I have to confess, I am one of those people. Those people who actually like fruitcake! There is a lot of anti-fruitcake sentiment out there, particularly at this time of year, but around here we are in fruitcake heaven.
In addition to making the full size cakes I make every year, I decided to try a new recipe and make some smaller cakes to go in our gift hampers. These little beauties are rich and moist and fragrant. And oh yeah, they are also packed with rum!
Individual Rum* Christmas Cakes
Recipe source TBA
840g mixed dried fruit (apricots, cherries, figs, raisins, currants, cranberries, sultanas or whatever takes your fancy)
3/4 cup rum
250g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup treacle
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
2 ts ground nutmeg
2 ts ground ginger
2 ts ground cinnamon
12 tbs rum, extra
Chop all the dried fruit into small pieces. Place in a large bowl with the rum and mix well. Cover and leave overnight (I left mine for a week), stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to slow (150 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 x 1 cup muffin holes and line the bases with a circle of baking paper.
Beat the butter, sugar and treacle in a large bowl until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the soaked fruit mixture, pecans and then the sifted flours and spices and mix well.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the tins, smoothing the surface of each with wet fingers. Bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cover the tops of the cakes with foil if over-browning. Once cooked and still hot, brush the tops the cakes with half the extra rum, cover with baking paper, then seal firmly with foil and cool completely in the tins.
Once cool, remove from the tins, brush with remaining rum and wrap firmly with cling film and leave for 2 weeks before decorating.
1. Soft Icing - Roll out 100g of soft, ready made white icing the the size of each cake. Brush the cakes with warmed apricot jam, then lay the icing over the top and smooth down. Decorate with ribbon.
2. Royal Icing - Beat 1 egg white with a wooden spoon, gradually adding 2 cups of pure icing sugar, beating until smooth. Drizzle in 2-3 ts lemon juice until the icing becomes a little runny. Spread a tablespoon of the icing over each cake, allowing it to run down the sides a little. Top with holly and berries before the icing sets hard.
* The original recipe called for bourbon. We're not big bourbon drinkers in this house so we used good old Bundy Rum instead!