If you’ve traditionally stayed away from Christmas goodies because of the abundance of gluten in everything from cakes to biscuits to pies, we’re here to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun anymore. Whether you’re trying to be healthy, have a gluten intolerance, or have celiac disease, these recipes for a Christmas cake, fruit cake and even shortbread are sure to satisfy every sweet tooth.
And if gluten-free dishes have let you down massively in the past, we promise you won’t be disappointed when you bite into these – despite a lack of wheat, they don’t taste odd. Incorporating plenty of fruits, nuts and spices, these are a treat for even the fussiest of diners.
Gluten-free Christmas cake
Prep + cook time 2 hours (+ cooling) makes 6
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (220g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup almond meal
½ cup gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
½ cup (75g) gluten-free self-raising flour
1 quantity of basic fruit mix (see recipe below)
Mixed nuts such as walnuts, pecans, blanched almonds, macadamias, to decorate
¼ cup (60ml) molasses mixed with apple juice and a bit of almond extract
3 metres ribbon
1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line base and sides of six deep 1Ocm (4-inch) round cake pans with three layers of baking paper, extending paper 5cm (2 inches) over the edge of the pans.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in almond meal and combined sifted flours, then basic fruit mix.
3. Spoon cake mixture into prepared pans; smooth the tops. Arrange nuts on the tops. Bake for 90 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
4. Brush tops of hot cakes with molasses-juice mixture. Cover tightly with foil; wrap in clean tea towels. Cool cakes in pans overnight. When cooled, turn cakes out.
5. Decorate cakes with ribbon, if desired.
Basic fruit mix
Prep time 35 minutes (+ standing)
3 cups (500g) sultanas
1 cup (160g) dried currants
1 ¼ cups (185g) raisins, chopped coarsely
2 cups (280g) seeded dried dates, chopped coarsely
¼ cup (50g) red glacé cherries, quartered
½ cup (125g) glacé fruit (such as orange, pineapple, apricot, peach), chopped coarsely
2/3 cup (220g) fig jam
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
1 cup (250ml) non-alcoholic ginger beer (see tips)
½ cup (125ml) molasses mixed with apple juice and a bit of almond extract
1. Combine fruit, jam, rinds and spices in a large bowl.
2. Add ginger beer and molasses-grape juice; stir to combine. Cover; stand at room temperature for 3 to 7 days, or longer if you like, stirring occasionally.
Tips: Basic fruit mix can be used in your favourite Christmas cake or Christmas pudding recipe. Suitable to freeze. It is easier to snip dried fruit with kitchen scissors. If the fruit sticks to the scissors, spray scissors lightly with cooking oil. Use a gluten-free ginger beer if making gluten-free cakes, checking that all ingredients are gluten-free
Gluten-free glacé fruit cakes
Prep and cook time 2 hours (+ cooling time)
250g butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 cup (160g) mixed dried fruit
150g glacé cherries, quartered
150g glacé apricots, chopped finely
150g glacé pineapple, chopped finely
5/4 cup (120g) blanched almonds, toasted, chopped finely
1 cup (120g) almond meal
1 cup (150g) gluten-free plain flour
1 cup (150g) gluten-free self-raising flour
¼ cup (60ml) orange juice with 1 tsp of orange extract.
¼ cup (80g) apricot jam
½ cup (80g) blanched almonds, extra
2 tablespoons orange juice with 1 tsp of orange extract, extra
Glacé fruit for decoration, extra, optional
1. Preheat oven to 150C (130C fan-forced). Line the base and side of two 15cm-round cake pans with one layer of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing paper 3cm above the edge of the pans.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in fruit, nuts, almond meal, sifted flours, orange juice-extract and jam.
3. Divide the mixture between prepared pans; smooth the surface. Decorate the top of cakes with the extra almonds. Bake for about 1 ½ hours or until cooked when tested. Cover top of cakes loosely with foil if overbrowning.
4. Brush the top of hot cakes with orange juice mixture. Cover hot cakes tightly with foil; cool in pans. Serve decorated with extra glacé fruit, if desired.
Suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.
Test kitchen tip: These cakes can be made up to 3 weeks ahead; store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Ensure that the glacé fruit you buy is not processed with wheat-based glucose syrup.
Makes: About 30 fingers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1hour 15 minutes
500g butter, softened
500ml icing sugar plus extra for dusting
500ml gluten-free flour
100ml corn flour
Castor sugar, for dusting
1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture. Mix well. Knead lightly until a soft dough forms. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the fridge and knead lightly to soften the dough. Press into an ungreased 30cm baking tin and prick all over with a fork. Bake 160C for 30minutes. Reduce the temperature to 140C and bake the shortbread for another 45 minutes or until it is a light golden brown colour.
3. Remove from the oven and cool for two minutes. Cut into fingers or squares and dust with castor sugar. Leave to cool slightly. Remove from the baking tin and cool on a wire rack. Dust lightly with icing sugar.
- Recipes courtesy Camera Press