I know not everyone’s a fan fruit cake so for those that aren’t you might like to check out my Belgium slice or Strawberry tart instead, but for those that are, this last minute Christmas cake with eggnog frosting is going to wow your pants off!
Not only is this traditional fruit cake super quick and easy to make, there’s also no need to drip feed it liquor over the following weeks to ensure it stays nice and moist. No siree. This Christmas cake has the moisture (and liquor, if that’s your thing) baked right into it!
How you may ask? Well we get a bit clever with the fruit. Instead of soaking it in rum or brandy for a few weeks beforehand, in this recipe we use heat to speed up the process. Simply combine dried fruits such as dates, blueberries, cranberries, dark cherries and sultanas with a little lemon juice and zest, gently heat, add rum or brandy and leave to macerate a few hours or overnight. The heat allows the dried fruit to soak up the liquid much faster and produces very lush and moist result.
The second reason why this cake is so unbelievably good is it’s dairy and grain free, and very low in added sugars. Of course being made of almost 70% dried fruit this cake could never be completely sugar free, but it’s still much lower than your standard fruit cake. I’ve also kept the quantity of this recipe on the small side so it perfectly fits into a 6 inch cake tin. This means you’ll have just enough to keep everybody happy at Christmas, but you won’t have that Christmas cake lingering in the cake tins for weeks afterwards.
Whether you add the eggnog frosting or not is entirely up to you. I created the frosting as a healthier, lower sugar alternative to the fondant icing traditionally used on Christmas cakes. Store bought fondant is typically full of sugar, hydrogenated fats, additives and preservatives and just adds empty calories. In contrast, my eggnog frosting is made from a cashew base, is gently spiced with fresh nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, and for the eggnog traditionalists out there a splash of rum.
If you’re making this cake in warm weather then it’s best stored in the fridge once iced. Alternatively, if eggnog isn’t your thing or it all sounds like one step too far, simply keep the cake in it’s natural state or add a handful of whole almonds to the top before cooking. Merry Christmas!
If you make this Last Minute Christmas Cake I’d love to hear what you think!
Leave a message in the comments below, and if you share any of your creations on social media be sure to tag me
@swoon.food or #swoonfood so I can come and admire them.
Last Minute Christmas Cake with Eggnog Frosting
Makes: 1 small 6″ cake
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 1 1/2 – 2 hours
380g dried fruit e.g. dates, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, sultanas
2 lemons, zest and juice
2 Tbsp rum or brandy, optional
80g coconut oil, softened
50g coconut sugar
50g rice syrup
2 eggs, room temperature
100g ground almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp rum or brandy, optional
1/2 fresh nutmeg, grated
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground cinnamon
Freshly ground nutmeg
To make the cake: Place the dried fruit, lemon juice and zest into a small pan set over medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat as soon as it boils, add the rum or brandy if using, stir well then place the lid on and leave to stand at room temperature for a minimum of 2 hours or ideally overnight.
Prepare a 6 inch cake tin by lining the base and sides with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan bake and get the eggs out of the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature. The eggs need to be at room temperature so they don’t cause the coconut oil to set and the mix to curdle when added. Cracking them out of their shells into a bowl speeds up the warming process.
Place the softened coconut oil, coconut sugar and rice syrup into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until well combined and creamy. Add the eggs and mix well to combine. Stir in the ground almonds and spices.
Place one third of the fruit mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the blended fruit to the cake mixture and mix well, then add the remainder of the fruit. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. If you’re forgoing the eggnog frosting and wish to decorate the cake with whole almonds instead, add them to the top of the cake at this point. Place the cake into the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Check on the cake around the 1 hour mark and if the top is firm insert a sharp knife or skewer. The cake is ready when the skewer no longer comes out with runny cake mix and instead has moist cake crumbs. If the cake needs longer, bake for another 15 minutes and check again. When the cake is done remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting: Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the frosting mixture to a small mixing bowl and place into the fridge or freezer to firm up for 5 minutes. When the frosting has started to set round the edges remove from the chiller and beat with an electric hand mixer until thick and creamy. If it gets too hard in the chiller simply leave at room temperature until it’s soft enough to beat, and vice versa if it’s still too runny return to the chiller for longer.
When the frosting is ready it should be thick and creamy. Ice the top of the Christmas cake with it, and finish it off by grating over fresh nutmeg and decorating with whole almonds if desired. To prevent the frosting from melting in warm weather store the cake in a sealed container in the fridge. Alternatively, if you forgo the frosting store the cake in a sealed container at room temperature. You can also choose to store the cake at room temperature until needed and add the frosting last minute. This last minute Christmas cake will keep for several weeks in both instances.