If you prefer a lighter fruit cake at Christmas then these individual muffin-sized cakes will fit the bill perfectly. Made with a simple all-in-one sponge cake mix they are so much quicker to make than a classic fruit cake too! To give the cakes a boozier flavour, soak the dried fruit in 2 tbsp rum or brandy for 1-2 hrs before adding to the sponge mixture. For a more sophisticated decoration replace the glace icing with blanched almonds, pecans, sliced dried apricots and mixed coloured glace cherries then glaze with a little warmed honey or syrup.
- 175g butter, softened
- 175g light soft brown sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 175g self-raising flour
- ½tsp baking powder
- 2tsp ground mixed spice
- 115g mixed dried fruit
- 2tbsp brandy or orange juice
- 115g icing sugar
- 1-2tbsp hot water
- 12 glace cherries
- Holly leaves, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Thoroughly grease a non-stick 12-hole muffin tray and place a circle of baking paper in the base of each hole.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand-held mixed for 3-4 mins until pale and creamy. Fold in the dried mixed fruit and brandy or orange juice.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tray. Bake for 25-30 mins until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Leave in the tray for 3-4 mins then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in enough of the warm water to make a smooth and thick icing. Spoon the icing onto the top of the cakes, letting it slowly drizzle down the sides. Top each cake with a glace cherry and a couple of holly leaves. Leave to set.
For smaller cakes divide the mixture between 2 x 12-hole buns trays and bake for 20-25 mins.