Dairy-Free Christmas Cake
Author: Sandra Butler
Serves: 1 9in round or 8 inch square cake
- 1250g/2lb 12 oz dried fruit (sultanas, currants, cherries and candied peel)
- 100g/4 oz chopped mixed nuts
- Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 4 tbsp alcohol (whisky, brandy, rum or liqueur)
- 225g/8oz dairy-free margarine
- 225g/8oz light muscovado sugar
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 125g/5oz rice flour
- 225g/8oz ground almonds
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 large cooking apple, grated
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 tbsp whiskey
- A drop of pure almond essence
- 450g/1lb ground almonds
- 450g/1lb sifted caster sugar
- 1 egg white and 2 egg yolks both lightly beaten
- Place the dried fruit, chopped nuts, juice and half the alcohol in a large mixing bowl and leave for an hour. Double line the base and sides of your cake tin with greaseproof paper. Cut a piece of brown paper long enough to bo around the outside and approximate double the depth of the tin to form a collar and secure with string. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
- Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well each time. Combine the spice, xanthan gum, rice flour and ground almonds. Stir gently into the mixture. Add the grated apple to the fruit and then gently stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Empty into the prepared tin. Using a wet hand, smooth and level the top of the cake.
- Lay a sheet of brown paper over the top of the collar and bake for an hour. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for a further 2 more two and a half hours until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and pour the rest of the alcohol over the hot cake and leave to cool in the tin. When completely cold, remove the cake from the tin, but do not remove the greaseproof paper. Wrap in another layer of greaseproof and then foil until ready to decorate.
- To decorate, make the almond paste by beating together the eggs, whiskey and essence and then adding it to the sugar and ground almonds to make a paste. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
- Sprinkle the work surface with icing sugar and kneed the almond paste lightly until smooth. Roll out to approximately 1cm/half inch thick. Brush the cake with the egg white and cover with the almond paste.
- Roll out any leftover paste thinly and cut out festive shapes. Brush with the egg yolk and stick on to the cake and then brush the whole cake with the egg yolk.
- Carefully place the cake on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 mins until golden in color. When the cake has cooled, you can dredge the top with icing sugar if you wish.