Yep, it's time to start thinking about making the Christmas cake again. This recipe isn't as dark and flavourful as a really good Christmas cake, but it's not bad considering it has no eggs or butter (and with only two tablespoons of oil, it means you can eat twice as much with half the guilt)! It freezes just fine (and this is my recommended method of storage if making well in advance for Christmas), but does have a tendency to get a little dry and stale if it's not kept in a good airtight container once you start eating it- the one downside of no dairy products. If you don't like a dry cake, then use the oil content in brackets - I worked out this recipe while pregnant and suffering a huge oil aversion and have found the cake just a wee bit too dry unless eaten with custard or soy milk or similar.
I suggest you buy twice the listed ingredients, so you can make two cakes, one for the freezer and one to 'taste test' ;)
2 cups mixed dried fruit
2 Tbsp oil (or 1/2 cup for a moister cake)
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp golden syrup
1 Tbsp treacle
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp bk soda
2 cup boiling water
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp brandy essence
1/2 tsp each of any other essences you have
1/4 cup ground almonds
4 cups flour (50/50 white and wholemeal)
3 tsp bk powder
3 Tbsps brandy or sherry plus 1/4 cup for cooked cake (optional)
Preheat oven to 180c
Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper
Put fruit mix, oil, sugar, golden syrup, treacle and salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl, add boiling water and stir well, leave to sit while sifting flour and baking powder.
Mix in all the other ingredients and bake, check cake after an hour with a skewer, if not cooked in the middle cover the top with baking paper and cook in 15 min increments until done.
Remove from oven pierce well with skewer and pour 1/4 cup of brandy over cake
If you want to ice your cake, Odense brand marzipan is vegan friendly for the almond flavoured layer, I'm still pondering the harder outer layer as I'm not a fan of it anyway.