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Mini Dundee Cakes

Serves 12 small fruit cakes
These are the answer for those of you who forgot to make a Christmas cake - mini fruity, buttery fruitcakes with an underlying warming alcoholic kick. They smell gorgeously tempting as they cook - bet you eat one while they're still warm! Based on an idea by English chef Gary Rhodes.
Mini Dundee Cakes

6 ounces butter, softened
6 ounces caster sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
7 ounces plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
2 tablespoons ground almonds
6 ounces currants
6 ounces sultanas
2 ounces glace cherries, chopped
2 ounces chopped mixed peel
Finely grated zest and juice 2 lemons
3 tablespoons brandy
12 whole blanched almonds to decorate
Optional: a decent drop of whiskey on the side

[US Measurements | Metric ]
1 Put butter in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until creamy and loose, then beat in caster sugar and beat until fluffy and lighter in colour. Beat eggs together with a fork, then add them gradually to the creamed butter and sugar.

2 Sift flour, baking powder and mixed spice on to a piece of paper, then sift them over the creamed mixture and fold in with a large spoon. Add ground almonds, dried fruit and glace cherries, mixed peel, lemon zest and juice, and brandy. The mixture should have a softish dropping consistency; add a little milk if necessary.

3 Spoon into a 12-hole deep muffin pan lined with cupcake papers. Put an almond in the centre of each one. Cook for 25-30 minutes in an oven preheated to 325F or until golden and smelling cooked. Cool in the tin.

4 The cakes are at their best served warm, but thatís not to say they don't taste good a day or two after baking!

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