Traditional Christmas Cake

I can’t believe December is here, not only is it time for Christmas baking, it’s actually late-ish to be putting together Christmas Puddings and Christmas cakes such as this one! Christmas cakes can be made months in advance as long as they are kept wrapped up well. I made one last year in early December and it was perfect at the end of the month. I added some more rum every week or so up to when we cut it. It was lovely and moist and rich as it should be! The most important part of the whole process for me is the tradition of getting each member of the family to stir when making it. It feels special as everyone has had an input. Many people make a wish when stirring the cake too!  This gluten free and dairy free Christmas Cake recipe is adapted from a recipe my Mum used to use when I was growing up and for convenience I used ready to roll royal icing.

If you are making the cake in advance, wrap with baking parchment or greaseproof paper and then tin foil ad store in  a cool dry place. Once every week or two weeks make some holes with a skewer down into the cake and pour 1-2 tablespoons of rum/brandy/whisky whichever you have used. This will keep the cake moist. Rewrap again each time.

Traditional Christmas Cake - Dairy Free and Gluten Free

Christmas Cake

Traditional Christmas Cake with Almond and Royal Icing. Dairy Free and Gluten Free

Course Dessert
Cuisine Christmas, Irish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 20 people


  • 650 g Mixed Fruit
  • 250 g Raisins
  • 250 g Sultanas
  • 150 g Glacé Cherries
  • 150 g Chopped Almonds
  • 100 g Ground Almonds
  • 150 g Mixed Peel
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 7 Eggs
  • 4 tblsp Rum
  • 400 g Gluten Free Wholegrain Plain Flour I used Free From Fairy Flour
  • 350 g Dairy Free Margarine Room temperature
  • 350 g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 3/4 tsp Nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 140C / 275 F / Gas 1.

  2. You will need a 10" deep round tin or 9" deep square tin. Prepare tin by lining it with two layers of baking parchment/greaseproof paper. 

  3. Beat the eggs and grate the fruit zest. 

  4. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined. It is nice to let each member of the household take turns doing this, it is a tradition we enjoy here. 

  5. Turn out mixture into tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. 

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 4 - 4.5 hours.  

  7. After 3.5 hours check regularly. Check cake by sliding a clean knife into one of the crevices at the top of the cake. Slide knife in diagonally. If it comes out clean then cake is ready. 

  8. Leave in tin to cool completely. 

  9. If you are going to store the cake for weeks or months: 

    Turn out of tin leaving grease proof paper attached to cake. Wrap in more paper and then an outer layer of tin foil and store in a cool dry place. 

  10. If you wish to ice and decorate straight away:

    You must still wait for it to cool completely. Turn out of tin and remove paper. 

Almond Icing / Marzipan

If you are using almond icing you can follow the simple recipe below or alternatively buy a premade one. As always check the ingredients for allergens but any I’ve found have been dairy free.

Almond Icing (Marzipan)

Almond Icing traditionally covers Christmas Cake. Dairy Free and Gluten Free


  • 450 g Ground Almonds
  • 225 g Caster Sugar
  • 225 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 drops Vanilla Extract


  1. Sieve icing sugar, add caster sugar and ground almonds and mix.
  2. Beat the eggs.
  3. Add vanilla, lemon juice and enough of the egg to bind everything together.
  4. Sprinkle icing sugar on a board and turn out mixture and knead until smooth. The boys love getting involved with this bit.
  5. Smear warmed marmalade or apricot jam over the cake, this will help the icing to stick.
  6. Divide icing into two, roll out one half and spread over the top of the cake. Divide remaining icing in two and roll out, use each piece to cover two sides of the square cake. Smooth out with a palette knife or with the back of a spoon.


Royal Icing

Dairy Free Gluten Free Christmas Cake

The Royal icing can be easily made up with this simple recipe. If you are short on time, get the ready to roll kind in the supermarket. Again, ensure you check labels if you are buying ready made.


Royal Icing

Royal Icing is a traditional icing to cover a Christmas cake or heavy fruit cake. It goes well over the almond icing. Dairy Free and Gluten Free.  


  • 675 g Icing Sugar
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 3 tsp Lemon Juice


  1. Sieve the sugar.

  2. Whisk the egg whites until they become frothy.

  3. Fold the icing sugar into the egg whites, one spoon at a time.

  4. Add the lemon juice and stir in.

  5. Beat the icing until it is very stiff and forms peaks. 

  6. Spread over the top and sides of the cake. If you want icing to be smooth shape it with a palette knife. 

  7. Store in a cake tin until ready to use.

  8. Decorate as you wish. 

Traditional Christmas Cake - Dairy Free and Gluten Free



I am joining in with lots of great Free From Bloggers for a FreeFromChristmas challenge. Here are some fabulous recipes which will see you through the festive season and which suit many different diets. Check back as I will update with direct links as the recipes go live.



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Traditional Christmas Cake Dairy Free Gluten Free




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