Gluten-free Christmas cake
This crowd-pleasing cake has all the flavours of Christmas, but is lighter than the more traditional fruitcake – and it’s not just for gluten-intolerant guests, either!
✿ 250g (9oz) dried fruit (we used currants, sultanas and raisins)
✿ 100g (3½oz) dried apricots, roughly chopped
✿ 100ml (3½fl oz) brandy
✿ 8-10 dates, roughly chopped
✿ 150ml (5fl oz) boiling water ✿ 200g (7oz) almond flour ✿ 1tbsp cocoa
✿ 1heaped tsp baking powder ✿ 2tsp cinnamon
✿ 1tsp allspice
✿ ½tsp ground ginger
✿ 150g (5oz) mixed nuts
✿ 45g (1½oz) coconut flour ✿ 175g (6oz) butter
✿ 4 eggs, beaten
✿ 6tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)
For the icing:
✿ 4tbsp apricot jam, warmed slightly
✿ 400g (14oz) ready-rolled marzipan
✿ 2 large egg whites
✿ 450g (1lb) icing sugar
✿ 1tsp glycerine
✿ 200g (7oz) desiccated coconut
✿ 6 sheets gelatine ✿ Sprinkles
You will need:
✿ 20cm springform cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper
✿ Sticky tape
✿ 4 water balloons, inflated to the size of a satsuma
✿ 4 wooden skewers or lolly sticks
✿ Cooking-oil spray ✿ Christmas-tree cake topper ✿ ½ metre of ribbon 1 Soak the dried fruit and apricots in brandy overnight. The next day, soak the dates in the boiling water for 20 mins. Preheat oven to 160C/Gas 3. 2 In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, mixed nuts and coconut flour. Melt the butter and allow to cool, then add to the fruit with the eggs. Stir the fruit mix through the dry mixture and add the dates. Spoon into the tin and bake in the oven for 1 hr 20 mins or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. For an indulgently boozy result, feed the cake with 3tbsp of Grand Marnier, once a week, up to two weeks before icing. 3 To ice: Brush your cake all over with the warmed jam. Cover with marzipan and gently ease into place with your hands. To make the royal icing, whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer. Gradually beat in all the sugar to make a stiff icing. Continue beating for 5-10 mins to get a smooth mixture that holds its shape. Add the glycerine and mix well.
4 Spread the icing over the cake using a small palette or round-bladed knife. Make peaks on the top by flicking the knife upwards. Scatter over the desiccated coconut.
5 To make the snow globes, soak the gelatine sheets in cold water, separating them as they soften.
6 After 10 mins, squeeze the water gently from the sheets and add them to a small saucepan with 1½tbsp water. Heat gently until the gelatine has melted. Allow to cool.
7 Tape the balloons on to the lolly sticks. Spray your hands with cooking-oil spray, then lightly pat over balloons. 8 Dip each balloon into the gelatine mixture and leave to set for 10 mins. Dip again, and leave this second coating to dry overnight. Pop the balloons and remove them to release your ‘snow globes’. 9 To assemble the cake, add a few sprinkles in the middle of the top, then add the Christmas-tree topper, sit a ’snow globe’ over the top and finally trim with your chosen ribbon.