Back today with Jo from Nurturing Kitchen for her second post of the Inspired by Nature Series (if you missed post one, you can read it here). Jo would like to share with us one of her favourite seasonal recipes, a ‘No-Bake Christmas Cake’. For all of you that are yet to make your Christmas Cake, this recipe is perfect.
Over to Jo…
“Not only is this Christmas cake (in my opinion and most people who have tried it) better than any baked version I’ve tried, it takes literally a few minutes to prepare after a few hours of pre-soaking. Simply, soak your fruits, bind with almond flour and spices, press, decorate and serve. No waiting, no baking, no stress.
I’ve been making this cake now for a few years, and it makes its way onto our table around Christmas time, although it is a deliciously versatile cake which you can serve up at any time of year.
I have two versions. The ‘naughtier’ one – soaked in brandy, and the less naughty one – drenched in zesty citrus juices. Both are equally amazing!
So for you fellow last-minuters, I give you the ‘No-bake Christmas Cake’. Full of flavour, intensely rich and crammed full of health-boosting ingredients. No one will realise they’re getting a dose of their 5 (or should that be 10?!) a day eating this, and you can forget about any after-dinner bloating or fatigue. Completely gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free, this has to be the perfect Christmas supper cake to add to the smorgasbord of festive treats.
Now all you have to do is find the ingredients, leave them to soak over night, and set aside a few minutes on the big day to put it all together. More time for family games, sloe-gin sipping and watching old family movies on Christmas Eve.
A few notes on the recipe… You can use any combination of dried fruits you have to hand. My suggestions are based on what I usually have in my pantry but you can make up the same amount with any you have. I make the almond flour by grinding whole almonds in my food processor until fine, although bought ground almonds work fine too. I’ve only made the boozy version of this using brandy, but I’m sure that rum, sherry or even whisky would work fine too. The icing I made for this cake was to make it look festive with minimal fuss. I’ve also made little marzipan balls, and decorated the top with extra dried fruit and whole nuts before, so feel free to decorate as you like. Once made, the cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but can also be frozen.”
NO-BAKE CHRISTMAS CAKE
- 300g figs
- 300g dates
- 300g raisins
- 50g goji berries
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 oranges and 1 lemon or 1 orange and 100ml brandy, rum or sherry
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
- 4 tbsp cacao butter, melted (or 5 tbsp coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup xylatol (or powdered sugar if you don’t mind a little sugar)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- Desiccated coconut to sprinkle
To make the cake…
- Get a large bowl and measure out all of the dried fruit. I buy my figs and dates whole, so I cut them into smallish pieces at this stage too.
- Give them a good mix, then add the spices.
- Now take either your oranges and lemon, or orange and booze of choice.
- Add the zest of one orange to the bowl, plus the citrus or juice of one orange plus the brandy/ sherry/rum.
- Give it all a good mix. You should see a small pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl, which will be soaked up by the fruits overnight.
- Give it a stir last thing before bed and first thing in the morning.
- The next day, the fruit should have plumped up and the liquid have all been absorbed.
- Spoon half of the fruit mixture into a food processor along with the almond flour.
- Process until the fruit is broken down and the almond flour is well combined to make a stiff dough. If it seems to sticky, add a little more almond flour.
- Remove from the food processor and add it back to the chopped fruits as well as the walnuts, mixing well (I use my hands) to create a stiff ball of cake dough.
- Line a 9″ cake tin with cling-film and press the mixture into the tin, using your fingers to make sure the edges are level, and press the middle down with your palm.
- You can then turn the cake straight out onto a plate, or refrigerate until ready to serve to make it slightly more solid.
- You are now ready to decorate it as you choose.
To make the icing…
- Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, adding a little water or nut-milk if needed.
- Pour the icing into a piping bag or sandwich bag with a tiny corner cut off.
- Pipe your design on top, then sprinkle with desiccated coconut so that it sticks to the icing only.
- Transfer to the fridge for the icing to harden before serving.
All photos courtesy of Jo Balfe.