Well I had a special request to see if I could come up with a gluten free christmas cake. The big challenge was not only making it gluten free but also dairy free without turning to processed soya margarine… so I had little play around this week and I think I’ve got a winner here. At first I wasn’t too sure about it, I was worried it was more of a bread pudding or tea loaf than a christmas cake. It’s now been tested by a good friend and christmas cake connoisseur and she gave it the thumbs up so I think it’s ready to be posted here!
Gluten free flour blend:
65g Gram flour and 105g Rice flour
3/4 tsp Xantham gum
1 tsp Baking powder
or 170g White spelt flour for a low gluten option
For the rest of the cake:
85g Raw coconut sugar (or dark muscovado)
25g Dried cherries– chopped
25g Dried cranberries
140ml Soya milk (or oat milk, rice milk, or coconut milk)
85g Ground linseed (just pop whole linseeds in a coffee grinder and whizz until powdery)
enough water to cover well.
Grated rind of 1/2 – 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground cloves
1/2 tsp Mixed spice
pinch Himalayan rock salt
45ml Brandy (optional)
Sieve the gluten free flour blend (gram and rice flour, xantham gum and baking powder) (or spelt flour) together with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mixed spice in to a large mixing bowl. Put the ground linseed into a small bowl and cover with water. Allow the linseed to soak up the water, then add a bit more, you want a gelatinous consistency. Stir it in to the flour mix. It will be quite hard to mix, add a little water if necessary, but not too much.
Stir in the sugar and dried fruit. Add the lemon rind and give it a good but gentle stir. Then add all but 2 tbsp of the soya milk and mix gently again. Gently warm the 2 tbsp of soya milk in a microwave or on the hob – don’t let it boil, just warm it (you should be able to put your finger in it without it burning!). Add the bicarbonate of soda to the warm milk and then add to the cake mixture amd stir gently until combined.
Pour the mixture into a lined 7 inch cake tin. Smooth the top and make a small hollow in the centre. Bake at 180 C for one hour, then turn the oven down to 160 C and bake for a further 30 – 45 mins (or until a skewer insered in the middle comes out clean). Keep an eye on it while it’s baking.
Before you bake it you can add blanched almonds to the top. If you do this then make sure you check the cake regularly and when they start to brown cover the cake with foil for the rest of the baking time.
Once the cake is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the cake tin. Allow to cool.
If you are going to use the brandy then once the cake is cool prick it with a cocktail stick or a small skewer and feed with a third of the brandy. Then wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container. You can pour the rest of the brandy over the cake at weekly intervals. With the Brandy in it it will keep for up to a year (apparently!), without it will last 4 weeks if stored properly.
Obviously you can then add marzipan and royal icing to this. I am going to have a go at creating some dairy and gluten free marzipan and royal icing so watch this space!