I have always loved my families tradition of having a slice of Christmas cake and a cup of tea mid morning on the days leading up to and out of Christmas day. We've always had quite boozy cakes - which is really tasty when you get to the alcohol filled glace cherries! This year I decided to adapt my mum's Christmas cake recipe to make it gluten free, and using some different fruits and adding nuts (which my dad would never eat!).
750g mixed dried fruit
300g glace cherries
100g flaked almonds
100g golden raisins
100g chopped dates
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
250g brown sugar
1/4C golden syrup
juice and rind of 1 lemon
300g gluten free self raising flour (I used White Wings)
1tsp bi-carb soda
blanched almonds to decorate
extra brandy and/or rum to soak the cake with after cooking
1. Mix the fruit, nuts, spices, vanilla and alcohol together in a large bowl. Cover and leave to sit overnight.
2. Pre-heat oven to 150ºC. Cream together the butter and sugar with electric mixers until light and fluffy.
3. Add one egg at a time, beating in thoroughly. If the mixture curdles you can add a small bit of the flour in.
4. Mix in the golden syrup, jam, lemon juice and lemon rind.
5. Sift in the flour, cocoa, salt and bi-carb soda. Mix well.
6. Mix the fruit into the butter and flour mixture.
7. Line 1 large, or two regular sized baking tins with two layers of non-stick baking paper. Fill tin/s with mixture and tap on the bench to remove any air bubbles.
8. Decorate top/s of cake/s with blanched almonds. Bake for 3 hours, or until cooked. Remove from oven and poke holes over the top with a skewer. Pour over extra brandy and/or rum - depending on how boozy you like your cake! Leave to cool in tin, then remove, wrap in baking paper and newspaper and store in a cool dry place until you're ready to tuck in. You may like to check it during this process to make sure it is moist enough - you can add more alcohol to it if needed. It will keep for months.