Mini Christmas cake recipe from Nancy Birtwhistle ‘perfect edible gifts’

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Nancy Birtwhistle won the fifth series of The Great British Bake Off. She has detailed a recipe resulting in the “perfect edible gifts”.

They cost less than £1 each to make and would serve as perfect snacks for Christmas Day, or tiny puddings to go alongside other desserts or a cheeseboard.

How exactly can you make the small, sweet treats?

Mini Christmas cakes recipe

This recipe will make nine mini cakes, one nine-inch round or eight-inch square cake lined with greaseproof paper.


  • One kilogram Mixed dried fruit and peel
  • 100g glace cherries (washed, dried, and cut into thirds)
  • Four tbsp Cointreau, brandy, or sherry (or strong tea for a non-alcoholic cake)
  • Finely grated zest of one orange and one lemon and the juices
  • 250g salted butter
  • 250g dark Brown soft sugar
  • One tbsp golden syrup or black rreacle
  • Five eggs (beaten together in a mixing jug)
  • 250g plain flour
  • One tsp ground mace
  • One tsp mixed spice
  • One tsp ground ginger
  • Half tsp ground cinnamon

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First thing in the morning put mixed fruit and cherries in a large bowl and add the alcohol (or tea), finely grated fruit zests and fruit juices, stir and cover with a plate then leave until the evening.

In the evening when you are ready to mix – cream together the butter and brown sugar until pale, light and fluffy.

Add the syrup or treacle and continue to mix. Gradually incorporate the beaten egg a little at a time along with a teaspoon of flour.

This helps to prevent the mixture from curdling.

When all the egg has been incorporated gently fold in the rest of the flour and spices.

Finally, fold in the soaked fruits.

If you do not have a baking tray, Nancy suggests using mini baked bean tins to bake the treats in.

Transfer the mix to the prepared tin (or nine mini tins) and bake low and slow at 100 degrees Celsius for 10 hours. If making mini cakes bake for five hours.

I usually put the cake into the oven at 10pm and take it out at 8am the next day.

Leave it to go completely cold before wrapping in foil and placing in a tin until Christmas.

I leave the greaseproof lining on the cake too.

If you do not have a baking tray, Nancy suggests using mini baked bean tins to bake the treats in.

Wash them and remove the label and the top and bottom and you have the perfect baking sleeve, Nancy says.

Another Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo has discussed her Christmas cake recipe. 

Sophie also gave readers her best fruit cakes tips.

The expert gave various tips, based on whether bakers are using dry or fresh fruit in their fruit cake.

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