Decided to try making a gluten, egg and dairy free Christmas cake at the last minute. This is new territory for me as Christmas cake was always something my mother in law Netta made for us and it was gorgeous.
Having to create a recipe to exclude butter, eggs and gluten was a bit of a challenge but it seems to to have worked.
Firstly you have to boil the margarine , sugar, mulled wine, orange juice and zest of orange and lemon plus the dried fruits for 10 minutes. This makes your house smell of Christmas.
Then You have to let it cool which is the hard part. Really want to dive in and eat it on toast then and there.
In the meantime as ground almonds are tremendously expensive here I measured out 85g and ground them in my little processor attachment for my stick blender.
I lined my cake tin mixed the fruit in with egg replacement, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and spices. Then I baked it for 2 1/4 hrs.
After removing from the oven I let it cool in the tin then carefully removed the tin and baking paper. It was still a little warm so allowed it cool completely for another 2 hrs.
Then came the fun part, playing with marzipan which took me right back to primary school and making marzipan fruits for our parents at Christmas.
The results look good and hopefully will taste good on Christmas day, if I can hide it from Peter until then.
Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.
- 175g non dairy margarine, chopped
- 200g dark muscovado sugar
- 750g luxury mixed dried fruit (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 100ml/mulled wine or brandy
- 85g chopped almonds
- 6 tsp of egg replacement powder and 3 tblsp of water, lightly beaten
- 85g ground almonds
- 200g plain gluten free flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 250g Marzipan
- Red and Green food colouring
- 2 tbsp Apricot Jam
- Put the margarine, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and 100ml/3½fl oz mulled wine or brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the margarine has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2/ fan 130C and line a 20cm round cake tin. Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them until evenly browned, or in the oven for 8-10 minutes - keep an eye on them as they burn easily. When they are cool, chop roughly. Stir the eggs replacer, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently, until there are no traces of flour left.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down evenly - you will find this is easiest with the back of a metal spoon which has been dipped into boiling water.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/gas 1/ fan120C and cook for a further 1-1¼ hours (about a further 1¾ hours if you have a gas oven) until the cake is dark golden in appearance and firm to the touch. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a fine skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin. When it's cold, remove it from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil. The cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or you can freeze it for six months.
- When you want to decorate Heat the apricot jam in a microwave and sieve brush over the top of the cake.
- Roll most of the marzipan into two long ropes and twist together. Place round the top edge of the cake and glaze with apricot jam.
- Colour some of the remaining marzipan green, roll out and stamp out holly leaves. Colour the rest red and roll small balls for holly berries. Secure both to the rest of the marzipan with apricot glaze.