Gluten-free Christmas cake

Karen shares her modern twist on a classic with her gluten-free Christmas cake recipe. A beautiful tropical fruit and nut topping takes the place of the usual icing and marzipan.

First published in 2015

I love a moist, fruity Christmas cake, resplendent with frosted icing, almond-rich marzipan and not forgetting the little snowmen or Father Christmas figures that adorn a traditional cake. But that can be its downfall sometimes – it’s just too heavy and loaded with excess sugar. It’s a shame when a freshly baked fruit cake comes out of the oven smelling of booze, butter, spices and vine fruits only to be covered, and I often think it’s much better to leave it ‘naked’ and not bother with all the sugar-coated extras.

So, what is needed is a new style of Christmas cake, one that looks the part – still a beautifully extravagant centrepiece but more refined, where the fruit is allowed to shine and take centre stage. It has to be special enough for the big day, but in a fruitier way! Enter my gluten-free Christmas cake recipe, topped with gently baked tropical fruits as well as assorted nuts and a honey glaze. Tie a large festive ribbon around the cake and voila, you have a very special cake that all of your family and friends can eat.

It looks beautifully rich and indulgent with its fruit and nut topping, but it’s still Christmassy enough for the festive table (with a glass of sherry perhaps)!




Gluten-free Christmas cake



Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Butter and line an 18cm (7”) round cake tin with greaseproof paper
Sift the flour, ground almonds and spices together and set to one side
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then add the treacle and rum
Beat in the eggs gradually with a tablespoon of the flour mixture each time, until the eggs and flour have all been incorporated
Add the fruit and mix with a wooden spoon until it is all incorporated into the cake batter
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top with the back of the spoon
Bake for 1 3/4–2 hours, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake
Allow to cool in the tin for 15–20 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack
When the cake is cool, brush the top with some runny honey and arrange the mango pieces, pineapple pieces and nuts on top. Brush with remaining honey for the glaze. Tie a large festive bow around the cake and serve
First published in 2015

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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