650gdried mixed fruitssultanas, raisins, currants and candied citrus peel
200mlsherryor your preferred spirit
Juice of 2 medium oranges
250gsoftened unsalted butter in 2cm cubes
250glight brown muscovado sugar
½teaspoonfreshly ground nutmeg
For icing and decoration
Sugared pecans and chocolate starsSee link above for ingredients and method
Click the links above to go to my Christmas cake recipe and see step by step instructions and pictures for preparing the cake mix.
To ensure your dried fruit is plump, juicy and full of flavour; try to soak it overnight in your preferred choice of alcohol and fruit juice. I always use sherry and usually soak 650g of dried mixed fruit with 200ml of fino sherry and the juice from two average sized oranges. Cover with cling film and leave on the side overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C (fan)
This recipe makes enough cake mix for 18 muffins. Fill muffin trays with 18 cases (or spit into batches if you are limited with trays or oven space).
Set up your food mixer or mix with an electric hand whisk: The 250g of cubed butter and 250g light muscovado sugar go into the mixer first, along with 1 tablespoon of black treacle.
Start the mixer on a low speed until the ingredients have started to combine and then turn up to the top speed and leave to mix for at least 10 minutes - the butter and sugar should have combined into a light and fluffy mixture.
The next stage is the addition of the eggs, which takes time and patience if it is done correctly. Have your dry ingredients (plain flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, mixed spice, nutmeg, and vanilla) already mixed in a bowl to one side - spoonful’s of this may be needed if the mixture starts to split. Beat the 4 medium eggs together in a pour-able jug. Return to the butter mix and put the mixer back on high. Slowly, slowly trickle the beaten eggs into the butter mix. This usually takes me 15-20 minutes.
If at any point you feel the mixture is getting too sloppy or if you think too much egg went in all at once; then add a spoonful of the dry ingredients to prevent the mix from splitting. Ideally the mixture should stay creamy and well whipped.
Once all the egg has been mixed in remove the bowl from the mixer; add the remaining flour mixture and the soaked fruits and then use a spatula to gently fold in these ingredients.
Grab a couple of dessert spoons and carefully spoon the mixture into your muffins cases to around three quarters full.
Place the muffins in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Check 25 minutes before the end of the baking time by inserting a skewer into the centre of one of the muffins - if the skewer comes out clean then the muffins are done. If not, return to the oven and check at 5 minute intervals.
Once baked through, carefully transfer the muffins to a wire rack and cool. Steal one and consume whilst still warm – for tasting purposes.
Once cooled, select muffins that have enough space at the top for icing. Ice each one with icing sugar and finish off with your favourite Christmas cake toppings. See links above for my favourite toppings: Homemade sugared pecans and chocolate stars.
Christmas Cake Muffins with Sugared Pecans https://properfoodie.com/christmas-cake-muffins/