This is my friend Katrina’s recipe and it’s our new favourite. It makes a lovely moist cake with a golden crumb that keeps for literally ages if well wrapped. It also makes great mini cakes, loaves etc but you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly – a small baked bean tin sized cake may only need 50 minutes, a tuna tin sized cake about an hour…

1 1/2 kg mixed fruit
1/2 cup sherry, rum, whisky or brandy
1 granny smith apple
1 tablespoon honey or golden syrup
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
250g butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Place chopped mixed fruit in large basin, add sherry, peeled and coarsely grated apple, honey, sugar and eggs. Mix well with wooden spoon to break up any large clumps of fruit. Add cooled, melted butter, sifted flours and spice; mix thoroughly.

Place in a deep 23cm round or deep 20cm square cake tin lined with three sheets of greaseproof paper. Bring paper 5cm above edge of tin.

Bake in slow oven – 165° for approximately 3 ½ hours or until cooked when tested- insert a knife or skewer into the middle – when removed it should be clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, brush evenly with about 2 tablespoons of extra sherry, or brandy, rum or whatever you used and leave to cool.

Wrap well and store in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

christmascakecuties2To decorate – we used one pack of ready roll “pettinice” fondant icing – available in supermarkets. This was enough for 6-8 of the cakes and the remainder we topped with our classic dg “toffee nut crust”.

Toffee nut crust

1 cup of mixed nuts -include Brazils, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, peanuts…
45 g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Pre heat the oven to 160°

Grease and line the base and sides of your cake tin or tins with baking paper or greaseproof paper. For the sides I use a long piece of baking paper folded over 3 times into a long 3 layered strip, and I use a single disc of paper on the bases.
Place the fruit in a large bowl, add the brandy or other spirit, melted butter, golden syrup, brown sugar and eggs and mix well with a large spoon. Add the flour and mixed spice and fold into the fruit mixture to form a thick batter.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and drop gently on the bench to “settle “the mixture. Smooth over the top and bake for ½ an hour to 3 hours depending on size. The cakes should be springy and set and a knife blade inserted into the cake should come out clean. Mini cakes may only require 30 – 45 minutes cooking time, a full size cake several hours.

Brush with a little extra spirit and when cool wrap well and store in an airtight container.

To decorate with fondant icing

christmascakecuties3Roll the fondant icing out on a clean surface dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of around 3 ml– a thick layer of icing conceals any lumps and bumps in the cake – brush the cake all over with warmed apricot jam – this adheres the icing to the cake.

Cut circles from the icing bigger that you will need to cover each cake. Drape the icing over the cake and flare it around the base. Use the warmth of your hands to gently smooth the icing, with a stroking motion onto the cakes, ensuring it is well fixed to the sides of the cake. Use a sharp knife to trim around the base of the cake. Add ribbons or ornaments if you desire. Fondant covered cakes will keep well for weeks, as the icing will dry out and form a hard sugary layer.

To decorate with toffee nut crust

Place sugar, butter and water in a pan over a low heat. Bring to boil and boil over a low heat for 8 minutes or until mixture is golden brown. Add the nuts and remove from the heat. Coat the nuts in the toffee with as little stirring as possible, stirring causes toffee to crystallise.

Pour nuts and toffee into heaps on top of the cakes allowing excess toffee to drizzle down the sides of the cake. Using wet hands, press in any loose nuts and leave to set. Cakes covered with the nut crust will need to be wrapped in cellophane and stored in a cool place to prevent the toffee from becoming soft, the cakes will keep for months if air tight, the nut crust for several weeks.