This is part of the Christmas section of my Gluten Free Challenge so if you’re looking for the other Christmas bits and bobs, head over to the ‘Rubelle’s Moon’s Gluten Free Challenge’ and Scroll down to ‘Challenge 10- Christmas’ or click this link.
So, as I mentioned before in my pre-challenge write-up, I was going to be making Christmas Cake. Here’s what I said in that post:
“Christmas Cake -I’m going to be making my own take on the famous Delia Smith Christmas Cake… well I was going to… but I realised I really don’t like some of the ingredients in Christmas Cake (candied peel being one… blehhhh) So, i’ve conjured up my own exciting recipe which i’ll be sharing with you when I post it up! Hope you’re excited…” Here’s Delia Smith’s recipe (click this link) and then below is mine, you’ll notice that in comparison to regular fruit cakes there’s a lot less ingredients in mine, that’s because I didn’t want to make such a deep cake as, i’m making one large cake at the moment, that a week before Christmas I will cut into four smaller cakes for my hampers and ice separately, but for the brand to soak in properly and to keep all the flavours together i’m keeping the cake whole for as long as possible!
The cranberries I used were sprinkled in cinnamon and available from Sainsbury’s. You could use the same, or take a tsp of cinnamon, sprinkle it into a bag of cranberries, give it a shake and you have your own coated cranberries (I think it adds to the Christmas taste and smell!) Heres the ones I used:
And, here’s the recipe (oh, and i’ll be doing this in grams rather than cups for a change!):
25g Glace Cherries, quartered
2 tbsp Brandy (you will also need some in the weeks to come to top up the cake – you do this by pouring two lids of brandy into a dish and brushing it over the top of the cake with a silicone pastry brush, don’t use those hairy ones, they’re useless and your cake will look like it’s balding/malting depending on which way you look at it… either way, no one likes a hairy cake!)
110g Gluten Free Plain Flour
1 x tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
110g Unsalted butter
110g Soft, light brown sugar
2 x Large beaten eggs
25g Chopped almonds
100g Dark Chocolate, Chopped/Smashed/Broken into little pieces
2 x tsp Golden syrup
1/2 Zest of a lemon
1/2 Zest of an orange
DAY 1. (there are two days to this cake… so make some time, it’s worth it, you’ll be so proud of yourself for making it, you’ll be glad you made the time!)
1. This is my favourite part, it’s the bit where you get to begin the Christmassy smells… Pour all of the dried fruit into a bowl or tub, add the brandy and stir it all up so that everything is all nicely mixed together and smelling delicious. Set the tub/bowl/container aside with a lid or cloth over it, in a safe place for 12 hours minimum. I did mine on Friday night and made the cake on Sunday afternoon, and the smell was aaaamazing when I opened the tub, so i’d say if you can, give it a couple of days to get really brandy-fied!
DAY 2. (don’t worry this is the only other day you’ll be making this cake, but feel free to announce in Big Brother house style or David Attenborough voice-over style… however you get through your days is up to you…!)
Before anything… Preheat the oven to 150 C, grease and line a round (or square… you crazy Christmas Cake maker you!) with greaseproof paper – important otherwise you’ll have Christmas Cake in your oven by the end of baking, not in the spring-form tin where it should be OR just use a regular non-spring form tin, this is okay to do because you are lining the tin, so it won’t need coaxing out or springing out!
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, salt, xanthan gum and spices and then, once sifted, whisk through everything really lightly with a fork, just to be sure that there is loads of air through everything and the spices are really mixed with the flour.
2. In another large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.
3. Slowly, tbsp by tbsp, spoon the beaten eggs (which should be really light and fluffy and have air bubbles in), into the creamed mixture. With each spon, whisk the mixture. Don’t worry if it looks like it’s going to separate, this happens, it’s totally fine. Also, if it doesn’t, great, you have the gentle cooking hands of a gentle-cook (I couldn’t think of a decent analogy there?!) but, sometimes if your kitchen is hot (mine was as I was baking all day), things can go a little differently.
4. Using a wooden spoon, carefully fold the flour and spice mixture into the egg and butter mixture, making sure everything is done soo slowly as you don’t want to upset the mixture (seriously!) and you need all the flour to be combined.
5. Finally, fold the brandy-soaked fruit, dark chocolate, nuts, golden syrup and zests into the mixture giving everything a really good mix until there is an even looking batter (even in terms of how evenly the mixture is covered in all the fruity-goodness)
6. Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin, cover the tin with tin foil and pop a 20p-sized hole in the top of it. Put the cake into the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 2 hours WITHOUT CHECKING OR OPENING THE DOOR – this is important as the cake needs to bake right through otherwise it will dip and this is not the desired look!!
7. Check on the cake after 2 hours, if it is still golden, put it back in for another 1/2 hour. If it is a deep brown colour, it’s done. Check after the 1/2 hours point and give it another 15 mins if needed.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 1/2 hour. After this time, take a fork and make 6 light holes in the top in the 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 o clock positions. Then, brush with the measure of brandy (this is your first ‘feeding’ of the cake.)
9. Cover the tin with foil and leave overnight. In the morning, take your cake out of the tin, wrap in foil, then in a tea towel and place in the cupboard until the same time in 7 days when you will unwrap the cake cake ‘feed’ it once more! Continue to do this every 7 days leading up until Christmas.
I’ll post up the icing the cake instructions nearer to the time!