In our house we all love Christmas cake and we love sharing it with friends. When we lived in America we would make Christmas (fruit) cake and offer it to our friends. Their replies were varied and some were hilarious… ‘isn’t that a fruit cake?’, ‘I prefer to eat my fruit uncooked’ or simply ‘no thanks!’

But…not all Christmas cakes are the same! Store bought ones in cardboard boxes usually have all and sundry in them like: white sugar, glucose syrup, acidity regulator (330), preservatives (220, 202)], preservative (211 ) flavour, colour (129)] wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil (canola oil) to name just a few.

Our organic gluten-free home made Christmas cake has mixed fruit, flour (buckwheat, almond and tapioca), spices, eggs, butter, brandy and coconut sugar. That’s it! It is divine, moist and moreish and you are going to love it! Please note that we do like our Christmas cake without the marzipan icing…we just think it tastes better!

Here’s what you need:

  • 450 g currants
  • 225 g sultanas
  • 225 g raisins
  • 100 ml brandy (+ 2 tablespoons for drizzling over the top after baking)
  • 150 g almond meal
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 275 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 275 g coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs medium
  • 50 g whole almonds skin on is fine, chopped
  • 1 orange just the zest
  • 1 lemon just the zest

Here’s how to put it together:

  1. Place the currants, sultanas, raisins in a large mixing bowl and stir in the brandy. Cover and leave the fruit to absorb the brandy overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C / 130°C fan / gas 2.
  3. Line a 23 cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment at the base and around the sides of the cake tin.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar in a Thermomix or standard mixer for a few minutes until it’s a light coffee colour.
  5. Whisk the eggs together lightly then pour into the butter and sugar with the mixer on until it’s completely combined. Scrape down the sides if needed, every so often.
  6. Whisk the almond meal together with the buckwheat, tapioca, spices and salt until well mixed. Then add to the butter, coconut sugar and egg mixture and mix until well combined.
  7. Once combined, fold into the large bowl containing the soaked fruit and orange and lemon zests.
  8. Pour the cake mixture into the tin, smoothing down the surface.
  9. Finally, cover the top of the cake with a double square of baking parchment with hole in the centre just to protect the surface of the cake from getting dry.
  10. Bake for 3½ – 4 hours. Check with a skewer after 3½ hours if it comes out clean. If so then remove from the oven.
  11. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin.
  12. Remove the cake carefully to finish cooling on a wire rack.
  13. When the cake is completely cold pierce the surface several times with a skewer and drizzle over the extra 2 tablespoons of brandy.
  14. Wrap the cake in double baking parchment followed by a double layer of aluminium foil and store in a large airtight tin in a cool dark place.
  15. Unwrap and feed the cake with 2 tablespoons of brandy every 10 days until you are ready to decorate it or eat it.

Optional ingredients to add:

I didn’t add the following ingredients because in the past we have found the cake becomes too sweet. But if you have a sweet tooth then add some, a couple or all of the following ingredients at the step number indicated.

  • 85 g glacé cherries – add in step 1.
  • 85 g mixed peel – add in step 1.
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle – add at step 7.

Tips:

Storing your Christmas cake: well we never had a problem with storing our cake because it was gone, yes gone, within three days! However, if you have less kids (and their friends!) in your house then how you store your cake will matter. Please make sure you allow your cake to completely cool and then double wrap well in parchment along with a a sturdy layer of aluminium foil on the outside. Keep the cake in an airtight tin (not plastic because it becomes to moist) and store safely somewhere cool and dark like the back of your pantry.

How long will the Christmas cake last? if you have stored your cake correctly and it is not decorated (the way we like it) then it will last a couple of months.

For those that love brandy: you will want to feed your cake two tablespoons every two weeks until you decorate it. To feed it we suggest using a skewer, poking a few holes in the top and spooning the brandy in! How much brandy you use is entirely up to you, however brandy is strong so use common sense here.

For best taste make your cake 4-5 weeks in advance so it can ‘sit’ stored and the longer the fruit can sit in the brandy marinading, the bolder the taste will be.

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