I love mince pies. Or mint spies. Or whatever you want to call them. 1st December comes and I just can’t help myself. Mince pie binge begins for one whole month!
But I’ll let you into a secret… I’m not a massive fan of making them. Pastry just isn’t my thing. Maybe I just need more practice but I always end up with a soggy bottom and, as I’ve said before, I may be the world’s laziest baker. And to be good at pastry you’ve got to be un-lazy and good at following recipes! Which I’m not.
Once a year or so, I get all excited about homemade mince pies, and forget how rubbish I am at making them. So I buy some mincemeat and make them…. I then have half a jar of mincemeat left and no motivation to make a second batch. I trawled the internet looking for inspiration of what to do with my leftovers and, after an amalgamation of recipes came up with this Mincemeat Fruit Cake.
It is, like a lot of my baking recipes, a bit of a chuck-it-all-in-and-see-how-it-goes kind of cake. But hey, it worked pretty well. It’s got a fairly heavy texture, not as heavy as a Christmas cake but it’s definitely going that way. I have baked these in the past to give as gifts to hosts/friends around the Christmas period.
I hope you enjoy it, and if you have any foolproof mince pie recipes let me know – As Paul Hollywood would say, no soggy bottoms allowed!
150g butter, softened
150g light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g self-raising flour
Zest of one orange
1 tsp mixed spice
Approx 20 whole blanched almonds
— Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
— Place the butter, sugar, eggs and flour into a bowl and mix until combined. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer with the beater attachment, on level 2, raising to 4 then 6, for a total of around 2 minutes. You want the mixture to be fully incorporated until it’s a thick and smooth consistency.
— Once the mixture has reached the correct stage, add the dried fruit, orange zest and mixed spice. You can adapt this cake to whatever you like – I’ve used dried cranberries in it before and it was lovely. Mix until everything is combined then spoon into your loaf tin and place the almonds on top for decoration (see picture).
— Bake in the oven for around 1 hour 10 minutes. You’ll need to check the cake after about an hour to see how it’s doing. It will be quite dark in colour and firm to the touch. As soon as a skewer comes out clean get the cake out of the oven, otherwise you’ll risk it going dry. Leave to cool out of the tin.
This cake is freezeable, just take it out of the freezer a couple of hours before you want it and let it defrost naturally. It’s is best eaten the day after baking when the flavours are really strong, although nothing’s to stop you from testing it out straight away! I like mine with a little butter on it… Is that weird? Or you could tie a nice ribbon around it and give it to a loved one as a thank you/Merry Christmas present.
Never again will you have leftover mincemeat in your cupboard come January!