Quick Gluten-Free Christmas Cake
I love the traditions of Christmas and an indulgently fruit-laden Christmas cake is such an evocative smell and sight on a festive table. This version is a bit of a cheat, for those of us not quite so forward-thinking as to prepare a cake months in advance, but who still fancy a little slice or two of spiced deliciousness to share. It’s gluten free and doesn’t contain any added sugar, as the dried fruit is plenty sweet enough. I decorate it with whole almonds and sometimes a little extra dried fruit, rather than icing it (mainly to save that extra bit of time). But feel free to decorate however you wish.
- 225g gluten-free self-raising flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
- 50ml rum or brandy
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- 240g currants
- 240g sultanas
- 115g raisins
- 170g candied peel
- 85g ground almonds
- 50g crystallised ginger, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 225g unsalted organic butter
- 6 eggs – beaten
- Blanched whole almonds
Zest and squeeze the orange into a large mixing bowl, then cover all of the dried fruit with the orange zest, juice and brandy or rum. Leave overnight ideally, or for at least a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 140°C fan.
Grease and line a 20.5 cm / 8-inch spring-form cake tin. It’s worth lining the sides with greaseproof paper too, as this helps to prevent the cake from burning around the edges. See this video for help on how exactly to do this, if you’re unsure.
Beat the butter until soft, adding the eggs slowly until incorporated.
Sift in the flour, then add the spices, ground almonds and all of the soaked fruit.
Transfer the mixture to the tin and level the top. Arrange the almonds in a neat circle around the edge of the cake.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at the centre of the oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes.
When a skewer stuck in the centre comes out clean and the sides have started to shrink away from the tin edges, it is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Carefully turn out of the tin, peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.
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