I know, I know, it’s January so we shouldn’t be talking about Christmas any longer. But I wanted to share with you my take on a traditional Christmas cake which I baked on Christmas Eve. It was based on the recipe by Mary Berry from the Great British Bake Off Masterclass (this links to the original recipe), but I changed it a bit to make it gluten-free.
I don’t remember exactly what I used for the filling and how much, but I threw a lot of raisins and sultanas, and different kinds of dried fruit together, and instead of soaking them in brandy (which I didn’t have), I soaked them in Armagnac for 3 days. I also used the zest of a lemon instead of an orange, simply because I didn’t have any.
The recipe also calls for mixed spice, which you can’t buy here in France, so I made my own mix:
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground mace
2 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground ginger
For the cake base I used a traditional banana bread recipe, which I use for lots of cakes. What is nice about this is that there’s a lot less fat in it than in a normal cake, because a large part of the butter is replaced by mashed bananas. So instead of the 250 grams of butter that is used in the normal recipe, I only added about 125 grams, and 3 medium sized mashed bananas.
Apart from this I followed the normal recipe, only I didn’t cover it in royal icing. I used pink marzipan to cover the cake, and I thought it would be a shame to cover it again after that. In the end I’m glad I left it like that, because the cake was already incredibly sweet, and with the icing it would’ve been even worse. It was really tasty though, and I was very happy with the way it turned out, especially since it was my first try.
It is definitely true that this cake is best made a few days before it is eaten. I made it on Christmas Eve, and even though it tasted alright at the time, it tasted a lot better when I had another slice of it a few days later. I’ll definitely be baking this again next Christmas!