Small Cakes: Christmas gifts


Preparation info

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Bake and Decorate

Bake and Decorate

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

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These are perfect as a token edible gift, especially for someone living alone, or for Christmas fairs or teachers’ presents. Cut little square gifts from a large cake if you prefer, but here I cook them in baked bean cans. The batter comes to no harm waiting around for an hour or 2, as it will need to be cooked in batches unless you are very fond of baked beans and have 22 empty cans...



    Line all the baked bean cans very carefully. They each need to be buttered and their bases and sides lined with baking parchment. Make sure you leave 1cm of parchment higher than the sides of the tin, to make the cakes easier to remove.

    Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 130°C/275°F/gas mark 1. Fill each tin with about 100 g of the batter and place them on baking sheets. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack until completely cold. Sprinkle each cake with a little of the rum.

    Place the jam and rum for glazing in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then sieve. Dab a little into the centre of each board, place a cake on, then brush a little more all over the tops and sides.

    Dust a rolling pin and work surface with icing sugar and roll out about 100 g of marzipan to 5mm thick. Lift on to a cake, gently press it to the sides, then cut away the excess. It’s important that the marzipan comes right down to the board all around the cake to seal in moisture. Repeat until all the cakes are covered. Leave to dry overnight.

    Cut 30cm lengths of ribbon and wrap around some of the cakes, sticking it in place at the back with a little royal icing. Twist raffia around other cakes and tie with a knot.

    It is more fun to decorate each cake slightly differently, using a sprig of artificial berries, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices or star anise flowers. Use the royal icing to ‘glue’ them into place. Tie up the little cakes in individual cellophane bags - or a piece of cellophane cut from a sheet - and finish with a ribbon or a gift tag.

    To Bake

    see: Tropical Fruit Cake