Friday, December 22, 2017

Moist Mini Fruitcakes - Quick and Easy!

As they say, the world is divided into fruitcake lovers and fruit cake haters. I love fruit cake, but haven't been really inspired to bake the 'real traditional' kind of cake. May be I haven't eaten that good a traditional cake yet. May be someday I will get lucky enough to taste one such cake and will try to recreate something similar. Next Christmas perhaps?  Now why do I get the feeling I have been saying this every Christmas?

But I love cakes aromatic with spices and orange, fruit and nuts in every bite. I have previously made this chocolate fruit cake and absolutely love it! I would have posted a picture of it here, but let me wait till I make it again and take some decent pictures. Do try it if you want to eat a 'different' kind of fruit cake, you will bake it again and again!

So I wanted to come up with a fruit cake recipe easy enough for a beginner. Played around with some easy recipes and finally came up with this one. Moist, delicious little cakes which you could bake in 1/2 an hour flat. Provided you have your mincemeat ready. If you haven't made it yet, there still is time to make this Quick Mincemeat. And please do use homemade candied peel, makes a great deal of difference, adds a ton of flavor.
 Ingredients(to make 8 mini cakes)

Please weigh ingredients for best results.

All purpose flour / maida - 65 grams (remove 1 tablespoon from this to toss with the fruit)
Salt - a pinch
Ground cinnamon - 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon
Ground cloves - 1/8 teaspoon
Baking powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Sugar, powdered - 50 grams (increase if using alcohol to brush the cakes)
Mincemeat - 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons(recipe link below)
Cashew nuts, toasted and chopped - 50 grams (you can use walnuts, pecans or a combination)
Soft unsalted butter - 38 grams,melted. Weigh and then melt
Milk - 2 tablespoons / 30 ml
Egg - 1 whole / 48 grams without shell
Zest of one really fresh orange

Simple syrup

1/2 cup water + 6 tablespoons granulated sugar

Ingredients (to make an 8'' round cake) Please weigh all ingredients for best results.

Use an 8 x 2 inch round pan. Any pan you use, fill the batter at least 1/2 full , maximum 2/3 full, not more. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The time may vary depending on the oven and pan size.

All purpose flour / maida - 130 grams (remove 2 tablespoons from this to toss with the fruit)
Salt - a pinch
Ground cinnamon - 3/4 teaspoon
Ground cloves - 1/4 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1.5 teaspoons
Sugar, powdered - 100 grams (increase if using alcohol to brush the cake)
Mincemeat - 3/4 cup(recipe link below)
Cashew nuts, toasted and chopped - 100 grams (you can use walnuts, pecans or a combination)
Soft unsalted butter - 76 grams , melted. Weigh and then melt
Milk - 1/4 cup / 60 ml
Eggs - 2 whole / 96 grams without shell
Zest of 2 really fresh oranges

Simple syrup
1 cup water + 3/4 cup granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 180C.

I like to use mini bundt pan for this, you can also use a muffin tray, the mini ones work best for me. Each cavity in my muffin pan here is 60 ml /1/4 cup capacity. Make sure you use baking spray thoroughly or the fruit may stick to the pan.

Take out a tablespoon of flour (from the flour in the recipe), toss it with the mincemeat and set aside.

Sift the rest of the flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.

Take the egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Grate the orange zest into it.

Whisk in the melted butter and milk

Gently stir in the dry ingredients using a spatula. It is OK if you see some flour here and there at this point.

Gently fold in the mincemeat until well combined. Do not over mix or the cakes will be tough.

The batter will be thick,lots of dried fruit and nuts held together wit some batter.

Fill the batter in the muffin tray,about 2/3 full.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The baking time may vary depending on your oven and size of the baking tin.

If there is any batter left over, fill it in another muffin tray and keep it in the refrigerator until baking time. Bake within an hour of mixing it. Fill any empty cavities with a couple of tablespoons of water for even baking.

You may need to increase the baking by a couple of minutes for these.

While the cakes are baking, make the simple syrup, simply heat the water and sugar together. Set aside.

Once the cakes are baked,remove from the oven. Let cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes. (If baking in a large pan, once baked, cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert on the cooling rack,poke holes, and then brush the simple syrup.Re invert on the serving platter, poke holes and brush more syrup)

Place a baking sheet under the cooling rack. Invert the cakes on to it.

Poke some holes in the cakes using a toothpick.

When the cakes are still warm,brush them with the syrup, this will keep them moist. Do not skip this step.

As soon as the cakes cool, wrap them in clingfilm and store airtight. They should keep well for 2 days.

The spices will be a little more assertive a few hours after baking. So wait for a couple of hours, taste and then alter the amount of spices as needed.

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