Gluten-free Christ­mas cake

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Cookery -

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!

Serves: 20

✿ 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

To fin­ish:

✿ 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.

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