Last Minute Christmas Cake

Makes 1 x 30 cm cake or 12 - 16 large muffin or tuna-tin size mini cakes
Keep up the traditional fruit cake at Christmas time, but here is a more economical homegrown version that needs no "ripening" beforehand.
Occassion
Products in this recipe

Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Icing Kit

You will need

2 rooibos tea bags
2 cups (500 ml) boiling water
500 g  dried fruit cake mix
3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) canola oil
1 1⁄4 cups (310 ml) soak water from fruit
1 x 650 g Ina Paarman’s Chocolate Cake Mix
2 T (30 ml) mixed spice
1 T (15 ml) cinnamon
200 g glace cherries, cut in half
100 g pecan nuts, chopped
½ cup (125 ml) brandy

1 x 250 g Ina Paarman’s Vanilla Icing Kit
4 T (60 ml) milk powder or cremora
2 t (10 ml) butter
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
a little boiling water

Ina's Tip

The cake can be used the same day or the next, or keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. It also freezes exceptionally well.

Method

Place the tea bags into a large measuring jug and add 2 cups (500 ml) of boiling water. Leave to draw for 5 minutes. Squeeze out tea bags and add cake fruit.

Leave to soak for 30 minutes or longer. Drain but reserve 1 1⁄4 cups (310 ml) of the soak water for mixing the cake.

Adjust the oven rack to one slot below the middle. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Use one 30 x 7 cm  round cake tin or 12 – 16 smaller containers. We used, deep large muffin pans. Butter tin/s and line base/s with baking paper.

Beat the eggs and oil. Add the  1 1⁄4 cups (310 ml) of reserved soak water and beat it in. Add the dry mix,  the mixed spice and cinnamon. Stir with a spatula until roughly blended.
Add the fruit mixture, cherries and nuts. Fold everything in by hand with a spatula until evenly blended. Fill the pan/s 2 – 3 cm from the top. Bake large cake for 1½ hours and smaller cakes for ± 45 – 50 minutes. As soon as cake/s comes out of the oven, pour brandy over and leave to completely cool in the pan/s for 20 minutes and then turn out. Wrap in foil before storing in an airtight container.

White glacé icing

For this icing our Vanilla Icing gives a much better result than plain icing sugar. Keep the  nozzle to use for another time.
Sift the icing mix and milk powder together.
Heat butter and lemon juice in the microwave on high for 45 seconds. Gradually add to the sifted mixture  while mixing with a whisk.
You should get a thick, but still runny mixture, that coats the back of a spoon. If too thick add a little boiling water (1 T), use immediately otherwise it thickens again.
Spoon icing over the cakes and encourage it to run over the sides as we have done with our mini cakes.
Decorate with r any small Christmas decorations.

Variation
Glacé fruit topping
  • 4 T (60 ml)  fine apricot jam
  • 250 g assorted glacé fruits
  • ± 6 stalk cherries in maraschino
  • ± 1 metre red ribbon
  • 3 red topped florist pins

Melt the jam in the microwave for ± 30 seconds.
Cut the glacé fruit into smaller wedges except for the cherries and toss with the warm jam to glaze the fruit. If is still looks too sugary, microwave for ± 30 seconds. Arrange the fruit on the cake.
Top with the cherries and secure the ribbon around the cake with the florist pins.