Christmas, as we all know, is the season for giving. Though, often it can be difficult choosing gifts for loved ones who seemingly have 'everything'. They already have more than one bottle of their favourite perfume / aftershave, a bookshelf of novels by their favourite authors, and that chunky knit woolly jumper is folded away in the draw next to their seasonal one, decorated with Santa carrying a bunch of mistletoe!
For those friends and relatives why not present them with a hamper, large or small, full of delicious goodies. Imagine that hamper packed with homemade goodies like relishes, chutneys, biscuits, cheeses, fudge, truffles and mini Christmas Cake. Surely a homemade gift, that you've spent time and care over, that you've made yourself with love and finished off with a Christmassy ribbon says 'Merry Christmas, I love you' far more than any unwanted gift hurriedly picked from a department store shelf.
In fact, why reserve those gifts just for those who seemingly have everything. I'm sure many others would love such a homemade hamper of edible delights! I know I would! To provide inspiration and whet your appetite, you will find a selection of delicious recipes from other food bloggers just before the recipe at the bottom of the post, perfect for a homemade Christmas food hamper.
For this very reason last week I made a batch of Mini Christmas Cakes, an integral part of the season's festivities in much the same way as Mince Pies, Stollen and Christmas Pudding are. Measuring just 8cm in diameter these dinky cakes are still jam packed with flavour from the fruit and seasonal spice of cinnamon and mixed spice.
The batter for these small individual Christmas cakes is seriously easy to make. There's no creaming or beating with stand mixers or wooden spoons (which can produce sore blisters - I've had the war wounds in the past to prove it!) The mixture itself is made using the melting method and produces a cake full of plump fruit which is fabulously moist and flavoursome. In fact, the Christmas cake recipe which Mum and I have used for many many years, which was passed down from Grandma, has been playing second fiddle for the past 2 years to this easier, moister, boiling recipe.
Although these small individual Christmas Cakes are nut and alcohol free, they are far from being flavour and aroma free. I really wish you could have been in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen when they were lifted from the oven after the bake and then removed from their tinfoil and greaseproof paper jackets for their photo shoot yesterday afternoon. After just 10 days of maturing they smelt absolutely
although I would ordinarily make our fruit cakes many many weeks in
advance of Christmas, I'm confident that these mini Christmas Cakes will
be absolutely delicious when eaten by the lucky recipient!
The Christmas Cake recipe below is sufficient to make 12 dariole / pudding mould sized cakes, but it can easily be adjusted to make fewer, or even more, as necessary. It's just as easy to make a lot as it is a few with this easy recipe. The quantities outlined below would also be ideal to fill a 16cm round (deep) cake tin or a 900g loaf tin if you prefer an oblong cake which is easier to slice....though of course the baking time will be increased (guidance for this can be found in the recipe notes).
Although some people may prefer to eat their Christmas cake naked - the cake not the person I hasten to add - Christmas Cakes, large or small, are ordinarily finished with marzipan and icing. Check out here how I decorated these mini Christmas cakes, though the ideas could easily be transferred to a larger cake.
Before we get onto the recipe, as promised, here are a handful of delicious homemade goodies from food bloggers which would be great as part of a Christmas hamper, sat alongside a Christmas cake of course!
So, let's get to it and bake Mini Christmas Cakes.
family, either as a small gesture or as part of a delicious homemade
foodie hamper.Specific Equipment
Dariole or Pudding Moulds measuring 8cm diameter
Prep time: about 30 mins Cook time: around 1 hour 20 mins Yield: 12 mini cakes
- 200g Butter, unsalted, plus extra for preparing the cake tin
- 200g Dark Muscovado Sugar
- 200g Currants
- 200g Sultanas
- 200g Raisins
- 100g Marmalade
- 60g Glace Cherries, chopped
- 160ml Water
- 2 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 280g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
a) Use a mixture of dariole and pudding moulds if that's what you have available, like us. b) This quantity of batter will also be sufficient to fill a 16cm round (deep) cake tin or a 900g loaf tin (measuring 26cm x 13cm x 7cm), though of course the cooking duration will need to increase to a total of 2 hour 30 minutes - 2 hour 45 minutes. c) The quantities are straight forward to scale up or down to make fewer or more cakes as desired.