My 2017 Christmas Cake inspired by my Grandma

This years Christmas cake is now resting and being feed every two weeks with some brandy to keep it moist.
This years Christmas cake is now resting and being feed every two weeks with brandy to keep it moist.

I love Christmas cake. I really do. I love the spice and all the fruit that is packed into slice. I love the sweetness of the icing and marzipan that  just marries with the fruit.

Christmas should be about about eatting 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.

IMG_9604Christmas 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.

Making a good Christmas cake takes time and patience. After my first attempt I promised myself that I would make a few more tweaks as I felt that the cake had too many nuts in and I would like a much fruitier cake.

This is the time of year to get your cake made. Mine has already had two weeks sitting and resting and feeding. I like to star the feeding process of the cake as soon as possible as it ensures that the cake is nice and moist.

Feeding is really important when it comes to Christmas cake. Leave your cake to settle for a couple of weeks before you start to feed it with brandy. A tablespoon or two of brandy should be feed to the cake every two weeks. It does not create a boozy cake, but a subtle back note that will compliment the spices and the fruit in the cake.

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.

Below is my updated version of my gluten free version of a Christmas cake inspired by my Grandma.

300g gluten free self raising flour
300g margarine
300g light brown sugar
3 extra large eggs or 5 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
150g chopped nuts
150g dried cranberries
400g sultanas or use a mixture of sultanas and raisins (I have used some golden raisins this year)
200g glace cherries halved
100g candied peel, diced
100g chopped apricots
2 tablespoons treacle
7 tablespoons of brandy for the mixture, and at least 5 tablespoons for feeding in the run up to Christmas
1 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 salt
1 tablespoon mixed spice

This years Christmas cake has had a couple of tweaks and instead of including Brazil nuts, I have added extra dried fruits.
This years Christmas cake has had a couple of tweaks and instead of including Brazil nuts, I have added extra dried fruits.

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 🙂

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