Christmas isn’t Christmas without a cake, right? But a Christmas cake that is free-from eggs, milk and nuts is almost impossible to buy.
Fruit cakes don’t really feature on my blog since my girls have an aversion to dried fruit, mainly I think due to the fact that it was so hard to find them safe snacks when they were tiny that they ate far too many little boxes of raisins! But it’s Christmas time and fruit cake might not be popular, but they’re so very traditional that they really do have to feature somewhere along with the other sweet treats.
This is a variation on my previous Christmas cake, just to add a bit of excitement and variety to the Christmas teatime centre piece. I think this version which is jam packed full of cherries and sultanas hits just the right note of slightly out of the ordinary. It is a lighter fruit cake variety which is more to my taste as I do find the really dark intense fruit cakes a little challenging!
You may find the method odd, and it is unusual for a cake mix but the finished cake is beautifully light whilst being loaded with dried fruit.
Try and make it as early as you can and then feed once a week with a table spoon of brandy, apple juice or perhaps Chambord blackberry liqueur as I did here for an extra fruity hit.
When it’s time to decorate, paint with a layer of warmed apricot jam and cover with a thin layer of marzipan and fondant icing. If you avoid tree nuts just leave out the marzipan, it really won’t detract from the cake at all!
I haven’t yet iced this cake, so i’ll add a photo of the finished article in the next week or so 🙂
Cherry and Sultana Christmas Cake
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegan and vegetarian)
makes 1 12″ cake
125g glace cherries, roughly chopped
50g mixed peel, chopped
100g dates, stoned and chopped
2 tbsps brandy (or apple juice)
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
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, cinnamon and mixed spice. Add the lemon zest.
- Rub in the dairy-free margarine
- 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 (it will be surprisingly stiff)
- 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 15-30 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 apple juice or brandy onto the cake each week until ready to use.