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Following on my last month’s suggestion for an individual home-baked gift, here is a recipe for lovely little Christmas cakes baked in a coffee tin or something similar, such as a sponge pudding tin. This is a rich fruit cake mixture, coated with marzipan and icing. Make them soon, they will keep until Christmas. This makes two 10cm (4in) fruit cakes


  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • 75g (3oz) dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 75g (3oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 110g (4oz) currants
  • 75g (3oz) sultanas
  • 75g (3oz) raisins
  • 25g (1oz) glacė cherries - quartered
  • 25g (1oz) mixed peel
  • Decoration
  • 450g (1 lb) almond paste
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 450g (1 lb) sugarpaste (ready- to-roll icing)
  • 15cm (6in ) silver board – if available


Line the tin with fresh brown paper. Heat the oven to Gas 2/160C

Cream together the butter and sugar, gradually beat in the eggs and fold in the flour and spice, followed by the remaining ingredients.

Divide between the tins, make a slight hollow in their tops. Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour then reduce the heat to Gas 1 /150C for a further hour or until they are firm in the centre.

Cool in the tins. Store in an airtight container before decorating.

To decorate: Brush with heated apricot jam. Measure the cake with a piece of string, across from base to base to use as a guide, and roll out 225g (½ lb) almond paste to a circle to cover the whole cake. Repeat with the sugarpaste – you will not need the whole amount, the remainder can be reserved for decorations.

I have shown a very simple idea using sugarpaste coloured green using a cutter to make holly leaves but you can decorate them as you choose, perhaps using bought items if you are short of time. I can assure you, these personal gifts will bring much pleasure to the recipients.

Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2008