One of the many things that we love about Christmas is being to eat lots of lovely rich and seasonal food. From the end of October, our cupboards start to fill up with many of the treats that we will indulge in over the festive period. Some of those treats will be traditional ones such as homemade puddings and cakes.
The Christmas cake along with Christmas pudding is one of the many traditional foods that we look forward to eating during the festive time. These fruit laden puddings and cakes hold many dear memories for many of us. I can remember watching both my Grandmother and Mum make Christmas cakes and then store then away and then bring them out of the dark and turn them into something a beautiful and decorative centre piece for the table on Christmas Day.
Christmas cake is full of sweet dried fruit, paired with spices and the subtle tang of the brandy and to me its all the flavours of Christmas in a cake.
Having baked a lot of cakes in my time, I have never made a Christmas cake. I suppose I have never really had to with my Mum taking on that roll. In recent years after being diaganoised with my wheat intolerance I have either avoided cake at this time of year, or in the past two years I have bought gluten free Christmas cake from a shop.
This year I inherited the beautiful Christmas decorations that used to top my Grandmas cake. In honouring her memory this Christmas they will top my cake with pride and I hope it puts a smile on her face as she watches down on us. It was my Grandma who taught me to bake and is the inspiration for this cake.
Having never made a Christmas cake before, but having watched them being made for years I knew that it was going to be a slow yet satisfying process. In order to make this cake a real tribute to my baking hero, my Grandma, I would have to adapt and modify my one of her Christmas cake recipes. After looking through all of her recipe books I came across two that I liked. I could not choose which one to use, so I have combined them both.
The result looks very good and I can’t wait to taste it. Both of my parents seemed really impressed with its colour, smell and it’s weight. Over the next eight weeks I will be topping up the moisture with a tablespoon of brandy – I don’t enjoy boozy cakes, but I know that if I have gotten it right the brandy should be a back note and should compliment the spices and the fruit.
If you are gluten free and fancy making a Christmas cake and have been looking for the perfect recipe then why not try this one. I have learnt all I know about gluten free cooking and baking though experimenting.
It’s shame I can’t tell you how this cake tastes and what its texture is like, but I am hoping that my baking knowledge and experience has done this cake justice. If not I will be popping to the shops to get one and it will be back to the drawing board for next year.
I would be interested is knowing your results and if you have tried doing this before.
300g gluten free self raising flour
300g light brown sugar
3 extra large eggs or 5 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
150g chopped walnuts
100g chopped Brazil nuts
200g dried cranberries
200g glace cherries halves
100g candied peel, diced
2 tablespoons treacle
3 tablespoons of brandy for the mixture. 3 extra tablespoons to top the cake up with after cooking.
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1. Pre-heat your oven to 150 Oc, gas mark 2.
2. Grease and line an 8inch round cake tin. Line the bottom of the tin and around the sides. Make sure that the lining around the sides is approx 2inch higher than the top of the tin.
3. In a large bowl, mix all the fruit and nuts together and set aside.
4. In another large bowl, whisk the sugar and butter/margarine together until light and fluffy. This will take about 3-4 minutes with an electric whisk, longer by hand.
5. Once the sugar and butter are light and fluffy, add in one egg at a time and whisk/mix into the mixture. I prefer to do this part by hand as it stops you over mixing. Do this quickly and firmly to stop the batter from curdling. If it does, then add a tablespoon of flour.
6. Once the eggs are mixed into the batter, mix in the flour, xantham gum, mixed spice, salt and treacle. Do not over mix flour other wise it will become tough and dense.
7. Now add the fruit and nut mixture, lemon zest, lemon juice and brandy. Mix together and then transfer to your tin.
8. Place into the centre of your pre-heated oven and bake for 3 hours. Check after each hour with skewer. If your cake needs longer then bake for longer. Do not increase the heat otherwise you will burn it.
9. Once baked, leave in the tin for an hour to cool and then turn out to continue cooling. Leave the baking paper around the cake on. Once completely cooled, wrap loosely in foil and place into an airtight container and store in a cool dark place.
10. Feed with a tablespoon of brandy every two weeks to keep moist.
Happy gluten free Christmas baking 🙂