Stir it up!

Gluten Free Christmas Cake with Amaretto Soaked Fruit | Ceri Jones Chef

On Sunday 22nd November 2015 households up and down the country will be taking part in Stir-up Sunday; the last Sunday before advent when traditionally Christmas pudding and cake will be stirred up ready for Christmas.  I think this is such a lovely tradition, and one that has existed since Victorian times.   Christmas cake and pudding actually benefit from being made in advance, thanks to the heaps of dried fruit in them.  I can’t quite imagine wanting to eat a standard sponge chocolate 6 weeks after it has been made, can you?

This was the first time I tackled a gluten free Christmas cake, and tried it out on many folk last year; an afternoon tea for a local fitness group, a Christmas stall at a local market, and finally on my family at Christmas.

I couldn’t just invent a recipe out of thin air so turned to Delia Smith; the domestic goddess my Mum always looked to for guidance.  I used her faithful Christmas cake that I think is the same one my Mum and subsequently my sister have been making for years.  I adore the flavours of rich almonds, so it seemed fitting to include amaretto in the recipe instead of Delia’s suggestion of brandy.

Christmas Cake with Amaretto Soaked Fruit {gluten free}

Dried fruit soaking in Amaretto

Other adaptations included replacing flour with a blend of buckwheat flour, ground almonds and a touch of tapioca flour,  subbing soft brown sugar for coconut sugar (or any unrefined brown sugar), black treacle for molasses and I kept Delia’s idea for blanched almonds as delightful simple decoration instead of a overly sugary marzipan and white icing finish.

This gave an incredibly rich and moist cake – a little really does go a long way.

Here are some other Christmas cake recipe ideas from the healthy, to the gluten free to the traditional – there’s something for everyone!

  • Another amaretto cake, but gluten & dairy free from The Free From Fairy
  • A grain & gluten free cake, using only ground almonds as the flour from The Healthy Chef
  • A gluten free recipe using apples, medjool dates and only a little granulated sugar to sweeten from Jamie Oliver
  • A very traditional cake with royal icing from Supper in the Suburbs
  • And the goddess herself a classic recipe from Delia Smith!

What will you be stirring up this Sunday?

Christmas Cake with Amaretto Soaked Fruit {gluten free} Natural Kitchen Adventures

And for a final festive touch: add some fancy ribbon around your cake

Gluten Free Christmas Cake with Amaretto Soaked Fruit

5.0 from 5 reviews
Traditional Christmas Cake with Amaretto Soaked Fruit {gluten free}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A decadent, all natural ingredients gluten free christmas cake full of rich dried fruit soaked in amaretto, ground almonds, buckwheat flour, molasses and unrefined sugar.
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: British Traditional
Serves: 30
  • 450g currants
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g raisins
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50g dried apricot, diced
  • 100mls amaretto
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 25g tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 175g coconut palm sugar / rapadura or other unrefined sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbs molasses, warmed
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon, 1 orange
  • To top the cake: 50g whole blanched almonds
  • You’ll need a greased and lined (base and sides) 20cm deep cake tin
  1. Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the amaretto. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight to plump up.
  2. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 140°C.
  3. Sift the flours, spices and salt together – be sure to break up any almond clumps – then add the sugar, eggs, warmed molasses, and butter. Beat with an electric whisk until smooth.
  4. Fold in the soaked dried fruit, chopped nuts and add the grated lemon and orange zest.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the lined tin and spread the top smooth with a spoon or spatula. Finally, decorate the top of the cake with the blanched almonds.
  6. Place a square of parchment with a 50p size hole in the idle over the cake and bake in the lowest part of the oven for 4 hours. The cake will be done when it feels springy to touch.
  7. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes then remove and place on a rack to cool fully.


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