If you've run out of time to bake your Christmas cake, or simply not feel like baking it at all, and the sheer thought of baking mince pies gives you shivers - those mincemeat loaves are perfect alternative to both! You have kind of a Christmas cake and that distinctive mince pies taste and smell, here in this simple loaf. It's a cake, that can be a real show stopper (given some love and time to decorate it), it's a cake that you can proudly place on the table after the festive Christmas dinner, and everyone will thank you for that. You'll have a cake, with all those Christmas flavours, but at a fraction of work needed for the traditional one.
You could probably "feed" it with some whiskey or brandy, to make it more special and festive, but I don't think there's a need for it. Mincemeat gives it all those flavours you need and are looking from your Christmas bakes.
Mincemeat keeps the loaves moist and give them that "Christmasy" feeling - all those different spices and sultanas. They also smell like Christmas itself!
You can leave them without any decoration at all - as you'll have almonds and cherries on the top, but I think that simple icing sugar + water glaze and some star sprinkles will make those loaves more "festive".
Making 2 loaf cakes at one time means you have one for now and one to freeze, they freeze very well (up to 2 months). The baked loaf will keep up to a week, just wrap in a clingfilm and keep in an airtight container.
How to make it...
- 150 g soft butter
- 150 g light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 240 g mincemeat
- 100 g raisins
- 100 g sultanas
- 50 g blanched almonds, for decorating
- 10 glace cherries, halved, for decorating
Preheat the oven to 160 C. Grease two 450 g loaf tins (top measurement 17 cm × 11 cm) and line with baking parchment. Beat the butter with sugar until pale. Add eggs one by one, and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the almonds and cherries, mix well until thoroughly blended.
Turn into the prepared loaf tins and level out evenly. Arrange the almonds and cherries on top of each loaf. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then loosen the sides with a small palette knife, turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Tip: Don't over bake the loaves, or they will have thick "skin", be very dry and crumbly. If you're using smaller tins, shorten the baking time!
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Light Christmas cake