Sugar Free Christmas Cake || Paleo
paleo|| gluten-free || dairy free || grain free || soy free || refined sugar free || nut free
This Sugar Free Christmas Cake, which also happens to be grain/gluten and dairy free too (a.k.a. Paleo) has been modeled on my very own Grandma’s Christmas Cake Recipe, which she recorded in 1976. Where the recipe came from before then is anyone’s guess, needless to say, the ingredients are typical of a traditional English Christmas Fruit Cake.
While I don’t recall my Grandma making this recipe, I do certainly recall mum, who had inherited the recipe, making it every year without fail. We’d buy the dried fruit from the local grocery store in town and leave it to soak overnight in Brandy and freshly squeezed citrus juice. The next day mum would make the cake with eggs, wheat flour and lots of sugar, baking it in our old yellow Carmichael wood-fired stove, in the height of Summer. I recall it would take a long time to bake, due to the volume and density of the mixture – an easily memorable moment in a poorly insulated post-war dwelling in the height of Queensland Summer – our kitchen was a sweaty place!
From Sugar Packed to Sugar Free
To make this recipe bearable on the digestive, neurological, nervous, endocrine and lets face it, ALL systems of the body, I’ve been careful to choose dried fruit that is free of preservatives and free of vegetable oils. I’ve completely omitted the added refined sugar, because, for goodness sake, a truckload of dried fruit really is more than enough. Although high in sugar, dried fruit comes with dietary fiber and other minerals, of which refined sugar is completely deficient, hence its inflammatory profile.
Instead of the inflammatory wheat flour, I’ve used coconut flour. I’ve kept the organic/freerange eggs, to which I’ve also added additive-free almond milk (coconut milk would also work) – a necessary addition, given that coconut flour is so dry. I’ve swapped the candied peel for freshly grated citrus zest and I’ve used coconut oil instead of butter. Further, I’ve actually halved the volume of the entire recipe because this Sugar Free Christmas Cake is quite big enough for a family of four.
I hope you like this recipe. It really is yummy and seriously sweet, even with all of the modifications. Despite all the changes, most importantly for me the nostalgic memory of the flavour remains, reinforcing that it’s about the fruit and spices (not all the other added junk) which brings this cake to life.
Preparation time: overnight + 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 hour
- 2 mixing bowls
- 18-20cm round cake tin
- measuring cups and spoons
- 1 tbsp Brandy
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp espresso or cold brew coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 3/4 cup currants
- 1 & 1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup sultanas
- 1/2 cup dried dates, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried sour/tart cherries, roughly chopped
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup slithered almonds
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 5 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius.
- Line a round 18-20cm springform cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
- In one mixing bowl, add all of the dried fruit.
- In a small bowl, combine the: Brandy, maple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, coffee and vanilla. Mix and then pour over the dried fruit. Mix and then cover the bowl with cling film, allowing the fruit to rest and absorb the liquid overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
- The next day, in a large clean bowl, add all ingredients except the flour. Add the dried fruit and mix well.
- Lastly add the flour and stir until just combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the lined cake tin and transfer to the moderate oven.
- Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the Sugar Free Christmas Cake is firm and lightly golden.
- Cool on a wire rack before serving or storing.
Store your Sugar Free Christmas Cake, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.