Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mini Chocolate Cranberry Christmas Cakes

I was given these little cardboard cake cases by a very dear friend. They were a perfect size for little Christmas gifts. It was my intention to use Nigella Lawson's chocolate fruit cake recipe but the raisins I had looked a bit iffy and I dislike currants. I did have plenty of sultanas and dried cranberries and as I love the festive red of cranberries I decided the colour would be perfect in Christmas cake. It is essentially a boiled cake which makes it very easy to make. No need to soak fruit for days on end a quick boil does it. The result is a rich moist cake which is much nicer than some of the dry crumbly cakes I have tasted in the past. With apologies to Nigella here is my version.

Chocolate Cranberry Fruit Cake


350g/12¼oz dried soft prunes, chopped

2oo g/7oz dried cranberries

200g/7oz sultanas

175g/6¼oz unsalted butter, softened

175g/6¼oz dark brown sugar

175ml/6¼fl oz honey

125ml/4½fl oz rum (It should really be coffee liqueur but I didn't have any)

2 oranges, juice and zest

1 tsp mixed spice

2 tbsp good quality cocoa

3 eggs, beaten

150g/5¼oz self raising flour

1/2 teasp bicarbonate of soda

75g/2½oz ground almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.

2. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm/8in, 9cm/3½in deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of baking parchment. When lining the tin with the parchment, cut the material into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it is easier to use two shorter strips of parchment, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.
Also cut a disc of baking parchment to fit the diameter of the tin. When the cake has set you can pop this little hat on the top to help stop any scorching.

3. Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, rum, orange juice and zest, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

4. After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, and bicarbonate soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.

5. Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1¾-2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a skewer into the middle of the cake, the tip should be slightly sticky .

6. Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.

To make individual cakes as I have done. I used 6cm x 8cm cases. This made approximately twelve. There is no need to line the cases and they take approximately 1 hour 20 minutes to bake. Test them after an hour.
I decorated by cutting out stars of fondant icing.


Mary said...

How cute and so nice , i find them a great gift for xmas!

Tiny bakery said...

i'm fruit cake's fan!!!!

your cake look so cute ^^

Lisa said...

These are sooo cute! I would love to know where your friend got those boxes. Such a lovely idea.

Coby said...

NO WAY! Oh Granny they are BEAUTIFUL! From the sweet little cases, to the dainty cakes and their darling toppers:) Granny, how will you give them away? How could anyone dare ruin them by biting in, lol though I suspect the temptation of having one in your hot little hands will make it easier to 'sacrifice' them;)

Gloria said...

Dear Brenda I really love make things for Christmas, and thses are adorable and sooooo cute, huggsss loo really beauty! gloria

Natalya said...

These red cake cases are so lovely. it’ll be nice to offer these mini Christmas cakes for family and friends.
Last year I made Nigella’s chocolate fruit cake which I enjoyed making and eating. I see you didn’t put coffee liqueur. Was there any particular reason for that? As for me I didn’t find Tia Maria, I replaced it by Kahlua.
It is rich, dark and smooth coffee based liqueur drink from Mexico
It’s a great idea to add cranberries to the cake !

Anna said...

Granny, they look gorgeous, so festive! I bet Nigella would be pleased as punch if she saw them!

Lucy said...

These are so cute - they'd make such gorgeous Christmas gifts. They look delicious and festive :)

Anonymous said...

Granny, please ask your friend where she got these cute scalloped cardboard boxes ...

Coby said...

PS Granny, you mention the fondant icing, but how about the little decorations on top of those? LOL They truly are the 'cherries' on the icing on the cakes;)

Lucie said...

Hi Brenda, these look terrific - I love the cases as I have not seen these before. I have missed your posts lately - pleased to see you back. Hope you are well and that you are feeling festive :) Love Lucie X

Sophie said...

MMMMMMM,....I don't like mincemeat cakes but I surely love your mini festive cranberry & chocolate cakes!!

I will try them tomorrow!!Thanks a lot!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Goodness these little cakes have caused a reaction lol

Mary, thank you. They are a perfect size to fit in a bag with my chutneys and jams. :)

Tiny bakery If you are a fruit cake fan you need to try this. :)

Lisa Thank you The boxes came from Israel. I have never seen them here.

Coby, Thank you. I admit I was rather pleased with them. I don't really 'do' cake decorating but the fondant icing is quite easy if sticky. I would love to say the little toppers were made by me but I bought them in the supermarket. I have to say they were the prettiest ones I have seen for some time :)

Grannymar, You could make half quantities and do it in a 2lb loaf tin. I do that. Easier to store and easier to slice :)

Nikki, Thank you. Must do is a great master hence the cranberries. They make for a more expensive cake but I do like them.

Suelle, Great minds think alike :)

Gloria, Thank you x:)

Natalya, Thank you for drawing my attention to the booze. I have adjusted it now. I didn't have any coffee liqueur so I had a gurdle in the booze cupboard and thought hubby's rum would do the trick because of the caramel flavour :)

Anna, I think Nigella would probably roll her eyes lol :)

Lucy Thank you. I hope the recipients agree :)

Anonymous (I wish I knew your name) Thank you for dropping in. I have never seen those little cases here. They came from Israel. I must do a google search and try and find some. To me they were so unusual and pretty. :)

Rhyleysgranny said...

Lucie Thank you. I am glad to get back to my blog. Sometimes life gets a little complex and things get neglected. I need to do catch up on all the other blogs too xxx

Sophie i don't like mincemeat either. I wonder if these could be done as little cupcakes too. You've got me thinking again LOL :)

Coby said...

LOL Granny, Nigella would cheer you on:) Thanks for the info on the little treasures, if this is the reaction you get online, I can only imagine the real life 'oohs and ahhs':)

Anonymous said...

Brenda, you mini Christmas cakes are soooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!
I'll steal your idea and make a square Christmas cake, which will be cut into tiny squares and decorated.
You really have "Mani di Fata", as we say here.....(translated it means: the magic hands of a fairy! and it's only appropriate....)
xxx Carlotta

Maya said...

These are perfect little sizes to give away as gifts.

RecipeGirl said...

I haven't visited in a while, but your new design is lovely! These are such darling little gifts. Great idea to do the fondant stars on top!

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Those are such gorgeous cases...your friends are lucky to be the recipients of such a lovely cake too :D

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those mini cakes look lovely! Surely very delicious!



Sarah said...

As always, inspiring post. I want to make some of these for easy xmas presents! B x

The Caked Crusader said...

very pretty little cake -and beautifully presented!

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Beautiful cakes Brenda :)

Sarah Nicole said...

Don't apologize, that cake sound delicious!

Kelly-Jane said...

This was gorgeous Granny, we loved your cake :)and marmalade too!