My Dairy-Free Christmas Cake (Mary Berry inspired)

By making my own Christmas cake, I can cater for my own needs. In my family, we don’t really like things such as almonds, iced cherries or currents in our cakes (Christmas or not) and my daughter is dairy intolerant. So, I looked for a recipe which could give me an idea of basic Christmas cake ingredients and quantities and found Mary Berry’s Christmas Cake recipe. I tweaked it a little and made the perfect Christmas cake! I have decided to post this recipe in my blog to make sure that I never lose it!

  • 200g of raisins, 200g apricots, 200g dried prunes, 1 tin of cherries, all fruit chopped (and cherry stones removed too of course!) to the same size as that of raisins. You could easily add another 200g of other dried fruit if you wanted, it would not affect the recipe.
  • 200ml (150ml and 50ml) sherry
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange or (even 2), it gives the cake a nice tangy flavour.
  • 250g dairy-free margarine (or butter if you are not trying to make a dairy-free dessert)
  • 250g muscovado sugar (light or dark)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tb black treacle
  • 250g of flour (an equal mixture of self-raising and plain)
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice

Cake covering:

  • about 3 tb apricot (or plum) jam (slightly warm makes it easier to spread)
  • marzipan – I used a good quality packet of ready-to-roll marzipan. Tip: use any left-over royal marzipan to make little figurines (trees, flowers, animals) to decorate the cake.
  • royal icing – ready-to-roll icing makes it a very easy job and any left-over can be used to make decorations.

I used a 23cm diameter baking tin. A narrower one would make the cake higher but would need less marzipan and royal icing.

Place all dried fruit in a saucepan with 150ml sherry and orange zest. Heat up the saucepan and stir until most of the sherry has been absorbed by the fruit. While cooling down, prepare the tin with two layers of baking paper (or greased greaseproof paper). Preheat over to 140 degrees Celsius, 120 degrees fan or gas 1.

Place margarine/butter, sugar, eggs, treacle on a large bowl and beat well. Add flour and mixed spice and mix thoroughly until blneded. Stir the soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 4 – 41/2 hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours and, if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool before removing from the tin.

Sprinkle the remaining 50ml more sherry over the cake. Spread the top of the cake with the apricot or plum jam (make sure there are no lumpy bits otherwise the surface of your cake will not look very flat at the end) and carefully cover with your marzipan as per packet instructions. Cover the cake with a clean kitchen towel overnight or up to 24 hours to let the marzipan dry a little.

Cover the marzipan with the rolled royal icing as per packet instructions and decorate as you want. As you can see below, I used my left-over marzipan and royal icing to make small decorative objects to be placed on top of the cake.

The cake contains 8,000 kCal. So, if you cut it into 24, the portion will have 333 kCal.

picture of Christmas Cake with marzipan and royal icing covering and decorations

Fruit cake with marzipan and royal icing covering

raisins, apricots, cherries, prunes

raisins, apricots, cherries, prunes