Christmas Fruit cake

  • Preparation time 30 mins  
  • Cooking time 2 1/2 hours

Vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian

I cannot ever remember since I was 18 years old not making my own Christmas cake. My dad as a professional baker, baked at least 50 cakes from home every year after early retirement. Nearly everyone in the street I grew up in had a cake made by my dad. I remember standing as a child, on a stool helping to stir by hand huge bowls of the mixture. So the aroma of Christmas cake mixture holds fond memories.

Last year was the first time I made a vegan and gluten-free Christmas cake and although I was pleased with it, there is always room for improvement. This recipe is the second cake I have made so far, adapting as I go.

Make it your own though, add the fruit that your family love. As long as you have the same measurements, that’s all that matters. The same with the alcohol, some prefer brandy, some port. I go for really good whisky. The only things set in stone are as follows.

  • Leave to cool in the tin
  • Soak your fruit for the minimum of 24 hours
  • Double line your tin
  • Feed once a week with the alcohol of your choice. This means just drizzling a few tsp over the top of the cake.
  • Wrap your cake up so it is airtight

This cake is so delicious and you do not miss the eggs at all. For me, It is

  • Packed with fruit
  • Moist
  • Delicious
  • Rich

Traditionally this cake is made ahead of time, giving it a chance to mature. Its is then brushed with apricot jam and covered with my nemesis, marzipan. Next is covered in fondant icing, then decorated with Christmas scenes.


For the alcohol-soaked fruit

  • 125g of sultanas
  • 125g of currants
  • 125g of raisins
  • 100g of dried cranberries
  • 85 g of glace cherries
  • 100 g of candied mix peel or replace with extra dry fruit
  • 100 ml of rum, brandy or whisky
  • Zest of 1 Orange


  • 350 g of gluten-free plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 175 g of Dairy-free butter
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 100 g of dark brown sugar
  • 75 g of light brown sugar
  • 40 g of ground almonds (add another 2 tbsp of flour if nut-free
  • 1.5 tsp of mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3tbso of hot water.
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 120ml of non-existent dairy milk of your choice
  • 30 g of black treacle
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 50 g of chopped flaked almonds (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • choice of alcohol for feeding the cake


  1. The first stage is to pre-soak the fruit in your choice of alcohol for a few days before you make the cake. I would say that it needs at least 3-5 days.

Chop and weigh out all the fruit into an airtight storage box. Pour in the alcohol, stir and seal. Stir daily to incorporate the alcohol into the fruit.

2. When it is time to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 130-140C. Grease and double line an 8 inch round or an 8×5 inch rectangle baking tin with baking parchment. Mix together the flax seeds and water and set to one side.

3. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter, sugar, treacle and zest until fluffy. Add in the flax seed mixture and make mix again.

4. In another bowl, sieve together the flour, xanthan gum, spices and bicarbonate of soda.

5. Tip the dry ingredients into the whisked mixture, along with the ground almonds, milk and lemon juice. Stir until well combined. Do not over mix.

6. Then add the chopped nuts and soaked fruit along with soaking liquid. Mix it well together.

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 21/2 to 3 hours. Every oven is different. Test after 2 1/4 hours. Test with a skewer. If it comes out clean then the cake is done.

Leave to cool in the tin. It is slightly more delicate so do not try and remove while it is still warm. Once cool, remove from tin and paper, prick over the top with a skewer or cocktail stick and feed with 2 tbsp of alcohol. Wrap up in foil and feed the cake with alcohol weekly. Do not feed for about a week before you ice or decorate, as you want the cake dry.

Once ready marzipan or ice as you want. I will be putting up some pictures of step by step decorating.

PS: If you like this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page I love seeing your versions of my recipes. Or I would love to hear your comments

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