One of the joys of Christmas is sharing amazing food with loved ones, but it can be a challenge to keep to an anti-inflammatory diet, albeit a relaxed version over the festive period. Each year I suffer with Endometriosis flare ups in January, which I’m sure are triggered by certain foods. So where possible I use recipes that are great to share but are also gluten and refined sugar free. This Christmas cake is a good example, a perfect treat that’s a great adaptation of a traditional recipe.
It’s also great for those who like me are usually late to baking when it comes to Christmas. And before you know it Christmas has come round so fast that there’s never enough time to feed the cake months or even weeks in advance, but this recipe uses cider to cook the fruit in instead!
- 900g of your favourite mixed dried fruit. I use a mixture of raisins, sultanas, currants and dried apricot. If you have Endo, IBS or other gut sensitivities it’s best to use a brand that doesn’t have sulphur dioxide to preserve the fruit and use organic produce where possible.
- 300ml dry cider (organic if you can)
- 225g butter or ghee (or maybe try coconut butter if you’re looking for a dairy free option)
- 225g coconut sugar
- Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 4 large eggs
- 225g gluten free plain flour (I use Freee Doves Farm Foods)
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 170g chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts or pecans)
- Approx. 6 tbsp apple brandy (ordinary brandy or whisky could be used instead)
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2 and line a 20- 25cm deep cake tin inside and out.
- Put all the dried fruit (some may need cutting in to smaller pieces) in a pan with the cider, bring to the boil and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. The fruit should absorb most of the liquid.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and coconut sugar with the finely grated zests of the orange and lemon. Pour in the beaten eggs and mix well.
- Sieve the flour with the mixed spice and ground nutmeg and fold into the egg mixture.
- Now stir in the soaked dried fruit, the chopped nuts and some of the citrus juices to produce a mixture that has a soft dropping consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top, then make a shallow dent in the middle so that the cake will rise evenly as it cooks.
- Wrap a thick layer of parchment paper around the outside of the tin – as high as the lining paper – and secure with string. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for 2-3 hours. Check the cake halfway through the baking time. If the top is getting too brown, cover it with a piece of brown paper. I cover the top with a circle of brown paper with a little hole in the centre from the beginning.
- Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer in the middle – it should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, prick it all over with a fine skewer and carefully pour the apple brandy into the holes. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin (usually around 2 hours).
- Eat as is or decorate any way you choose, well it is Christmas and you can always leave the icing and marzipan to one side if you have the will power! The most enjoyment is had creating the cake decorations!