«

»

Print this Post

Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake – pt 1

Before I get chastised for writing a C*&^%$£~s post in October the organised amongst you will be beginning to prep for festive baking time. While Stir-up Sunday, when you traditionally make Christmas Pudding, isn’t until 20thNovember, now is the time to start on the cake to give it sufficient feeding time. A Christmas Cake that hasn’t been stuffed to the gills with alcohol is deemed as substandard in this house. This is the recipe I’ve used for years, and after many request to stop keeping the recipe close to my chest here it is. It’s from a 2005 edition of Prima magazine and produces a lovely moist fruit cake.

The first and possibly most important part of a Christmas Cake is the soaking of the fruit at the beginning. Personally I think it works best with alcohol like sherry, brandy or whisky. Given I’m banned from Hubs’ whisky collection after last year’s expensive whisky Christmas Pudding incident I decided to use sloe gin as we seem to have quite a few forgotten vintages hiding under the stairs.

As we struggle to eat a normal sized Christmas Cake betweeen the 2 of us, Pen reminded me that cakes can be cooked in small baked bean tins. As an avid fan of baked beans (look they are a good source of fibre and one of your 5-a-day) I knew it would be easy to amass the tins. To add a bit of variety I also picked up some tins whose contents I hadn’t eaten since I was about, ooh, 9 years old. Alphabetti Spaghetti, Spaghetti Hoops, BBQ beans and *whispers* beans with mini sausages. The things I do for my art. Many tins will do. I’ve been told pineapple rings tins also work well. Just don’t use tins that have contained fish. You may regret it.

Remember this is essentially lots of dried fruit and nuts bound together with a small amount of flour and egg and consequently takes a great deal longer to cook than conventional cakes. Times can also vary significantly from oven to oven. The only true way to know they are baked is to insert a skewer in to the middle of the cake. Only when it comes out clean is the cake cooked. This is why fruit cakes are often double wrapped to allow them to cook properly. It is important to do this if you want a decent cake. If you want to see how to properly line cake tins look here where I have written an information sheet. Just don’t underestimate how long it can take to line 12 mini tins. Put it this way, it took me an hour just to line and fill 6 tins.

There is an ulterior motive for me making the cakes now. I’m intending on decorating each of the cakes using a different method because I’m teaching an evening class in cake decorating in December. It also means they can be given away as gifts. During the following months I will post more blogs showing the different decorating techniques.

Part 2 - How to marzipan
Part 3 – How to decorate 

Christmas Cake
12 mini (small baked bean tin) cakes (also makes 8 inch (20 cm) round cake or a 7 in (18 cm) square one just bake for 3.5-4 hours instead)
From Prima Christmas 2005 supplement

200g glace cherries
500g mixed dried fruit (Aldi do a very nice one)
500g sultanas
zest of one orange
200ml sherry or other suitable alcohol like whisky, brandy or sloe gin (if you don’t want to use alcohol, use orange juice instead)
225g butter, softened
225g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
50g whole almonds

1) Put cherries and other dried fruits plus zest in bowl and soak in sherry overnight.

2) Line a tall cake tin: Lightly grease base and sides. Line sides with a double thickness of baking parchment that stands 5cm above tin. Make 1 cm cuts at base to help it lie flat. Line base with double layer of parchment. Look here for more detailed instructions.

3) Preheat oven to 150°c. Whisk butter and sugar for 5 min till light and fluffy. Whisk in eggs slowly. When almost added, whisk in some flour to stop it curdling. Fold in flour, spices, fruit and almonds. Spoon into lined tin and make a small dip in the middle of the mixture. Wrap tin in a double thickness of brown paper (or parchment) and tie with piece of string. Cook for 60-90 minutes. If you want the top of the cake to brown a bit more untie the string, so the top of paper is open, for the last quarter an hour.

4) Once cooked, poke lots of holes in the top of the cake with a skewer and drizzle a teaspoon of sherry over cake. Don’t overfeed it or the cake will go too soggy. Leave to cool in tin. Then remove from tin, remove paper and wrap well in a clean lot of a double layer of greaseproof paper and foil. If you want to you can feed it every week or so with sherry before decorating to keep the cake moist

Related posts:

About the author

Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2011/10/28/baked-bean-tin-christmas-cake-pt-1/

92 comments

11 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. thelittleloaf

    What a great idea! Hardly anyone eats Christmas cake in my family…except my Dad who is constantly on a diet and really shouldn’t (!), so this looks perfect. Love the idea of different decorations for each one too.

    ps just noticed that I’m on your blogroll – thank you! :-)

  2. Nip it in the bud

    what a fabulous idea. I made a Christmas pudding a couple of years ago but never cake. When mum made cake each Christmas growing up it was my younger brother who munched his way through 80% of it. It would be lovely to make little cake presents this year so thanks for sharing such a fab recipe (and I’ll look forward to seeing how you decorate them too :o)

  3. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    I actually prefer the idea of cooking these mini cakes than I do of making just one large cake. I wish I could come to one of your classes to get some ideas as I am doing my PETLLS course at the moment and need to get some inspiration for my micro teach. Do you do adult classes and how far are you from Surrey???! x

  4. Jayne

    I love these cute little cakes!

  5. MrsShilts

    I love the idea of having mini christmas cakes rather than one big one. My Nan used to make a cake for each of the couples at Christmas and it was just far too much! Thank you for the recipe, I can see it will come in very handy

  6. whatkatebaked

    I’ve been searching for a recipe for mini Christmas cakes as I was hoping to bake and decorate some as Christmas presents! Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. Helen T

    This is such a great idea, had never thought of making baby cakes for Christmas. But I’m thinking of doing it now! Looking forward to seeing your decorating ideas.

  8. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    They look so cute in their bean tins! Definitely not too early to start preparing for Christmas, I’m embracing it early this year!

  9. thingswemake.co.uk

    These look SO cute. I wasn’t going to make Christmas Cakes as I am not find of them but these are pretty tempting. They would make lovely presents too.

    1. Jules

      Am I going to convert you to Christmas Cakes too?

  10. The Curious Cat

    This is such a cute idea! I love it!!!

  11. mermaidcookware.com

    What an ingenious idea. Love it!

  12. Nip it in the bud

    Hi Jules, I’ve just posted details of your mini Christmas cakes on my Stir up Sunday post. I’ve put appropriate links so hope it was ok to you use your mouthwatering cake picture (since I won’t be making mine for a few more weeks). Thanks for the inspiration.
    http://nipitinthebud.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/its-stir-up-sunday-2/

    1. Jules

      Yes that’s fine. I hope your cakes that you make go well.

  13. M North

    We have been using this method at the school I work for 8 years or so to enable 60 + Year 6 children to make an individual Christmas cake to take home as a gift at the end of term. It always works out well and, once decorated, the children love the result. I agree wholeheartedly with the time taken to prepare the amount of tins as they are rather fiddly – but the result is well worth the effort!

    1. Jules

      I think bigger cake tins are easier to line than smaller, but still they are fabulous cakes for children to make. So far I’ve marzipaned 4 of the cakes ready to use in a demo next week.

  14. Lynne

    Fab!! I’ve got neighbours who want me to bake for them, and wondered how to adjust quantities for small cakes – this is brilliant! I would never have thought of baked bean tins – I’d probably have spent unnecessary money on little tins. However, George & I can eat our way through a big Chrissy cake all on our own – Blush!

    1. Jules

      My cake of choice in the Christmas season in Stollen. I could also quite happily eat my way through a Christmas pudding in one sitting!

  15. Anna

    These look great! When you say you used small baked bean tins, what approximate size are they? I live in New Zealand and don’t have a clue if they are similar sizes to our tins. I’m not an experienced baker (yet – I’m working on it) and like to follow exact recipes/instructions. Thanks Anna

    1. Jules

      Hi Anna, the tins measure approximately 75mm in diameter 55mm in height.

  16. hungryhinny

    Hello! I made these last month and have just blogged them – no tasting has been done yet but they’re looking good! Thank you for the inspiration and the genius bean tin lining info sheet – I’ve linked to it from my post so other people can use it too, hope that’s ok!

    http://hungryhinny.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/mini-christmas-cakes-part-1/

    1. Jules

      Hi, glad you liked them. Hopefully by the end of the week I will have posted pictures of the finished cakes.

  17. Angela

    I was wondering what temp C. you baked the small cakes on, they look scrumptious

    1. Jules

      Hi Angela, cook them at 150oc for 60-90 minutes.

  18. Nicola

    Hi Jules, these look wonderful. I’m planning on baking my first Christmas cake tomorrow and after having found your blog, I’m going like to make mini ones. Just wondering though, how many weeks should I keep feeding the cakes before covering with marzipan and icing? Thank you!

    1. Jules

      Hi Nicola,
      Because these are small cakes they do not need feeding as much as big cakes (because they’ll go soggy). Once baked feed every couple of weeks. Make sure they are wrapped in greaseproof paper & foil and stored in a tin. You can feed/mature it until beginning of December. Marzipan, leave for a few days then ice. Once iced keep in a breathable container. Let me know how you get on.

  19. Hattie

    Hi Jules,
    What a fabulous idea!! I have a couple if questions though:
    1) Do I need to dry off the fruit that has been soaking overnight before I add it to the cake mixture?
    2) Can I reuse the brandy I used for soaking the first batch if fruit in for a second batch?
    Many thanks,
    Hattie

    1. Jules

      Hi Hattie,

      You’ll find that the fruit soaks up all of the alcohol, but if it doesn’t pour all of the fruit and remaining alcohol into the cake mix.

      I hope this helps
      Jules

  20. Hatti

    Thank you!! Is a Tupperware box ok for storing the cakes in once they’re iced? Sorry for all the questions but this is my first time making them :0))

    1. Jules

      I don’t recommend storing them in a sealed container. When the cake has been iced it is essentially a sealed cake. It’s best to keep them in a breathable container like the cardboard cake boxes you can buy. Once the cake has been cut then keep on a sealed box like tupperware.

  21. Nicola

    Hello! I love this blog…. I make hampers every year and don’t usually add Christmas cakes as I’m not a great cake maker. This year I’d like to attempt it but here you don’t say about “feeding” the cake….. how do I do this? Just put all the fruit in a bowl and feed it with brandy every now and again?
    How many times should I do this (don’t want it TOO boozy) and how much brandy each time?
    Thanks tons!!

    1. Jules

      Hi Nicola. You feed the cake once it is cooked and before you marzipan it. Every couple of weeks prick the top of the cake with a thin skewer or cocktail stick and drizzle a teaspoon or brandy/sherry. Just be careful you don’t over feed it or you’ll end up with a soggy cake.

      1. Nicola

        Fantastic… thanks you…So really I need to be making my individual cakes in the next couple of weeks so I can feed each of them… a teaspoon between all 12??

        1. Jules

          I usually make my Christmas cakes mid to late October, feed until early December, marzipan then ice mid December. You will need a teaspoon of alcohol per cake. If the cakes begin to get too moist stop feeding.

  22. john

    Great blog – Thanks :-)
    I’ve already got one of these http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin
    do you think this would do the trick? I’m guessing they’d still need to be lined…
    Thanks,
    John

    1. Jules

      Yes you always need to line for cakes like this. What’s the diameter of the individual parts of the tin? Baked bean tins are about 3inches. I’m not sure how well the mix would cook as a smallest cake.

  23. L Waller

    Am I too late to make these now for this Christmas? How long do we have to leave it before icing them?

    1. Jules

      No you’re not too late. In theory you can marzipan the cake as soon as it has cooled. You feed the cake just to improve the flavour.

  24. Hattie

    Hi Jules,
    I’m going to marzipan some of my cakes tomorrow. Do i need to store them in an air tight container while they dry prior to icing? Also, with the cakes i’m doing the Florentine topping on, do they need to be stored in an air tight container until they’re eaten – they won’t have the marzipan and icing to seal them won’t they?
    Many Thanks,
    Hattie

    1. Jules

      Once you have marzipanned the cakes you need to let them dry. Either store in cardboard box or in the usual tin but leave lid off and cover with a tea towel. For the florentine covered one you can store airtight tin.

  25. Confusion Cook

    Hi Jules,
    Love your idea of mini xmas cakes. Since I dont have small tins handy I wanted to bake the cake in small loaf pan (20 cm X 6 cm) What do you suggest should be the baking time & temp – Would baking at 160 C for 45 mins then another 30 mins at 150 C is going to be okay or too much? please suggest.

    1. Jules

      Hi, I think this will be about the right timings. Keep checking with a skewer, and if it’s not cooked on the inside, but cooked on top cover with foil.

      1. Confusion Cook

        Thank you so much Jules. Will definitely keep you posted on the result. :)

  26. Nat Lucas

    Hi Jules – my minis are in the oven as I type, have been looking forward to trying this. I’m attempting a chocolate christmas cake recipe (with port, one for the mixture one for me!) that was in my mums November issue of Woman and Home mag – recipe only made ten tho. Am looking forward to tasting it.

    1. Jules

      Nat, I love the idea of port and chocolate. I hope the cakes work well for you.

  27. Lianna

    Hi, I’m hoping to use this recipe with a group of parents but we will be using orange juice rather than alcohol, will we need to soak the fruit in the juice the night before? Thanks

    1. Jules

      Hi Lianna, yes you will still need to soak the fruit in the orange juice. This helps plump up the fruit and keeps the cake moist.

  28. Lin

    Hi Jules,
    am looking forward to doing these small Christmas cakes soon and have saved my baked beans cans – but they are the large ones, will they still be ok to use?
    kindest regards Lin

    1. Jules

      The normal sized baked bean tins should be ok, but only fill them by 1/3.

      1. Lin

        Ok , thanks for replying so quickly, I will let you know how I get on with them!

        1. Jules

          Please do. I’d love to see photos of them.

  29. Gillian

    Hi Jules,

    These look great, but I don’t quite understand what you mean in step 3 above by “Wrap tin in a double thickness of brown paper (or parchment) and tie with piece of string… If you want the top of the cake to brown a bit more untie the string, so the top of paper is open”? Does this mean that the brown paper is tied over the top of the cake so the cake is essentially covered?

    Thanks,
    Gillian

    1. Jules

      Get a square of paper and gather all four corners above the cake and tie the corners together with string – a bit like how the purple present is wrapped here: http://www.inhabitots.com/green-gift-wrap-idea-bobo-wrapping-scarves/

      The other way is to wrap it like you do with full sized Christmas cakes. http://www.lakeland.co.uk/content/xmas/images/step7.jpg then place a couple of rounds of paper just unside to act as a lid.

      1. Gillian

        Thanks for the speedy reply, Jules. I do usually wrap the sides of fruit cake tins with tall double-thickness of brown paper (as in the Lakeland picture) but I don’t normally cover the top as well. I can see that it would make sense to do it for small cakes like this, though.

  30. Lynne

    Hi, I was just wondering how easily the cakes come out of the beans tins – I notice that there’s a lip left if you use the ring pull to take the top off? Should I be opening the tins upside down with a can opener to make it easier for them to come out?

    1. Jules

      The cakes come out of the tin quite easily with a little guidance. All the tins I use still have the little lip at the top due to the ring pull. The cake shrinks a small amount while baking which helps.

      1. Lynne

        WOW – that was a speedy response! Many thanks, I am definitely going to give this a go for the school PTA Christmas Fayre – I think they’ll sell really well. Thanks so much x

        1. Jules

          Good luck Lynne. Quite a few school I know of have made them for fundraising events and they’ve been very popular.

  31. Pauline

    I would like to know the recipe for ONE Christmas cake made in a baked bean tin, I just a bit concerned if I divide the ingredients for you 12 cakes it will not be correct.

    Many thanks

    1. Jules

      Hi Pauline, I’ve scaled down the ingredients for you below for one cake, but I wouldn’t recommend making just one cake as the ingredients are less likely to work together properly at such small quantities. I would make a minimum of 3 cakes.

      It would be:
      17g glace cherries
      42g mixed dried fruit
      42g sultanas
      zest of 1/12 orange
      17ml sherry or other suitable alcohol like whisky, brandy or sloe gin (if you don’t want to use alcohol, use orange juice instead)
      19g butter, softened
      19g dark brown sugar
      1/3 large eggs, lightly beaten
      19g plain flour
      pinch ground cinnamon
      pinch mixed spice
      4g whole almonds

  32. christmas carol

    Hi do you leave the base in the tin or take it off

    1. Jules

      Keep the base on the tin.

  33. @Luciebaking

    @AdventuresWCake got the idea from this blog http://t.co/ufNydAJ3M4

  34. Janet

    Hi Jules

    Love your blog. I did these small cakes for my daughter’s wedding cake in 2006 and used baked bean tins. (96, it looked amazing and everyone had one to take home) I am in a bit of a hurry this year and did not have enough tins, so tried to make moulds out of doubled up cooking foil, (using the one tin I had to hand) and guess what, it has worked.

    Your comments are so inspiring and thanks for all your ideas.

    Kind regards

    Janet

    1. Jules

      Janet,
      I’m impressed how many you made for your daughter’s wedding. Thank you for letting me know about the foil trick.

  35. christmas carol

    Hi Jules

    Im using baked bean tins but how far do i fill them up, do i go to the top of the tin?
    Thanks

    1. Jules

      Go to 1-2cm below the top of the tin. The cakes will rise a small amount.

  36. Jen

    Hi Jules..love your blog & just attempting these mini cake now….just wanted to check…is the 150c fan forced or non fan forced? Thanks

    1. Jules

      The temperature is fan forced.

  37. Lucie (@Luciebaking)

    @sallysue1810 I’m going to ice them and give them as gifts. Got the idea from @DomesticJules http://t.co/ufNydAJ3M4

  38. Lucie (@Luciebaking)

    Mini Christmas cakes cont. Idea from @DomesticJules http://t.co/ufNydAJ3M4 http://t.co/KVtjisVKoG

  39. Mhari

    Hi, this might be a stupid question but I’d seen this idea before and we don’t use a lot of tins so started storing them a about a month ago but have stored standard size (400g) rather than mini size. Can I still use but fill as if mini size? Thanks

    1. Jules

      You can use the 400g tins but you may have to cut the tins to release the cakes.

  40. Mhari

    Thanks

  41. Carole Dalton

    Hi Just taken my 12 mini cakes out of the oven, they look great, a little pale but I did use light brown sugar, is it essential to feed them with more alcohol?

    1. Jules

      Hi, if you’ve used a lighter sugar it will alter the colour a bit. It’s not essential to feed the cakes. It’s personal preference.

  42. Sheena Dunn

    We have made 2 batches of these with Brownies last night, sent them home to be cooked and will ice and marzipan next week.

    1. Jules

      I’d love to see the photographs when they’re done.

      1. Sheena Dunn

        I’ll try to get you some this year

  43. Jules: Butcher Baker (@DomesticJules)

    Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http://t.co/y4M6zBiJ0k

  44. Daisies and Pie (@DaisiesandPieUK)

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  45. @michlan

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  46. @nyncompoop

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  47. @hastillonlyme

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  48. @FictionWitch

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  49. @nicolareadcouk

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  50. Liana Stevens (@starbakery)

    RT @DomesticJules: Last night during my WI guest speaking slot I mentioned baking Xmas cakes in baked bean tins. I’ve converted them. http:…

  51. Sandra

    Hi – Could you not use Muffin cases doubled instead of going to the trouble of cutting all the paper?

    1. Jules

      You could try it but I’m not sure the cases will be big enough.

  52. Jenny

    I make mini cakes to sell at markets, lining tins was a hassle. I have now made permanent liners out of silicone sheets , just wash them afterwards and reuse time and time again

    1. Jules

      Jenny, that’s a great idea. I’m surprised no one has started selling small cake tin liners.

  53. Val

    Brilliant idea and I copied the idea of silicon liners which will make a big difference next year.

  1. It’s Stir Up Sunday « Nip it in the bud

    [...] been inspired by Jules’ post about making mini Christmas cakes in small baked bean tins.  Of course there’s planning and then there’s doing when you have a big belly to [...]

  2. Mini Christmas Cakes – Part 1 | hungryhinny

    [...] found this great recipe from Butcher, Baker, for mini Chrismas cakes baked in baked bean tins – which also includes [...]

  3. How to marzipan baked bean Christmas cakes « Butcher, Baker

    [...] baked bean tin cakes should be nicely fed now so it’s time to get covering them in marzipan. You need to leave at [...]

  4. The Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake Project « Butcher, Baker

    [...] equipment needed apart from maybe the odd length of ribbon and a piping bag. The cakes were made using one of my favourite recipes, steeped in Sloe Gin, then covered in marzipan over a week [...]

  5. How to marzipan baked bean tin Christmas cakes » Butcher, Baker

    [...] baked bean tin cakes should be nicely fed now so it’s time to get covering them in marzipan. You need to leave at [...]

  6. Mini Simnel Cake » Butcher, Baker

    [...] really traditional apart from the inclusion of dried fruit and marzipan. This year after making baked bean tin Christmas Cake I decided to use the same method to make two mini Simnel [...]

  7. The Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake Project » Butcher, Baker

    [...] equipment needed apart from maybe the odd length of ribbon and a piping bag. The cakes were made using one of my favourite recipes, steeped in Sloe Gin, then covered in marzipan over a week [...]

  8. Want to make mini xmas cakes?

    [...] [...]

  9. Eggless Christmas Cake | Soak, Mingle, Age & Feed in Brandy | Merry Xmas « Confusion Cook

    [...] wasn’t spam & I didn’t know why she would do that). Except one – Jules from Butcher, Baker, she responded promptly and since she teaches baking and decorating, I was quite relieved to have [...]

  10. Eggless Christmas Cake | Soak, Mingle, Age & Feed in Brandy | Merry Xmas | Lemon In Ginger

    [...] wasn’t spam & I didn’t know why she would do that). Except one – Jules from Butcher, Baker, she responded promptly and since she teaches baking and decorating, I was quite relieved to have [...]

  11. Christmas Holidays 2013 | Lucie loves baking

    […] give to friends and family as gifts for Christmas.  I made twenty mini Christmas cakes using the Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake idea from ‘Butcher, Baker’.  I wanted each one to be different which was a challenge […]

Say hello!

%d bloggers like this: