These pint size cakes make perfect gifts for a close friend or work colleague. Packed with nuts and glacé fruit, when sliced they look like a stained-glass cathedral window, a small slice amply sufficient with tea or coffee when visitors call. This recipe is based on one from Alison Holst, I’ve changed it slightly to make it gluten free.
2-3 cups whole brazil nuts
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup whole raw cashew nuts
1 cup whole red glacé cherries
1 cup whole green glacé cherries
2-3 cups glacé mixed fruit (think pineapple, pears, papaya, crystallised ginger, mixed peel)
2 cups dried fruit (think sultanas, currants, raisins, craisins, dried apricots or prunes)
1 ½ cups gluten free bread flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
5 large eggs
Preheat oven to 150°C. Line the cake tins with baking paper and spray the tins as well. The recipe makes about 8 cups of mixture, so choose a tin or tins that will hold this much mixture. Leave 12 brazil nuts and 12 glacé cherries aside for decoration.
In a large bowl add the rest of the nuts. Chop the fruit into 1 cm cubes, measure then add to the bowl of nuts. Stir well. Measure the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into the bowl, stir well, so that the fruit and nuts are evenly coated.
Beat the eggs and vanilla together with a fork, to combine whites and yolks, then add to the other ingredients, mixing very well. The easiest way to do this is with your clean hands.
Press the mixture into the prepared tins, cover the reserved nuts and fruit with a little of the remaining mixture and arrange artistically on the top of the cakes. Put the cake tins into preheated oven and immediately turn the oven down to 130°C. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until the mixture around the fruit and nuts and in the centre of each cake feels quite firm when pressed. Remove the cakes from the oven, cool for 5 minutes in the tins before turning them upside down on a cooling rack. Remove the paper liners and leave the cakes to get cold.
When the cakes are cold brush each surface with brandy, whisky or sherry and let it dry. Then, oil the palm of your hand with tasteless vegetable oil and lightly rub the tops of the cakes to polish them. Store, loosely wrapped in baking paper, for a couple of months in a cool, dark cupboard.
Come Christmas, or when you are ready to serve them, brush the cakes again with alcohol, leave them for 24 hours in a plastic bag and then polish them again with oil. Cut with a sharp serrated edged knife and serve. Happy Christmas!