My husband does really well on his gluten-free diet and doesn’t stray as he has learned from experience of just how dire the consequences are. Anyone who has a gluten intolerance will understand this. One small slip can lead to a week of great discomfort and pain.
Just occasionally, however, at times like Christmas, he really does miss the traditional fare and a couple of years ago he attended two functions with buffet food where there was not a single item he could eat. I now always send him with a supply of Christmas goodies which are gluten and refined sugar free.
Last year, I managed to find a recipe for some delicious mince pies, a Christmas Mince Slab Pie and a fantastic one for a Christmas Pudding which made his day.
I was so pleased therefore when I spotted this Traditional Christmas Cake recipe from Ceri Jones and the same evening, I had the fruit soaking ready for baking the next day.
This amazing cake is made from all natural ingredients and is gluten-free as it uses ground almonds and buckwheat flour; uses molasses and unrefined sugar and is truly decadent.
Many thanks to Ceri Jones of Natural Kitchen Adventures for sharing this superb recipe. The only alteration I made was that I used brandy instead of amaretto; everything else I had in the store cupboard and fruit bowl.
50g dried cranberries (make sure they are not sweetened)
50g dried apricots, diced
100mls amaretto (I used brandy)
100g ground almonds
100g buckwheat flour
25g tapioca flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
175g coconut palm sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses, warmed
225g unsalted butter
50g chopped almonds
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
To top the cake:
50g whole blanched almonds
Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the brandy. Mix well and cover with either cling film or a tea towel and leave overnight.
Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
Preheat oven to 140°C
Sift the flours, spices and salt together then add the eggs, warmed molasses and butter. Beat with an electric whisk until smooth. Fold in the dried fruit mixture, chopped nuts and grated orange and lemon zest.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin; smooth the top and decorate with the whole blanched almonds.
Cut out a circle of parchment with a small hole in the middle (about the size of a 50p piece) and place this over the top of the cake.
Bake in the oven (lowest shelf) for 4 hours. The cake will be done when it feels springy to touch. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool fully before covering and storing.
NB: All photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared and served myself.