Hey Paleo Peeps!
Whatever the reasons it made me think of old memories - my Mum cooking the Christmas cake every year and watching the mixing together of what seemed like hundreds of ingredients. The smell of the zested fruits, the alcohol, the bags of dried fruits and the sticky glacé cherries. The overnight steeping of the ingredients and us children being warned not to make noise for fear the cake would collapse in the middle.The inevitable rows when we couldn't be quiet, and the mad shoving to the car to visit our Grandmother until the cake had finished its 6 hour cooking marathon.
This cake is rich and morish and has strong flavours of brandy. But most importantly it tastes like Christmas and memories.
Traditionally an Irish Christmas cake is made with the fruits outlined, but you can use a combination of any dried fruits - dates, apricots etc)
Try it! It is great immediately and gets even better with age, so bake now for your Christmas guests or as a festive gift for a gluten free or Paleo friend. (That's if you can resist it until then!!)
1.25 cups Sultanas
1.25 cups Raisins
1.25 cups Currants
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 of a fresh nutmeg or 1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2.5 tbsp brandy (optional, but hey it is Christmas!! Use 1 tbsp of vanilla extract in it's place)
2 cups ground almonds/almond meal
Handful chopped almonds
3 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a 20 cm round tin on sides and bottom with parchment paper.
2. Add fruit, juice and grated zests, spice and 1.5 tbsp of the brandy and stir well. If you have the time you can let this sit overnight in a cool dry place, but it is not necessary.
3. Add the eggs, olive oil, ground almonds and chopped almonds and mix well to combine.
4. Pour into the prepared tin and level the top with a spatula.
5. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour 15 to 1 hour 45 checking with a skewer. If it comes out clean it is done.
6. Make several holes in the top of the cake with a skewer and pour the remaining brandy (if using) on top of the warm cake and leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes.
7. Remove gently from tin, remove parchment and leave to cool on a rack.