Thursday, December 20, 2012

The gluten free Christmas cake experiment

For the past 6 - 8 months, maybe more Tony has been eating wheat free as much as possible. Whilst he isn't gluten intolerant, too many wheat products upset his gut terribly. This has really thrown a spanner in my baking and cooking routine to say the least.  I still make sourdough bread, although we eat only a few slices every week.  There have also been experiments with different cake and muffin recipes with varying degrees of success.  Thank goodness for the internet and blogging world, so many wonderful recipes out there.

Every year I promise myself that I'll bake a proper Christmas cake, soak the fruit etc. Of course I never get around to it and end up making my favourite boiled fruit cake, yummy but not a real fruit cake if you know what I mean.  About two weeks ago I finally got my act into gear and started on the cake.  Firstly I had to find a tried and tested gluten free version, a quick spin around google threw up so many options.  The lovely ladies at the DTE forum also gave some suggestions.  I finally settled on a recipe, it was also suggested by a forum member, same recipe from a different site. Anyway enough blabbing on, here it is.

Gluten free Christmas cake - original recipe from

850g mixed fruit (I used a combination of sultanas, currants, raisins, prunes, dates, dried apricots, apples and pears)
1 cup of brandy - you could also use bourbon, Irish whiskey, cointreau, sherry or Drambuie for a really boozy cake
150g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (I used rapadura)
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup gluten free S/R flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup blanched almonds (I used1/2 cup of pecans and soaked them with the fruit)
1/4 cup apricot jam (optional)
My additions
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Place dried fruit and 2/3 cup of brandy in a large airtight container, mix well, cover and leave at least overnight preferably for a week, stir daily.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 150C. Lightly grease a deep (7 x 20cm) round cake tin.  Line base and sides with double layers of baking parchment then brown paper.
  • Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar till pale and creamy, add vanilla extract if using and then eggs one at a time.
  • Sift flour and spices together, mix in the ground almonds. Fold soaked fruit into the butter and sugar mix then gently fold in the flours.
  • Pour into prepared tin, smooth the top with a soup spoon dipped in water, then decorate with almonds.
  • Bake for 2 - 2 1/4 hours or until cooked when tested. 
  • Remove from oven and pour over remaining 1/3 of a cup of brandy (now I seem to remember that I should have poked holes into the top of the cake before doing this).
  • Allow to cool in the tin.
  • If serving straight away, brush with warmed apricot jam or wrap in two layers of foil and place in airtight container until Christmas. 
  • If you intend feeding the cake with more brandy wrap it first in two layers greaseproof then the foil.  Make sure it's easy to access the top of the cake, brush with alcohol every week or every couple of days.

From the questions on this cake should have the same keeping qualities as a regular fruit cake if stored properly.

It looks good and smells wonderful.  I'll let you know how it tastes on Christmas day.

Have you finished your Christmas baking yet?

Cheers Lisa


Rose said...

Yep I'm done with baking!

I'll look forward to hearing how the cake went Lisa.

Lisa said...

Good for you Rose.

I can't wait to try the cake, perhaps I'll have to do a little taste test early :')

Andrea said...

One of the things that's been on my list for years, make a cake for Xmas !..... maybe next year, will be interested to hear how yours tasted. Happy New Year !

Lisa said...

Hi Andrea, you can do it! Set a date on the calendar to start the cake and stick to!!
Thanks for stopping by and a Happy New Year to you.