It’s day six of the Eats Amazing Advent Calendar and today I have a fab Christmas baking project for you – Tin Can Mini Christmas Cakes! These were inspired by something similar that I made years and years ago when I was in the brownies. I had a vague memory of baking Christmas cakes in baked bean tins so after a very useful discussion with my Mum (who I still turn to for all my baking advice needs!), some volume calculations and a lot of baked beans on toast, I pulled together a recipe plan and got baking!
I baked the cakes with the boys at the weekend and they absolutely loved helping me to make them. My 3 year old helped with tipping in ingredients and lots of stirring, and my 8 year old helped with the weighing and had a whale of a time using the electric hand mixer. I based the recipe on my Mum’s usual Christmas cake recipe (taken from this book), adapting it to make it dairy free, slightly reduce the length of the ingredients list and change the baking times and temperatures so that it would work with multiple little tins.
I used half sized (200g) baked bean tins for this project, which I saved over a couple of weeks. I thoroughly washed out each tin, removed the label and dried it out before using. Be very careful when working with the tins as it’s very easy to cut yourself on the sharp rim – I’d advise lining them yourselves rather than letting the children do that bit, just to be careful. Greasing the tins is also easier if you use a spray oil instead of butter – much less chance of a cut finger that way!
These cakes make lovely gifts – whether it be for teachers, family or friends, I’m sure they’ll be hugely appreciated! Pop them onto mini cake boards, wrap them in cellophane paper or a cellophane bag and tie with a festive ribbon for a really pretty present.
Baked Bean Tin Mini Christmas Cakes
Ingredients (makes 6):
- 175g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 150g butter or dairy free spread
- 150g soft brown sugar
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbs black treacle
- 3 large eggs
- 40g ground almonds
- 500g dried mixed fruit
- 50g glace cherries
- 50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbs brandy (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Grease and double line six mini baked bean tins with greaseproof paper. After a bit of trial and error, I found the quickest way to do this was to cut a long strip of paper, roll it up, make cuts at one end and pop it cuts-side down into the tin, unrolling it once in the tin to fit around the edges. Use the tin as a template to cut out 2 circles of greasproof paper and add them to the bottom of the tin, then trim down the paper to stand about 2cm above the edge of the tin.
Stand the lined tins on a small baking tray or roasting tin.
Sift the flour and spices into a bowl and stir to combine.
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, sugar and lemon rind together until light and fluffy. Add the treacle and whisk again until combined.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time, adding a table spoon of flour with each one and whisking before adding the next.
Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, dried fruit, glace cherries and almonds and stir to completely combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1 and bake for another hour.
Check with a skewer to see if they are ready – the skewer should come out clean when stuck down in the centre of one of the cakes. Mine were ready at this stage, but if not, bake for another 10 minutes or so until done.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for about half an hour. Once cool enough to handle, carefully coax the cakes from the tins then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, remove the greaseproof paper. If storing for more than a few days, wrap the cakes up in fresh paper and drizzle a little brandy over each cake to help preserve it, then double wrap in tin foil and store somewhere cool and dry for up to 2 to 3 months until ready to use. The longer you store them the more the flavours will develop, but if you are really pushed for time these cakes are delicious even when fresh.
Once completely cool and ready to decorate, slice off the tops to level, cover the cakes with marzipan and decorate with traditional royal icing or with fondant – whichever you prefer. In my next post I’ll be sharing 6 really simple ways to decorate them with marzipan and fondant icing, all of which are quick and easy enough for children to decorate themselves!
As I mentioned above, this post is part of the Eats Amazing Fun Food Advent Calendar. Every day from now until Christmas I’m sharing a new festive food idea here on the blog and I’m announcing them over on the new Advent Calendar page too, so do click on the link, bookmark it and pop back each day to see the latest new post!
Disclosure: This post contains some Amazon affiliate links; I may receive commission on items purchased through the links.