Gluten-free, lactose-free and reduced sugar diets are hot topics these days. The drive for ingredients to suit a large number of food intolerances comes from consumers and with such a large choice in the market, guests no longer have to feel they are a burden to their hosts and be apologetic about their intolerances.

Adjusting recipes to make them suitable for everyone is much easier than making special dishes to cater for individual requirements. These Christmas recipes are free from lactose and gluten and are sweetened with unrefined sugars in reduced quantity.

Photos: George Aquilina, CJ Baldacchino

Christmas Cake with olive oil

You will need:
500g dried fruit (mix of currants, raisins, sultanas)
250g ground almonds or almond flour
50g nuts of your choice (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
50g cherries
2 apples
200g dates
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp apple organic vinegar
Grated zest of an orange
3 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
50g flaked almonds to sprinkle on the surface before baking.
You will need a 20cm round cake tin

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cover the cake tin with baking paper or brush the tin lightly with olive oil.

Peel and grate the apples and keep aside.

Place the eggs, grated orange zest, olive oil and apple organic vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well with a fork until they are well blended. Add the grated apples and mix again.

Chop the dates into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the ground almonds, nuts, cherries, spices and vanilla and finally the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Toss the mixture so that it is consistent and all the fruit and nuts are well coated.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Use a large metal spoon to fold in the mixture gently until it is consistent; do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Check the cake after 50 minutes of baking time as each oven is different.

Once the cake is cooked all the way through, remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the container.

Store the cake in an airtight container preferably in the fridge if you are keeping the cake for more than a few days as it contains no refined sugar that guarantees preservation.

This is a gluten-free and lactose-free recipe. The cake has no added refined sugar, no butter and no flour. The texture should be the same as a regular Christmas cake. If you like very sweet cakes, add 2-3 tbsp of stevia to the ground almond mix.

My ingredients come from Lamb Brand

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