).
- Bake in oven at 175 degrees celsius (fan-forced) for 25-30 minutes.
- When you take cakes from the oven, brush the tops with whisky and wrap in foil to cool.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before adding glaze.
- Level tops of cakes then turn upside down before icing.
- Mix all ingredients together. Use enough water to ensure a runny but creamy texture (you want glaze to spread and cover cakes but don't want it so runny that it doesn't stick to the cakes). If you don't have (or like) Amaretto, use another flavouring or simply substitute boiling water.
- Put cakes on a cooling rack with a tray underneath. Pour glaze over cakes and scoop up the run-off in the tray to re-use (making sure all cakes are completely coated in the glaze).
- Sprinkle silver cachous and crystal sprinkles on top of each cake.