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A simple, tasty vegan Christmas cake recipe

I always used to think of fruit cake as one of those things adults ate. As a kid, I could never get the appeal. Now I'm fairly ancient, the idea of a slice of Christmas cake and a glass of sherry sounds like festive heaven.

I've been vegan a few years now (cough ancient vegan cough), but I think this might be the first year that I've seen readymade Christmas cakes on the shelves. You can get a traditional one for £12 or, if you're feeling spendy and you've got nearly £20 to spend, there's a lime and coconut one. I don't much fancy dropping that much cash on either, so I've been making my own.

Making a Christmas cake can look a bit daunting, but it's actually pretty simple. I've never had one fail yet, so if I can do it, you definitely can. If you're one of those bakers that like to watch expectantly through the oven door to watch your cake rise, then have patience: this one takes a while to get there, but when it does, it's a beauty.

We've managed to miss stir-up Sunday - originally the day for making your Christmas pudding, but now the day a lot of people seem to use for baking Christmas cakes too - but don't let that put you off. Christmas cakes keep really well, and you can feed them from now til Christmas if you fancy.

I've not included instructions for feeding the cake, but if you want to add some extra flavour to your bake, feeding is the way to go. Feeding a cake is the wonderful custom of pricking holes in a cake with a skewer and then occasionally dribbling in a tablespoon of your favourite booze. Traditionally, brandy is the tipple of choice for Christmas cake, but I reckon most dark spirits would work - this year, I'm going for either spiced rum or amaretto.

I've not included instructions for icing the cake either, because Mr Flicking the Vs loves Christmas cake but hates marzipan. Here's a video for icing with a minimum of fuss, or this one's a bit more involved.

350g self raising flour
150g brown sugar
1tsp sodium bicarb
pinch salt
400g sultanas
50g mixed peel
75g glace cherries
1tsp mixed spice
One cup of tea
Half tsp ground ginger
A pinch or two of black pepper
One medium apple, peeled and grated
One medium carrot, peeled and grated
75g vegan spread, plus extra for greasing
100mls non-dairy milk

How you do it
Before you're planning on making the cake, soak your sultanas in black tea. You can leave it for an hour, or overnight, or however long you're in the mood for.
When you're ready to make the cook, preheat oven to 160C and grease a cake tin.
Put flour, sugar, bicarb, salt, mixed spices, ground ginger and pepper into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Rub vegan spread into the dry mix until you have something that looks a bit like breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sultanas, peel, glace cherries, carrot and apple and mix thoroughly.
Once everything is well mixed, add the milk and you should have a cake batter.
Pour into the tin, and then cook for 1 hour at 160C.
Turn the heat down to 140C and cook for another half an hour.
Turn off the oven and leave for another half an hour.

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  1. I kept telling myself I would make Christmas cake this year but time is getting pretty tight - your cake sounds lovely and looks very perfect - probably nicer than those ones on the shelves! I love Christmas cake more and more as I get older too - though I like mine with nice cuppa tea.

  2. I always kinda liked fruit cake even as a kid - a sweet treat is a sweet treat, right? Your vegan version looks awesome! and simple enough for me to make too. :-)


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