Shortbread-stars-christmas

Briony Williams’s tips on making the perfect gluten-free or vegan Christmas cake

If you're vegan or gluten-intolerant, you can still have your cake and eat it. Here's how…

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Briony Williams’s tips on making the perfect gluten-free or vegan Christmas cake

For many of us, Stir-up Sunday is a cherished part of the Christmas build up. While, informally speaking, it represents the last Sunday before the season of Advent, it has come to be associated with the making of Christmas pudding – or Christmas cake, of course.

Rich, moist and fruity, Christmas cake ought to be made ahead of time, and 'fed' with rum, sherry or cold tea each week – a few days before Christmas, unwrap it and ice it. Then you'll have your masterpiece all ready for the big day itself!

As for cake recipes, absolutely no one need miss out – it's incredibly easy to adapt a batter mix to make it vegan or gluten free. Speaking of which, we're treating you to our round up of Christmas cake recipes to suit everyone's dietary needs. Get prepping!

Briony's simple christmas cake 

Made with a medley of dried fruits, plus flaked almonds, eggs and stacks of butter, this moist cake is Briony May's go-to come Christmas. Straightforward to make, just remember to feed it each week!

Gluten-free Christmas cake 

Essentially swapping in gluten-free flour, this cake is perfect for anyone with an intolerance (and, frankly, those without a gluten intolerance won't be able to tell the difference!). Thickener Xanthan gum provides a springy texture, and swapping out a spoonful of flour for ground almonds keeps everything moist.

vegan christmas cake 

Believe it or not, it's easy to make your Christmas cake vegan, too. Use dairy-free spread instead of butter, and swap out each egg for one tablespoon of applesauce for moisture. You could also lose the rolled icing, and cover it with a fine dusting of icing sugar instead.

ICING TIPS

Now that you've made your cake, all that's left to do is ice it!

You'll need: 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. To decorate the cake: for the royal icing, place egg whites in mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add icing sugar and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and combined. Add lemon juice. Beat until it just holds its shape.

2. Cover the cake in royal icing using a palette knife and smooth. Allow the icing to set for 20mins before topping with your chosen decorations.

Cake topper ideas…

Vegans could add these delicious Free From Chocolate Truffles to their cake. But for a spectacular (non-vegan) homemade decoration, try these pretty shortbread stars instead. 

Inspired to make your Christmas cake? Find everything you need – from ingredients to cookie cutters – online, or pop into your nearest store. Happy shopping!