This is my Christmas Cake recipe. It is gluten free of course! It is so good that no one will be able to tell the difference, I do love that Christmas Cakes like many other seasonal recipes, are passed down from family member to family member. This recipe also works perfectly with regular plain flour in place of the gluten free flour.
Just like my Christmas Pudding recipe, this is an adaptation of my grandma's recipe with a few tweaks here and there. It's also free from currants because my mum doesn't like them. Dried fruit can be substituted depending on your personal preference, if you really like dried apricots or figs, just substitute some of them in place of the same weight of raisins or sultanas.
I prefer soaking the fruit at least a full day beforehand so that the fruit will have absorbed as much liquid of the liquid as possible. This means it is less likely to sink and avoid a disaster. It's not that much of a disaster as the cake will still be delicious!
It's important that the butter, eggs and all the ingredients are the same temperature as this will stop your cake batter from splitting or curdling. So when soaking the fruit, leave butter and eggs out at room temperature as well.
Tin: 1 x 8 inch Round Tin or 9 inch Square Tin
Temperature: 150°C Fan
Cooking Time: 3- 3 1/2 hours
90g Chopped Almonds/ Hazelnuts
1 tsp Almond Essence
1 Lemon Zest & Juice
1 Orange Zest & Juice
180g Spiced Rum (I use Captain Morgan's)
225g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
6 Medium Eggs
340g Gluten Free Plain Flour ( I use Dove's)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
Extra Rum (or alcohol of your preference) for feeding the cake
Chop cherries in half. If using whole almonds/hazelnuts, roughly chop them. Put all the fruit and nuts in a bowl.
Finely zest the lemon and orange over the fruit mix and and add the juice and rum.
Stir mix every few hours before use. Cover the bowl of fruit with a tea towel.
The Next Day
Preheat oven to 150°C Fan.
To prepare your tin: Cut out 2 rounds or 2 squares of baking parchment that fit the base of the cake tin perfectly, using your cake tin as a template.
Cut a double strip of baking parchment slightly longer than the circumference of the tin, to check the circumference, lay the tin on it’s side and wrap the paper around the tin before cutting. The paper should also be about 5cm/ 2 inches taller the top of the cake tin.
Take the long strip of baking parchment and using scissors, cut in 1cm deep slices at an angle along the fold, this will ensure that the bottom disc will sit perfect.
Lightly butter the tin. The folded edge with the angular cuts should sit at the bottom of the tin and the doubled discs/squares should be placed on top of that
In a stand mixer, beat the room temperature butter and sugar together with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour and all the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the eggs and the flour mix, mixing well with each addition.
Fold the pre-soaked fruit mixture through the batter with a metal spoon or spatula.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin, tapping the tin lightly on the counter with each addition, smooth the batter with the back of a spoon and leave a hollow in the centre of the cake. (Leaving a hollow in the centre will help to ensure an even rise as I've been told by both my grandmothers.)
Bake at 150C for 3- 3 1/2 hours. or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is a dark golden. If cake is colouring too fast, cover the cake with parchment paper over the top for the final hour.
Let the cakes cool in the tin on a cooling rack, and pour another measure of rum over the cake. I use a small tumbler and pour the rum over generously or brush it on with a pastry brush.
Remove the cake from the tin once cake is totally cool. Leave the cake in the baking parchment and wrap tinfoil around it, completely covering the cake. Store the cake somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight.
Keep feeding the cakes with rum every other day for at least 2 weeks.
Closer to Christmas
2-3 tbsp apricot jam
Icing sugar for rolling out
3 Medium Egg Whites
550g Icing Sugar, Sieved
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Liquid Glycerine
Sift some icing sugar on to the countertop and dust your hands lightly with icing sugar and knead until marzipan is soft. Fill any cracks or holes in you cake with small pieces of marzipan until they are level with the rest of the cake.
Heat up the apricot jam in the microwave in 10 second intervals until becomes fluid and brush it all over the cake while still warm.
Use a rolling pin, roll out the marzipan until slightly larger than the cake, using your hand to smooth the marzipan into place.
To make the royal icing, sift the icing sugar, whisk egg whites until they become frothy and add icing sugar in three additions, whisking well after every addition.
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the lemon juice and liquid glycerine. Whisk until lemon juice and glycerine are evenly distributed and the royal icing is still holding its shape when the whisk is removed.
Spread the icing all over the marzipan on the cake, using a palette knife or the back of a spoon. You can decorate it quite rustic by dabbing the spoon or palette knife and creating little peaks all over the surface of the cake. On the other hand, spread an even layer of royal icing all over the cake and then use a medium star nozzle and piping bag to pipe rosettes, stars or a design of your own!
Leave the icing to dry. The royal icing will only take a few hours to set, this can be done the day before you plan on serving. Make sure the cake is well soaked before you decorate to ensure you have a super moist cake.