This gluten free Christmas cake is good enough to share with family and friends.
Yes, you too can enjoy a real home baked cake that is safe and delicious even if you have to follow a gluten free diet. You will also find instructions for decorating your cake, beneath the recipe.
Start preparing for making your gluten free Christmas cake the day ahead, by soaking the dried fruit in the liquid of your choice, cover and leave overnight or longer. This helps to preserve the cake and ensures that it will remain moist.
Prepare an 8 inch round cake tin, by greasing and lining with greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven, to 160C, 325F or Gas mark 3.
Sift the flour, salt, spices and cocoa powder into a large bowl.
In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the are light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs.
Add the orange or lemon rind, ground almonds, dried fruits (including any liquid) and the flour mixture into the sugar, butter and egg mixture. Beat together well.
Spoon into the cake tin, level the top and give the cake tin a gentle tap on the counter to disperse any air bubbles.
The cake should then be baked for around 3 hours, or until a fine skewer inserted into the middle of the cake is clean when removed.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in its tin for at least an hour.
Turn out the cake onto a wire cooling rack, leaving the greaseproof paper on if you are going to store it.
When the cake is cold, wrap it in baking foil, ensuring that there are no gaps, making the cake airtight, or place in a tin. It can then be stored in a cool place for up to 2 months.
During the storage time, you can prick the cake with a skewer dipped in spirits every now and then to add to the boozy flavor.
For the most successfully decorated cake, a passion for decorating and plenty of time is required. A rushed job shows, and the chances are you will not be satisfied with the end result.
In order to establish a perfectly flat, even looking cake, you will need to cover it first with marzipan or almond paste. You will find my recipe for marzipan on the almond flour page.
Warm 4 tablespoons of apricot jam (jelly) with 1 tablespoon of water in a small saucepan, then push trough a sieve too remove any pieces of fruit.
Remove all the wrappings from the cake (foil and greaseproof). Choose the smoothest "face" of your cake (often the bottom) to decorate. Place it smooth side up in the center of your cake board, and brush it with the apricot glaze.
Dust your work surface with icing sugar, and roll out the marzipan thinly. Use the tin you cooked the cake in, and a palette knife to mark out a circle of marzipan the correct size to fit on the "top" of the cake. Roll the rest into a long rectangle to wrap around the sides.
Apply the marzipan to the cake pressing it into place with your hands. Press it together where the top and sides join to eliminate any gaps. Take the sides right down to the board, effectively sealing the cake from the air entirely.
At this point you can no longer add any extra liquid to the cake with a skewer or you would break the seal.
You can then leave the cake until you are ready to add the icing of your choice. This could either be ready to roll icing from the store (ensure it is gluten free!) or your own royal icing.
The simplest treatment is to pile royal icing on top and use a wet palette knife to pull it up to form a snowy effect.
You may like to smooth an area with the wet knife and stand a Santa, some trees, or a reindeer or two on the top.
You can push some plastic holly into the top of the smooth sides, or make some leaves our of colored marzipan, and lastly tie a festive ribbon around your gluten free Christmas cake to finish it off.