Fruit cakes are surprisingly easy to make dairy and egg-free and I guarantee the resulting cake will be hoovered up in no time. Last year we left a whole cake (only uneaten due the overkill of other options) with the in-laws and it had completely disappeared two days later! That’s pretty good going for a large fruit cake. 😉
Every year I seem to make multiple types of Christmas cakes to please the various factions of the family (and because I enjoy it): some like chocolate yule log, some like gingerbread biscuits and some love a slice of fruit cake. I’ve never been overly keen on fruit cake myself but my Christmas cake recipe has won me over – it’s fruit heavy but also light and delicate, the kind of fruit cake where you could almost have another slice.
This year I felt like making a change to my usual traditional Christmas cake and had the idea of combining a family favourite of ginger cake taste with a fruit cake base. It turns out it’s a genius combination; who could resist the spicy warming heat of ginger with the comforting hug of a traditional Christmas cake? The ginger is added in three ways for different dimensions and interest: crystallised ginger chunks, plenty of ground ginger and then a regular feeding of ginger wine for added oomph.
Let the Christmas preparations begin 🙂
Ginger Christmas Cake
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
makes 1 12″ cake
50g crystallised ginger, chopped
100g dates, stoned and chopped
2 tbsps brandy (or ginger wine or apple juice)
350g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
70g dairy-free margarine
zest of 1 lemon
170g light Muscovado sugar
250ml dairy-free milk, warmed to hand hot temperature
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Grease and line a 12″ cake tin
- Pour the brandy/apple juice over the dried fruit and leave to steep for at least a couple of hours, or preferably overnight
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger and mixed spice. Add the lemon zest.
- Rub in the dairy-free margarine and then stir in the sugar, and the dried fruits.
- Add the bicarb to the warm milk and stir until dissolved. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.
- Turn into the lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to gas mark 3/160 degrees Centigrade and continue to bake for a further 20-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- Keep wrapped in baking paper, in an airtight container until ready to decorate (if desired) just before Christmas
- For added moisture and flavour, pour 1 tbsp of ginger wine (or apple juice or brandy) onto the cake each week until ready to use.