Oh my goodness it was so much fun to make these Mini Christmas Cakes as part of our free from gangs #FreeFromChristmas collaboration. There’s two amazing stories linked to this bake…if you can bear to wait read on to find out more if not click above to jump straight to the recipe.
Why I developed my totally free from Mini Christmas Cakes
Right! First story, my sister is a TA in a local primary school and she’s been pestering, sorry, asking the family to save up mini baked beans tins for ages now. She had the idea she was going to make Mini Christmas Cakes with her Reception Class children. The only problem was to ensure that the cake mix was safe for all her children to bake with. That’s where I came in. I gave Nicola advice on how to make a vegan cake, she had no issue with the gluten free bit due to catering for Bethany for 8 years now.
When Nicola actually showed me the recipe we were adapting she said ‘not sure if you’ve come across this blogger’…it was only Grace from Eats Amazing who’s a honorary member of our free from gang! I had to giggle and when Nicola baked the cakes successfully I contacted Grace that same day and asked for permission to use her recipe and blog about the adapted version. Grace was pleased as punch and said yes!
Now! I do like to make life a wee bit more difficult for myself and it would seem that I needed to take this challenge one step further, so naturally I decided to make a nut free marzipan to decorate each Mini Christmas Cake. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet but by-jingo I cracked it!
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My Mini Christmas Cakes got 5 mini minutes of fame!
You ready for the second story? This one is totally random, but I heard Chris Moyles mentioning on his Breakfast Show on Radio X that he was considering going gluten free due to digestion issues. I’d literally made the final perfect batch of cakes the morning before! So I thought to myself; ‘wonder if Chris would like one of my cakes’…so I sent him one. I added a letter in the parcel explaining who I am, why I bake free from and that I have a blog. I wasn’t sure if I’d get a mention but it seemed the nice thing to do!
Monday morning imagine my surprise when I came downstairs, after trying to crowbar Lewis out of bed (unsuccessfully), feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, to then hear Dominique Burns reading my letter out on live radio and describing my Mini Christmas Cakes cute face to the listeners. Chris was a tad weary of eating it after Dom had placed his grubby mits all over it but they all seemed genuinely grateful at my gesture – thank you Breakfast Team, you’ll never understand how much you gave me strength to deal with the day I was going to have ahead of me (that’s another story for another time!)
The perfect Christmas Gift Idea
since I first developed this recipe I’ve made these little cuties for Christmas gifts for friends and family and even made a heap of them for a Christmas Fayre at Bethany and Lewis’ old primary school. They went down a treat, I mean who could not love their little faces.
Good news; they keep well too as you’d expect as rich fruit cake would so you don;t have to be in the kitchen baking and decorating these in the final hours before Christmas Day.
Other gluten free festive recipe inspiration
Anyway, if you humoured me and read this far rather than pressing the jump to recipe button, finally here’s the recipe for my Mini Christmas Cakes. I hope you enjoy making these and please do let me know how you got on either in the comments below or via Twitter or Facebook
Mini Gluten Free Christmas Cakes with Nut Free Marzipan Recipe
If you make it and like the recipe I would be eternally grateful if you popped back and commented leaving a star rating as this will tell search engines that this recipe is worth checking out and others will get to find it in searches.
Mini Christmas Cakes
- 175 g gluten free plain flour
- ½ tsp ground mix spice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp psyllium husk powder (optional) this helps to bind and prevents the cake from crumbling
- 125 g butter or butter alternative (I use Flora plant butter)
- 150 g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 100 ml water
- 500 g raisins
- 75 g glace cherries
- 75 g candied mixed peel
- 2 tbsp brandy
Nut free marzipan
- 100 g marshmallows
- 150 g icing/confectioners sugar
- 20 g dried banana chips
- 10 whole dried apricots
- 2 tbsp water
- 100 ml sunflower oil
- few drops yellow food colouring optional
- 500 g block of fondant icing use white and you can colour what you don’t use for hats and scarves etc
- 4 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/ gas mark 4.
- Grease and double line 6 mini baked bean tins with grease proof paper.
- Sift the flour, psyllium and spices into a bowl and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl whisk the butter and sugar until light in colour.
- Add the treacle and whisk again.
- Whisk in the chia seeds
- Fold in the sifted dried ingredients, dried fruit and cherries.
- Stir to completely combine then spoon into the prepared tins. Smooth the tops down on each cake with the back of a wet spoon.
- Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes turn down the oven to 140˚C/275˚F/gas mark 1 and bake for 1 hour.
- Check with a skewer to see if they are ready. The skewer should come out clean.
- Once cool remove the grease proof paper and turn out to cook on a rack.
- To decorate level off the tops of the cakes and cover with marzipan and icing.
To make the nut free marzipan
- In a blender (I actually used my smoothie maker) blitz the apricots and banana chips together until you have fine crumbs, set aside.
- Add the marshmallows, water and 1 tsp of the oil to a bowl and heat in the microwave. Times vary so keep an eye on your marshmallows they’ll start to expand to twice the size when they’re ready.
- Remove bowl and add the icing sugar and crumbed apricots and banana and beat together quickly. Add the oil a teaspoon at a time to keep the mixture pliable.
- Once the mixture is cool enough to touch tip out onto the kitchen surface DO NOT FLOUR THE SURFACE.
- Working quickly, begin to knead the marshmallow fondant. I use the remaining oil to coat my hands and the worktop to aid the kneading process, if you like you can add a little yellow food colouring if you wish.
- Your nut free marzipan will be ready once you have a supple dough, it will appear a little greasy once rolled into a ball, don’t worry about this.
- Pop into the fridge and keep chilled until you’re ready to decorate
- Be imaginative, you don;t have to attempt my design, a simple marzipan layer followed by fondant and topped with a pre-made sugar craft decoration will look just as beautiful. Remember to paint your cake with apricot jam before adding the marzipan and repeat when you add the fondant to glue each layer into place.
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*disclaimer: I use affiliate codes on my website, the vast majority are to Amazon. If you click on any of the links or images in the post and make a purchase my family will benefit from a small % of that purchase at no extra cost to you.
For full transparency, in 2020 I made my first £25, and in 2022 I reached my next £25 (Amazon don’t transfer the money until you reach £25). I’m now up to £17.80 for 2023 so edging closer to the magical £25 mark!!
To date I have made £69.28 since I first started the scheme in 2017. It won’t pay the bills, that’s for sure but it does help to pay for ingredients or little treats to cheer me up!