Christmas fruit cake gluten free

My last Christmas cake recipe was published in 2018, but since then I have made some changes to the ingredient list and the sequence of step by step preparation. I have been baking this particular recipe for 3 years now and we all love it, even kids, who usually do not like cakes with that many dried fruits. I also made changes to the total quantity of batter to accomodate and incorporate the amount of dried fruits, nuts, peel and zest without overloading the batter. This cake is made with 4 eggs instead of 3. It can be baked 2-3 days ahead of consumption, but I like the cake to rest and mature for 5-6 days, before cutting it. No spices and alcohol in this recipe, as we all like light, not dark cakes and avoid heavily spiced cakes to make sure the flavours of all dried fruits and peel come through in full. Feel free to use both spices you love and alcohol for your cake.

Another point I like to make concerns fats in batter. As gluten free flours are not very good at absorbing and retaining fat in their structure, I prefer to use ingredients already containing fat to maintain soft texture. Thus cottage/ricotta cheese and full fat sour cream replace portion half of butter, and almond meal is used as one of the dry ingredients. These ingredients mixture gives dense but soft cake, that can be kept for 2-3-4 weeks without texture change. The flavours, however, develop with time and the cake tastes better and better. The last piece as always is the best!

Ingredients:

dry ingredients

  • 125g coarse rice flour (I used McKenzie’s brand)
  • 190g almond flour
  • 150g sugar (part of this sugar is applied to baking tin)
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 12g baking powder
  • 2 extra tea spoons of rice flour or any other gluten free flour mix for dried fruit mix

wet ingredients

  • 4 large eggs (205-215g without shell)
  • 125g soft, but not melted unsalted butter
  • 125g full fat ricotta cheese (I used homemade cottage cheese)
  • 30g full fat sour cream
  • 40g pure apple puree
  • 2 dessert spoons of French brandy calvados to soak dried fruits (if using)
  • 2 tea spoons of vanilla extract for the batter
  • extra butter to grease baking tin

dried fruits, citrus peel and nuts

  • total weight 950g, the weight of individual ingredients can vary, you can use less dried fruit and nut mixture
  • 200g sultanas (100g regular and 100g large yellow)
  • 100g dried peaches
  • 150g dried apricots (100g+50g, Turkish and South African)
  • 100g cranberry mix (whole and halved, Latvian and Canadian)
  • 50g dried cydonia (Japanese quince, popular in Latvia, I receive it every year for my Christmas cake)
  • 50g homemade orange peel (commercial mix citrus peel variety can be used instead)
  • 100g walnuts
  • 100g dried figs
  • 100g dried mango
  • zest of 1 lemon (I used 2 tea spoons of frozen lemon zest from homegrown lemons)

Total weight of all dried fruits after soaking with orange peel and walnuts 1060g

Cydonia and whole cranberries
Homemade orange peel

Preparation:

in advance

  • if using homemade lemon or orange peel, it can be prepared 1-2 month before making the cake
  • divide all dried fruits in two separate portions – soft and juicy ones that do not need soaking, and really dry ones
  • place the second portion into a glass bowl, add boiling water and rest for 10-15 minutes
  • rinse with boiling water, place dried fruits into a sieve to get rid of excess water
  • place them in a bowl, cover with lid and allow to absorb liquid from the surface for 48-72 hours at room temperature, or up to a week refrigerated
  • roast walnuts on a dry pan on low heat for 7-10 minutes, shake the pan to turn walnuts from side to side

baking a cake

  • generously grease large circle shape tin with unsalted butter, make sure no surface is left dry
  • sprinkle with sugar
  • refrigerate the tin, it will be easier to see any spots left ungreased
  • take soaked dried fruits from the bowl, if they have any residual moisture, dry them on paper towel
  • cut them to desired size
  • mix both portions of dried fruits with nuts and orange peel, cut to size, add 2 tea spoons of rice flour
  • cover the bowl with another, smaller size bowl and shake to cover all surfaces with rice flour
  • mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, put the mixture through a sieve if necessary, add lemon zest
  • use extra large size and wide bowl to mix wet ingredients, as the final batter will be prepared in this bowl
  • combine ricotta cheese, sour cream, and vanilla extract into a fine paste
  • add soft butter and mix it in, for a successful mix ricotta cheese and sour cream have to be room temperature
  • beat/whisk eggs with sugar until triple in volume and pale in colour, it took 6 minutes in a benchtop mixer
  • add apple puree
  • beat for another 2 minutes
  • add 3-4 table spoons of beaten egg mixture to ricotta and butter paste
  • mix with a whisk
  • add all the rest of egg and sugar mixture, mix to it in with a whisk to homogeneous texture
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  • mix them in with spatula, the batter will have thick texture, let the batter rest for 3-5 minutes
  • put aside 2-3 serving spoons of batter
  • get baking tin from the fridge
  • working with small and soft spatula spread part of reserved cake batter in a thin layer on a bottom of the tin
  • add the mixture of dried fruits, peel and nuts to the main portion of the batter
  • carefully mix everything together, the final mixture will be very thick and will resemble dried fruits lightly smeared with batter, than proper batter with filling, that’s how it suppose to be
  • spoon the mixture into the tin, press it down to avoid cavities in the cake
  • use portion set aside to cover the top of the batter, all pieces of dried fruits should be hidden, lowered into a batter
  • careful placement of the cake batter into the tin is half a success in getting nice and neat cake slices
  • heat fan forced oven to 180C
  • place the pan into a middle shelf
  • reduce temperature to 170C
  • bake for 25 minutes
  • lower the temperature to 150C with fan, bake for another 45-60 minutes, time will depend on your oven
  • my baking regime 170C – 25 min 150C – 40 min 150C 30 min covered with baking paper
  • fully baked cake will be dense and hard to the touch
  • get the cake out of the oven and rest it at least 10 minutes in a tin
  • make sure the cake moves freely in a tin, it might take more time for the crust to be fully separated from the tin
  • turn the cake over to a wire rack, lined with baking paper
  • return the cake to rest into a switched, but still warm oven
  • if the crust became wet, turn the oven to 150C and dry the crust for 7-10 minutes
  • leave the cake in the oven overnight
  • the next day transfer the cake into a container, leave baking paper, it will make it easier to transfer the cake later if necessary
  • you can use alcohol at this stage, just use drops on top of cake crust, it will not leave any traces
  • dust the cake with icing sugar as a final decoration step
  • let the cake rest at least 1-2 days before cutting, it will be even better after 5-7 days

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6 thoughts on “Christmas fruit cake gluten free

  1. Yummy Yummy I love Christmas cake and everything around it. Right now, 2022 Christmas is coming. And here in Brisbane Australia where I am It is so alive. All decorated and full of Christmas things. Happy Christmas to you 🙂

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