Festive eats: Midwinter Christmas Cake Recipe
We are hurtling towards the winter solstice. Daylight is fading by 4pm, trees are practically skeletal and there’s hints of woodsmoke and ozone in the air. Snuggling by the fire and flickering candlelight bring warmth and magic into the home.
It’s time to go into hibernation mode… Retreating to bed early with a good book. Getting drunk on nostalgia. Relaxing with friends and loved ones. Frosty walks in winter woolies, and eating nourishing, warming, home cooked foods.
If you appreciate a relaxing baking session then this delicious cake may be just the thing… put on some Christmas tunes and lose yourself in festive heaven!
This seasonal Christmas cake recipe is a quick and easy alternative to the traditional high maintenance currant, sultana and raisin heavy Christmas cake. It can be made in advance and frozen or whipped up on the day you need it.
You pretty much blend all the ingredients together in a food processor and bake.
It’s a dense, fruity and spicy cake. Full of fibre and good fats but relatively low in refined sugar as it’s sweetened with only dried and fresh fruit. Plus it can be made gluten free and dairy free if required.
Versatile too. A cake and a pud. Try a slice with a cup of hot chocolate or warm it up with thick cream on the side and a tot of festive booze.
I used a round 23cm springform tin, lined with baking parchment.
Preheat your oven at 175C (fan)
2 medium Bramley apples (washed, cored and chopped roughly)
200g dates (stoned)
125g dried apricots (I prefer to use the orange apricots for this – they are not as natural as the unsulphured brown ones but they have a much needed tang to undercut the sweet toffee flavour of the dates)
200g very soft unsalted butter
3 large f/r eggs
100g gluten free flour (you could also use spelt or organic unrefined wheat if not g/f)
100g ground almonds
25g milled flaxseed
1 ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 whole cloves and 1 allspice berry – crushed and ground in a pestle and mortar
1 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp fine Himalayan or sea salt
Zest of an organic orange and the juice of half
Toasted almond slivers
Drizzled melted 70%+ dark chocolate (or Maya Gold)
Drizzled warmed coconut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon
Coconut sugar, raw cacao powder and crushed toasted almond sprinkle
Wafer thin orange slices (rind off) – place on top of mixture before cake is baked
Edible glitter for a frosty sparkle
Gold leaf if you are feeling off the charts extravagant!
Wash, chop and core apple – leaving the skin on. Add to the food processor along with the dates and apricots, orange rind and juice. Blitz until finely chopped.
You could also use a hand blender for this but it’ll be a bit more of a challenge at the start to break down the fruit.
Add the softened butter, eggs and spices etc to the processor and blend again. Finally add the flaxseed, flour, ground almonds and baking powder.
Scrape the thick batter into your lined tin and smooth over the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 mins – you will need to keep an eye on it as the edges are prone to catch due to the high fruit content. Check it occasionally, and cover with foil if needed. For the last bit of baking, turn the oven down to 150c for another 15 – 20 mins.
It’s important to let the cake completely cool in the tin before removing the parchment and turning out onto your plate.
Decoration can be as minimal as you wish…depending on your mood and time limit. See earlier topping suggestions..
I like to sprinkle on some toasted slivered almonds and drizzle on 70% dark chocolate.
Have a wonderful Christmas! And just remember to breathe…