My mother has always made a Christmas cake.
Every year in late October or early November she would ‘throw it together’ (she’s not a great fan of baking!), pop it in the Aga then let it marinate for two months in the scullery, liberally dousing it with alcohol every week. It would then be my job to decorate it and- no matter how many people came to our Christmas- solely my father’s job to eat it. Yes, despite the making of the Christmas Cake being one of our beloved family traditions and adhered to every year… no one actually likes it. Other than my poor father. Any visitor in January would leave the house having large chunks of the stuff in scrunched up silver foil pressed upon them. “It’s horrible,” My mother would say, handing it over with a smile, “You’ll love it.”
Fortunately this recipe is not for THAT cake.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, it’s been 10 years since I stopped being able to eat starches (carbs of any kind) and I’m now only able to eat low-FODMAP food which, whilst excellent in relieving painful symptoms, is pretty darn restrictive. But I’m a lover of tradition and have to make a Christmas cake- although this new recipe is so great I’ll actually eat it!
I’ve been fiddling in the kitchen for quite a while to create a recipe that allows me to partake in the Christmas fun… and overindulgence! This recipe is so special in fact that you can serve it to all of your guests- those with a dairy allergy, those who are gluten free and even diabetics. Of course, my own diabetic grandmother just ate sugary puddings and gave side eye to anyone who tried to stop her. But using this recipe you’ll have a clear conscience when she eats most of the cake.
600g dried fruit- mix up your faves!
200g ground almonds
3 tbsp olive oil
3 organic eggs
Juice of 1 Orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
½ tsp nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 150 C / 300 F
Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper lining the sides and the base. Adjust cooking times if your tin is larger or smaller.
Combine dried fruit, spices, vanilla, orange juice, olive oil and eggs.
Add ground almonds and walnuts and mix through.
Spoon batter into your baking tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean, if not bake for another 30 minutes.
Cover the top with cling film to prevent over-browning after 1 hour.
Cool, then remove from the tin and store in an airtight container.
Decorate with your wildest Christmassy imaginings!
As you will see in the video above, I was a dunce and forgot to chop up my dried figs before mixing the fruit together. Do not be that person. Chop up your fruit.
The high ratio of fruit means you don’t need to add extra sugar. I used raisins, coconut, mulberries and figs because they’re all low FODMAP but you can thrown in some apricots or dates if that’s your thing… maybe even goji berries if you’re after a superfood kick and for some reason believe Christmas should be about being healthy.
I like organic eggs because they have a better consistency, genuinely taste great and add a lovely warm colour to everything but if you can’t stomach forking out the extra expense then just use 3 large eggs of whatever brand you normally buy.
This cake is amazing when served with custard or ice cream (two of my absolute favourite things) in front of some good Christmas Day TV. Equally, it will store in the fridge for at least two weeks- possibly up to a month if you can keep your hands off!- so it’s great for seasonal afternoon visitors. Trust me, I have a lot of aunts and they will all be served this cake.