Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Cake Recipe

Kindly donated by Sue Grove, this tried and tested recipe needed to be tweaked to be dairy free and truly gluten free!

"I had a great weekend making gluten and dairy free Christmas cakes. I used Phil Vickerys gluten free recipe and adapted it so that it was dairy free as well. They look and smell wonderful!
Just a thought though. I made the first one with fruit soaked in whisky and then had a wobble because some of the specialist gluten free sites say that there may still be gluten in the whisky after distillation and that some of the "mash" may be added back in for flavour. In view of this I made the next cake with rum - no chance of any gluten there lol!"

We looked up the recipe on line and have copied it below. To make a dairy free version use the same quantities of dairy free margarine instead of butter and replace the milk with soya or nut milk.

Phil Vickery's rich fruit Christmas cake

I actually prefer this gluten-free version of Christmas cake to the regular kind, writes Phil Vickery. The texture is just the same, if not better, and it's delicious! It's best to soak the fruit in the whisky and lemon juice overnight; it makes a real difference to the texture of the cake
Christmas cakeChristmas cake

Makes: one 18 cm round or square cake

Preparation: 20 minutes, plus overnight soaking time
Cooking: 1½–2 hours


For the cake

  • 75g currants
  • 75g sultanas
  • 350g raisins
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 150ml whisky
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling
  • 150g Gluten-Free Flour Mix B (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (check Coeliac UK's Food and Drink Directory)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 100g natural-coloured glacé cherries, halved and washed
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle
  • 1 tablespoon clear honey

For the top

  • 2 tablespoons smooth apricot jam, warmed
  • 100g mixed glacé fruits; eg red or green cherries, ginger, melon or pineapple
  • 50g nuts eg almonds, walnuts, pecan halves


  • Place the dried fruit and mixed peel in a pan, add the whisky and lemon juice and zest, and bring up to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Oil and line the base and sides of a 6-8cm deep round or square 18cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, including a tall collar sticking up.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices together. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. Gradually add the eggs and flour, alternately, and then add the ground almonds. Stir in the milk and mix in the dried fruit mixture, almonds and cherries. Finally stir in the treacle and honey and give the whole cake mix a thoroughly good stir.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin, level, and bake for about 1½–2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
  • To decorate, brush the surface of the cake with half the warmed jam. Arrange, or pile, a selection of glacé fruits and nuts over the top and brush over a second layer of jam to glaze. Now all you need is a big bow to put round the sides!

Fancy a traditional topping?

I like the glace fruit and nut topping as it’s so quick and easy! But if you prefer you can decorate it in the traditional way with a layer of marzipan topped with white icing of your choice.
To store: The undecorated cake will keep for up to 1 month, tightly wrapped in foil and in an airtight container.
To freeze: When cold, remove it from the tin, wrap the undecorated cake in greaseproof paper and two thick layers of foil and freeze in an airtight container. Defrost for 3–4 hours and when defrosted decorate as above.

Gluten-free Flour Mix B

Makes: 1kg
Preparation: 5 minutes

  • 300g fine polenta or chestnut flour
  • 500g brown rice flour
  • 200g cornflour
  • Mix all the flours together very thoroughly or put into a food processor and pulse until mixed. Store in an airtight container.

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