Traditional Christmas cake – gluten and dairy free


650g/1lb 7 oz dried mixed fruit (or a combination of currants, raisins and sultanas)
75g/3oz glace cherries (chopped)
50g flaked almonds (omit and use extra dried dried fruit for a nut free cake)
Grated zest of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon
215g/7.5oz Gluten free plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
175g/6oz dairy free spread
175g/6oz dark brown sugar
3 eggs
2-3 tbsp french brandy or apple juice

Put the dried fruit, nuts and cherries in a large bowl adding the brandy (or use apple juice) and stir well cover the bowl with cling film and leave overnight or fpr twelve hours.

Grease and line either a 18cm/7″ round or 15cm/6″ square tin with a double thickness of grease proof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs, lemon/orange zest, flour and spice mixing well.

Fold in the fruit and nuts and mix until well combined then spoon into the prepared tin and level off the mixture so it is flat.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 150C/Gas 2 for around 3 hours.
Turn the oven down slightly for the last 30 minutes, if the cake starts to get too brown.

Test if the cake is cooked by sticking in a skewer to the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean then the cake is cooked, if not return to cook checking after 15 minutes testing again with a skewer.

First, allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
Once cold, wrap the cake tightly in a double layer of foil or clingfilm and store in an airtight box until needed for a few months to mature.

‘Feed’ the cake with extra brandy, pricking the surface with a skewer and spooning over a little more brandy repeating every few weeks. Be sure to wrap the cake back up afterwards.
If you want to decorate your cake either use marzipan and royal icing or I prefer a traditional warmed seived apricot jam brushed over the cake and decorated with nuts and dried fruits.


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