This year, as every year, I made my favorite Irish Christmas cake. And this year I was incredibly late making it (OK fine, I’m late every year!). But there was one thing which was different this year….and that was that the cake is vegan.
I am vegetarian, not vegan, although I am constantly trying to reduce the amount of dairy in my diet and edge further over to the vegan side of vegetarianism, especially as my son is allergic to eggs and dairy altogether.
So this year, I was determined that I would make a vegan Irish Christmas cake so he could enjoy it too, and begin to associate a traditional food I love with my favorite holiday.
While I really love Christmas cake, there is no question in my mind that the real Christmas cake addicts in my household are my stepson and my husband.
My stepson became quite irritated with handsome hubby when years ago, he returned to our house after a week at his mother’s during the Christmas holiday, looking forward to some Christmas cake.
We searched the kitchen for an hour, before approaching my husband, who admit that he had eaten the entire Christmas cake, “to stop it going off”. How selfless of him.
I’m not sure if it’s because we’re from different countries or because bless his handsome head, he knows nothing about baking, but every Irish person worth their salt knows that Christmas cake has been fed so much alcohol, that if kept tightly wrapped in a tin, it will last for at least 6 months.
Possibly centuries. If there had been Christmas cake in Tutankhamen’s pyramid I am convinced it would have still been edible when they opened it up.
To say nothing of the fact that I had made a massive cake that year, and between the dense fruity cake, the layer of marzipan, and the thick white icing, he may possibly have eaten around three kilos of cake over the span of a few days.
If I had done so, I totally would have gained six kilos, but of course hubby shrugged the calories off his lithe frame – I’m not jealous at all…(Of course, I am!)
Well anyway, my stepson took it a bit personally, especially after he realized that he would have to wait an entire year for more cake, and to this day, every year approaching the festive season, he still reminds husband not to eat all the Christmas cake, in a half-joking-but-not-really way.
The recipe traditionally used by most of my family, and the one I continued to use for years, is Darina Allen’s Christmas Cake Recipe. Truly, if you’re not vegan, head on over and have a look at her recipe because it is the best.
My recipe is a veganized version of hers with some tweaks accounting for taste and ingredient availability. Try and make this cake at least six weeks before Christmas to allow time to feed it properly, and allow it to dry for at least a week before covering it with marzipan and icing.
If you liked this recipe, you should have a look at some of my more recent posts:
- Easy vegan Dal Makhani
- Irish Barmbrack with Whiskey
- Roasted Pear, Pepper & Tomato Soup
- Easy Soft Salted Chocolate Flapjacks
- Quick Herbed Tomato Bread
And as always, I love hearing from you guy so let me know how you got on with the recipe in the comments below, or take a photo and tag @the_fiery_vegetarian on Instagram.
- 120 g glace cherries, quartered
- 50 g roughly chopped almonds
- 50 g ground almonds
- 130 g candied orange slices, chopped up
- 350 g sultanas
- 350 g raisins
- Zest 1 lemon and 1 orange
- 70 ml whisky
- 225 mg softened margarine
- 18 tbsp aquafaba
- 275 g flour
- 1.5 tsp mixed spice
- 2 grated granny smiths
- 225 g brown sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- In a large mixing bowl add the cherries, almonds, chopped orange slices, sultanas, raisins, zest, and add half the whisky (35ml). Mix well and cover with cling film, leaving for at least one hour minimum, and up to 8 hours (overnight).
- In a separate mixing bowl, cream the margarine with the sugar. When well combined, add in the sugar, apple, mixed spice, and mix again. Finally, add in the flour and baking powder and stir - this will be difficult to do as the mixture will be dry.
- Whisk the aquafaba in a separate small bowl until it is frothy all the way through (no liquid left underneath the froth). Add the dried fruit mix to the flour mix and stir. Add the aquafaba to this, a little at a time, folding it in and only mixing enough to distribute the ingredients as evenly as possible - you want to keep some of the froth in your cake to make it a little lighter.
- Tip the mixture into a 9-inch round or square cake tin, (personally I always use a round tin), which has been double-lined with baking paper which is at least one inch higher than the sides of the baking tin. Smooth the top of the cake as much as possible with the back of a wet spoon, and rest a circle of baking paper on the high edges of the paper lining the sides of the tray (to prevent the top of your cake from burning).
- Bake in an oven (in the middle rack) which has been preheated to 160c fan, for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 140c fan and bake for another 2 hours. Check the colour of the cake after it has been in the oven for two hours total, and if you feel it is getting too brown, you can add some foil to the top of the baking paper circle. Do note that this cake is supposed to be very dark.
- Test the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it's done, if not pop it back in the oven for fifteen-minute increments. Take the cake out of the oven and tip the remaining 35ml of whiskey over it, cover the cake loosely with foil (do not remove from the tin) and leave overnight.
- Remove the cake from the tin, but do not remove the wrapping paper, add extra brown paper to cover the cake, then wrap in tin foil, and finally in cling film. If you have an empty biscuit tin to store it in, perfect, if not just keep in a dark place (your cupboard).
- Feed the cake one week later with about two tablespoons of additional whisky after poking several holes in it with a skewer. I like to turn the cake over and alternate between feeding the top and the bottom. Feed once each week thereafter until the week before Christmas when you should not feed it, to let it dry before covering it in marzipan and icing.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1774 Total Fat 165g Saturated Fat 31g Trans Fat 30g Unsaturated Fat 129g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 60mg Carbohydrates 77g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 4g Sugar 50g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 5g