Sunday, 6 December 2015

Lily's Dairy-Free Christmas Cake

Every year for as long as I can remember, my Grannie made a Christmas cake especially for me and my sister. This was such a treat for two reasons, one because we could actually have a piece of cake like everybody else at tea time, and also because the whole cake was just for us! Since returning from Paris, I have been making the most out of having an oven again and thought I'd quite like to try a new spin on my Grannie's original recipe! I wanted to share something that everyone can now enjoy with their family and friends. It is the perfect thing for anyone allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts, whilst happening to be refined sugar free too! For extra darkness and richness, I have added blackstrap molasses, and have swapped dark brown sugar for a mixture of honey and maple syrup. I've also added a couple of other ingredients, like the stewed apple (basically apple puree!) to allow more moisture in the cake. If you'd like to see how I make this cake at home, click on the link below!

Lily's Dairy-Free Christmas Cake

dedicated to my brilliant Grannie

300ml of black tea
3oz/ 85g of honey
2oz/ 56g of maple syrup
1/2 a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
2oz/ 56g of coconut oil
1 large cooking apple (stewed)- roughly 2.5 oz/ 70g
6oz/ 170g of currants
6oz/ 170g of sultanas
zest of 1 orange
3 teaspoons of mixed spice
1 tablespoon of chia seeds (mixed with 3 tablespoons of water)

10oz/ 283g of spelt flour
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar/ white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Begin by mixing the chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and leave aside while it forms a jel-like consistency.

Then peel and chop up the cooking apple into small-ish chunks. Allow this to stew with a little water for about 15 minutes while you prepare everything else.

In a large saucepan, drizzle in the honey, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup and coconut oil. Scatter in the currants, sultanas along with the orange zest, mixed spice and 300ml of brewed black tea.

Simmer very gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 20 minutes, your kitchen will smell of Christmas (what's more to love?!) and the dried fruit will have absorbed all the rich and dark flavours. Leave this aside to cool...if you are impatient like me and my Grannie, fill up the sink with cold water and leave the saucepan bobbing around until the mixture is completely cool.

Once cool, slowly fold in half of the spelt flour into the saucepan. Then, in a jug or even a mug, mix together the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar. Add the frothing mixture to the saucepan and then fold in the other half of the spelt flour. It is important not to over-stir the mixture, otherwise you will end up with a tough cake!
Clearly felt the need to smell the blackstrap molasses before it went in to the pot!

Pour out the mixture into a lined circular cake tin, evenly distributing it outwards. Cut another sheet of greaseproof paper to cover the cake (this will prevent the sultanas and currants in the cake from burning on the top!).

Bake for 55 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Allow to cool (if you can wait) and enjoy with a nice pot of tea, and maybe your family and friends too!