I am much better at baking than I am at shopping, this might look like a lot of work for a Christmas present, but believe me this is a gallant effort by comparison to my lack of imagination in the gift buying department. I have given some of the worst gifts to my family and friends, I never learn, this year's haul even includes the dreaded packet of socks!!
To combat my awful taste and lack of imagination, I try to give edible gifts instead. Last year I gave out jars of Lorraine Pascale's Apple, Blackberry and Cinnamon Chutney and bucketfuls of Nigella's Sweet and Salty Crunch Nut Bars, which are all extremely tasty and can be tailored to suit each recipient. Those who do not not crave chocolate (some do exist, apparently) enjoyed the chutney along with some cheese and crackers while those of my own ilk enjoyed the nut bars immensely. So once again I am in the kitchen rather than the shops, it's for the best believe me!!
Original Inspiration From Mich Turner's Cake Masterclass
Makes 9 Mini Cakes
9in Square Rich Fruit Cake (I used Delia's Christmas Cake)
Icing sugar for dusting
3tbsp Apricot jam
2-3 tbsp Brandy or boiled and cooled water
1.5kg Sugarpaste (I use Dr. Oetker's Ready to Roll Icing)
Red food colouring (I used Sugarflair Christmas Red)
Small amount of royal icing
2 mtrs Red satin ribbon 15mm wide
I baked Delia's classic Christmas cake in a square tin, cooled completely and then wrap it in greaseproof paper until needed. Cut into nine even(ish) squares with a very sharp knife (I'm saving the cut off for Nigella's Puddini Bonbons this is an external link).
In order to achieve a better finish, turn each cake upside down, brush with boiled and sieved apricot jam. Roll out the marzipan on a clean surface, lightly dusted with icing sugar into a 8-10cm circle and 4mm thick. Cover each cake with marzipan, smooth and trim. Brush the marzipan with either the brandy or the boiled and cooled water before applying the sugar paste layer. Roll out the white sugar paste on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar into a 8-10cm circle and 4mm thick.
Cover the cake, smooth with a cake smoother and trim. Leave to overnight to harden.
Colour 70g of white sugar paste with red food colouring, knead until there is no marbling.
Roll the red and the same amount of white sugar paste into a long sausage 3mm thick, a cake smoother is best for this job. Twist the red and white ropes together and gently roll as one, giving one long candy stripe rope.
Cut into 6cm pieces and shape into a candy cane. Leave to firm up for 1-2 hours. When the mini cakes and the candy canes are firm, wrap each cake with the satin ribbon and secure with a small dab of royal icing.
Fix the candy cane into position with a small amount of royal icing and leave to dry. These mini Christmas cakes can be made up to two weeks in advance and are very pretty wrapped up in clear cellophane with a satin ribbon bow securing the whole dainty package. Now which would you prefer, these or a packet of socks!!!
I also made a batch to match my Mich Turner's Snowflake Christmas Cake.