Recently I did something I have never done before. I know other people have been doing it for years and I am sure my father did it on more than occassion. My sister recently started doing it and whilst she found it a little difficult at first, in the end she got so much pleasure from it she suggested that I try it.
With this in mind I decided to give it a go and try to bake my first Christmas cake….. ever! I didn't make it easy on myself either as I decided to make a wheat free, gluten free, dairy free version, thus ensuring that everyone I knew would be able to have a taste! The recipe doesn't have to be gluten, wheat and dairy-free so if you want to follow it then simply replace thse options with regular wheat flour and butter etc.
I thought I'd share my recipe with you and, actually, would love to hear from you if you have a particular recipe that you've been using for a while and think it is worth sharing. This has to be one of the simplest recipes to follow and I have to admit that I used my KitchenAid to do my mixing and I can't tell you how easy, straightforward and stress free using a stand mixer makes the whole process. If you don't have a stand mixer, don't worry, you can still mix everything by hand but make sure you are well rested before you start! I haven't decorated mine yet so you can see what it looks like.
As I'm not a huge fan of icing I think I will just add a few cherries and nuts on top with a nice red ribbon and present it on a cake stand. Before I do that though I am going to feed the cake a few spoonfuls of brandy everyday for a week just to make sure it is nice and tasty and ready as treat all over the Christmas holidays! Best of luck with yours – I'd love to see your results if you have a go. This was my first attempt, but it definitely won't be my last!
- 125g cake mix
- Pure Dairy Free Spread (or butter if you don't mind dairy) 125g
- Soft brown sugar 1 tbsp
- Black treacle
- 3 medium free range organic eggs
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Half a bottle of brandy
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 150g wheat free/gluten free plain flour
- 400g mixed dried fruit
- 100g glace cherries
- 200g mixed nuts (I like my fruit cake with lots of nuts, if you don't just use less nuts and more fruit)
- It is important to get ready and prepped before you start making your cake so that everything goes smoothly. 24hrs before making your cake, place dried fruit and glace cherries in container, pour bottle of brandy over fruit and squeeze juice from lemon and orange over dried fruit as well, mix together.
- Seal container and leave for at least 24hrs for fruit to soak up the brandy and juices. Just before you start mixing your ingredients Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees/130 degrees for fan assisted oven. Line an 8"/20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment. I found it easier to use a loose bottom tin that you can slide the cake out of easily. To line tin, remove the bottom of the tin, place on the greaseproof paper, draw around the base onto the paper and cut out. Take the surround of the tin place on its side on the greaseproof paper and roll along the paper drawing a line as you go.
- Roll for one full rotation plus and extra inch or two. Put the Pure dairy free spread (or butter) on the tips of fingers and rub onto base of tin and inside edges of the side of tin. (this will enable greaseproof paper to adhere to sides and bottom of tin) Place cut out greaseproof paper into the tin, ensuring that the greaseproof paper sits proud of the top of the tin.
Mixing cake mix:
- Cream the Pure dairy free spread or butter and soft brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, mixed spice, black treacle and 4 tbsps of the Brandy and fruit juice mix that the dried fruit has been soaking in.
- Mix in wheat free/gluten free plain flour, and stir in dried fruit, glace cherries and mixed nuts. Push the mix into the lined caked tin. Bake in oven for 2hrs – 2hrs 15mins at 150C/130C fan/300F/gas mark 2.
- To test if cake is baked slide a knife or metal skewer into the cake if it comes out 'wet' or with cake mix still on it then the cake still needs to bake. Cake is done when the knife comes out dry. Once cake is baked remove from oven and leave to cool in tin for 12 hours before removing.