I love fruit cake but since going Gluten and Refined Sugar free I have really struggled to find anything any good. There are plenty of Gluten Free Christmas cakes around, which wasn’t the case 3 or 4 years ago, but they seem to be loaded with sugar. There’s plenty of sugar in the fruit alone without adding more.
So here’s my favourite version. I play around with the dried fruit depending on what I have or can find in the farm shop. One year I added almonds rather than chopped walnuts so you can ring the changes and find a version which works for you.
This year I’m so late making my cake that I won’t have too much time to feed it (the weekly dosing in alcohol which soaks into the cake over many weeks) but I’ve made up for it with some of our dark rum we bought back from Cuba! I came back and created a fabulous Mojito recipe (without sugar syrup) with our white rum so now I’m thinking I should create a dark rum and ginger Mojito to go with the Christmas cake. It will be oh so much nicer than a glass of sherry – although I do like a glass of Sherry!!! Sorry very old fashioned I know!
Don’t forget everyone in the house on the day you are making it needs to have a stir and make a wish. Last year we were in the final push to get the spare bedroom and bathroom finished in time for visitors at Christmas and so the carpet fitter and the decorators had to down tools and come and have a stir. I hope all their wishes came true.
200g Mixed Fruit – sultanas, currants, raisins,
250g ready to eat Prunes
200g mixed peel
175g glace Cherries - halved
125g glace pineapple chopped into small pieces
50 crystalised ginger chopped into small pieces
125g chopped walnuts
150ml dark rum – I used a bottle we brought back from Cuba!
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
250 gluten free flour – We have our own flour blend with we’ve created over time through trial and error. See recipe at the bottom. You can use any gluten free blend
100g ground almonds
4 eggs beaten
200g CoConut sugar
2 tea spoons mixed spice
1 pinch salt
Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C or Gas mark 1
Combine all the dried fruit in a large bowl and add the rum, the gated zest of the orange and lemon and their combined juices. Mix and set aside for 12 – 24 hours.
Combine the flour, ground almonds, salt and mixed spice.
Place the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl or mixes=r and beat until pale and fluffy. This is called creaming.
Add a small amount of the eggs and a tablespoon of flour and mix between each addition. When fully combined add the rest of the flour. Add the nuts.
Next add all the dried fruit and stir to combine. I find this best to do by hand or the cherries tend to get smashed up by the mixer blades.
Call everyone in the house to have a stir and make a wish.
Transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the surface with a spoon. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approx. 3 hours. The cake is ready when it is golden brown on top and firm to the touch. To test insert a thin skewer, it should come out clean.
When cool enough to handle remove from the cake tin and set on a cooling rack until completely cool. To store wrap in tin foil and place in an airtight container in a cool place.
I forego the traditional Icing topping but some years will make a homemade marzipan to go on top or simply decorate with glace fruits.
250g coconut sugar blitzed until it resembles icing sugar
250g ground almonds
1 dessert spoon rum or sherry
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1 dessert spoon lemon juice
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 egg beaten
Homemade marzipan is delicious. It’s not dry and flavourless like the shop brought ones and will be a light delicate colour rather than that bright yellow colour that comes from artificial colouring.
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the rum or sherry, orange flower water, lemon juice and vanilla and combine.
Gradually beat in the egg and work all the ingredients together to form a stuff paste. You may not need to add all the egg.
Lightly dust a work surface with coconut icing sugar and knead the marzipan until smooth.
Wrap in tin foil and store in the fridge until you need it. It will also freeze so I often make a larger batch and then freeze some. We make a fabulous marzipan and cherry flapjack. Message me if you’d li kth recipe.
For Glace Fruit topping
3-4 tablespoons apricot jam (homemade if possible)
3-4 tablespoons water
Glace fruits – orange and lemon slices, pineapple, apricots, figs, cherries, angelica etc
Place the apricot jam and water in a small pan over a low heat and aloo it to melt stirring all the time. You should end up with a thick glaze. Brush the top of the cake with a generous quantity of the glaze as this is what the fruits will stick to. Lay the glace fruits on top of the cake in your own design. Allow to cool slightly so they stick to the glaze and then brush the fruits with a little more glaze to make them shine.
Ali’s Gluten Free Flour Blend
125g Brown rice flour
125g Sweet white sorghum flour
175g Tapioca flour
175g Potato starch
75g buckwheat flour
Mix all the flours together and store in an airtight container. This works really well as a plain flour for cakes and bakes as well as gravies.