This year, as every year, I made my favourite 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, but 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 favourite 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 readily 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 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.