This is a modification of Nigella Lawson Cake, Nigella Christmas, P180, Nigella Incredibly Easy Chocolate Fruit Cake. I halved it, gluten-free and dairy freed it and removed some of the honey & muscovado sugar. That’s why I used date nectar for the flavour mix. This version has no nuts or seeds, but I’ll post another version in a few weeks which has nuts and seeds and extra chocolate.
For the dried fruit, look for organic and ones that don’t use chemicals to dry them.
I find this a rich wintery cake that can be served warm or cold, with a dairy free cream or ice cream or custard. Or just as it is.
Orange is quite strong, consider halving or leaving it out. How important is orange in a Christmas cake?
The pineapple juice is a substitute for the Tia Maria.
Time: 25 minutes working, 30 minutes cooling, 1hour30min cooking time
Ingredients (My adjustments to some):
125g soft dried prunes
55g dried cranberries
55g dried blueberries
55g dried cherries
50g coconut butter
40g grapeseed (or other high fat) oil
40g date nectar (or other sweeteners like agave nectar or honey)
65ml pineapple juice
juice and zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (100% not the kind with added sugar and stuff)
2 eggs, beaten
50g sorghum flour
25g tapioca flour
40g desiccated coconut
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum/guar gum
Tins and Timing:
The original recipe uses one loose base 20cm wide 9cm high tin and cooks for 1 3/4 – 2 hours @ 150ºC.
I used 2 x 12cm tins and 1 x 16cm tin – all are loose bottomed however with the double lined tins, there was no trouble getting them out. They gives a flatter but given it’s as rich as it is, which I find is fine. The 12cm tins cooked at 150ºC(fan-assisted) for 1 hour, the 16cm for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Method (wording largely Nigella Lawson):
- Lining the cake tins – Double line them with baking/greaseproof paper. Have the paper coming up the sides as well, not just the bottom.
- Put the fruits, coconut butter, grape seed oil, date nectar, pineapple juice, orange juice and zest, cinnamon and cocoa powder into a medium saucepan and gently bring to just before it starts to boil, stirring as the coconut butter melts.
- Turn down the heat and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
- Add the beaten eggs, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum/guar gum. Stir together.
- Spoon the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake (see timings above depending on size and depth). When done, the cake should be firm to touch but still look sticky. If you insert a cake tester or skewer into it, the cake will still be a little gooey in the middle.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
I didn’t decorate but if you were doing something fancy, a little chocolate and glittery balls / stars.
Make ahead: 2 weeks:
Wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Decorate when needed.
Freeze ahead: 3 months:
Wrap as above, Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap the cake and thaw overnight at room temperature. Re-wrap and store as above until needed.