Friday, 20 December 2013

Light Christmas Fruitcakes

Christmas Fruit Cakes

I don't know about you, but as much as I love Christmas food, it can all get a bit much at this time of year. Sometimes I want something a little lighter than the traditional heavy fruitcakes and steamed puddings... and yet I can't quite give up the excuse to eat boozy fruit.

These mini sponge cakes are made from a lighter mixture than the traditional British fruitcake, but they're still jam-packed with the essential ingredients of fruit, nuts, spices, and festive spirits. (Though if you can't have alcohol, you could skip that stage and just soak the fruit in a little water instead.) The recipe is also vegan.

I used a selection of fruit and sugars from the Traidcraft store, so these were almost entirely Fairtrade fruitcakes. Although I often buy fairly-traded products, this was the first time I've used the online store, and I'd definitely consider it again - the quality was great and it was convenient to have my pantry replenished with a couple of clicks. (And I might have slipped a few Divine chocolates in with my order. Maybe.)

Light Christmas Cakes

Light Christmas Cakes

Light Christmas Fruitcakes
Makes 18

2tbsp dark rum
2tbsp brandy
100g (4oz, ⅔ cup) raisins
50g (2oz, ⅓ cup) apricots
50g (2oz, ½ cup) glacĂ© cherries
50g (2oz, ½ cup) candied orange peel
50g (2oz, ⅓ cup) walnuts
50g (2oz, ⅓ cup) brazil nuts
350g (12oz, 2 cups) plain flour
110g (4oz, ½ cup) golden caster sugar
110g (4oz, ⅓ cup) dark muscovado sugar
1tbsp mixed spice
2tsp baking powder
240ml (8 fl.oz, 1 cup) water
120ml (4 fl.oz, ½ cup) sunflower oil
  1. The night before baking, chop the apricots, then combine along with the raisins, rum, and brandy in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
  3. Chop the cherries and nuts into small pieces (and the same for the candied peel if you have big slices), and combine with the raisins and apricots.
  4. Sift together the flour, sugars, spices, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the water and oil, and stir until no dry flour remains.
  6. Add the fruit and nuts to the batter, and mix until evenly distributed.
  7. Divide the batter between 18 mini cake tins, leaving space for the mixture to rise (remember that this is a sponge cake rather than a dense fruit cake).
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
  10. Optionally, you could cut a circle of marzipan and/or sugarpaste icing for the top (see below).
Light Christmas Cakes

I'm submitting this recipe to December's Calendar Cakes round-up, hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.


Emma said...

There is *nothing* optional about marzipan on Christmas cakes, even tiny ones!

Tandy | Lavender and Lime said...

It's so hot here that these sound way better than a heavy cake!

Tracie Nall said...

These are so cute! I would love to have a plate of them by my computer right now.

Charlotte Klein said...

These look so adorable! Also love the marzipan addition--yum!

Rachel said...

Christmas food can be a little heavy - these would make a lovely change!

BECKY said...

Rachel, these look delicious! And thank you very much for including our American way of measuring !! I'll definitely make some of these...probably in time for New Years! :)

Nicole @ OrWhateverYouDo said...

YUM!! I've never made or tried fruit cake, but you make it look fantastic! Thanks for sharing with the Happy Holidays Link Party!

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