Last-minute Christmas Fruit Cake

Recipes from Gluten-free Holiday by Hannah Miles
Ryland Peters and Small

Gluten-free Holiday cover

This is a great cake to make if you discover at the last minute that you have someone with a wheat allergy visiting for Christmas. As the fruit is soaked in wine and brandy until plump there is no need to ‘feed’ the cake with alcohol, unless you wish to.

For the cake
14 oz. dried mixed fruit
⅔ cup glacé/candied cherries, halved
¾ cup ginger wine
1 tbsp brandy, plus extra for feeding (optional)
2 sticks butter, softened
1 generous cup soft dark brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 generous cup gluten-free self-raising/ self-rising flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaped cup ground almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice/apple pie spice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To decorate
8 oz. golden marzipan
3 tbsp smooth apricot jam/jelly
10 oz. ready-to-roll icing/fondant
icing/confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
red gluten-free sugar candies
9″ round loose-bottomed springform cake tin/pan, greased and lined with baking parchment
holly cutter
ribbon

Gluten-free Holiday fruit cake

Gluten-free Holiday fruit cake – Photography by William Reavell

 

Instructions
Put the mixed fruit, cherries, ginger wine and brandy in a bowl, cover and soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3. Whisk together the butter and sugar, until light and creamy. Whisk in the eggs. Add the flour, baking powder, almonds, cinnamon, mixed spice and vanilla, as well as the fruit and soaking liquid. Mix until incorporated.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin/pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the cake springs back to your touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and place on a wire rack to cool completely. If you want to ‘feed’ your cake, pierce small holes in the top and spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy.

When you are ready to serve, dust a surface with icing/confectioners’ sugar, and roll out the marzipan to a 5 mm/ 1/4 inch thickness. Using the washed and dried base of the cake tin as a template, cut out a 23-cm/ 9-inch circle of marzipan. Gently heat the apricot jam in a saucepan, and brush over the top of the cake using a pastry brush. Using a rolling pin, life the marzipan circle on to the cake and press down.

Roll out 250 g/ 8 oz. of the ready-to-roll icing/fondant and cut out a 23-cm/9-inch circle, using the same method as above. Brush the top of the marzipan with more apricot jam, and place the icing circle on top. Crimp the edges of the ready-to-roll icing and marzipan into pretty patterns. Roll out the remaining icing, and cut out holly leaves. Fix the holly leaves to the top of the cake using a little of the apricot jam and tie a ribbon around the edge of the cake. Add red candy ‘berries’.

The cake will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Alternatively, wrap the un-iced cake in baking parchment and clingfilm/plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Unwrap the cake and ‘feed’ it with several spoonfuls of brandy each week.

Serves 8–12

Lobster in Champagne Vanilla Sauce

Dinner Date - Lobster

INGREDIENTS:
2 Lobster Tails
2 oz butter (salted)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chives

FOR SAUCE:
1/2 cup Champagne
1 tsp vanilla
2 thyme sprigs (fresh)
1 tbsp shallots, diced
1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Split along top of each lobster tail (see photo below) and cut 1/4 inch into the meat.

Mix salted butter, lemon juice and chives. Divide mixture evenly and spread into the openings of the lobster shells. Place the lobster tails into a dish and bake for 25 minutes.

The Champagne Vanilla Sauce can be made while lobster is baking. Combine Champagne, vanilla, thyme, shallots and butter in a pan. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Divide sauce into two small bowls for dipping and serve on plate next to lobster.

Serve lobster with a side of melted butter and a fresh salad.