A Vegan Christmas: Christmas Cake Making & Decorating.

Christmas Cake.  For some people its like Marmite you either love it or hate it.
You can even like fruit cake but hate icing and marzipan so this recipe post will have one decorated with marzipan & icing and one without.


Fruit cake in its many shapes and forms is one of the cakes I have been making the longest, due to my Fathers love of it.  I have a repertoire of about 9+ different recipes that get used for different occasions.

The 1st Christmas cake I would have helped make would have been around 1986 when I was 5, I helped my beloved Grandma make hers, she would decorate hers in true 1980’s fashion with peaks of fluffy white royal icing to look like snow and a little red plastic Merry Christmas sign with a plastic Father Christmas & Robin on top.
I can still remember it now on the table in her living room ready for my family to devour over the festive season.

So Grandma, this blog post is dedicated to you, you might not be here but you have inspired me, my love of cooking & this whole website. I miss you & Grandad more & more each day.

familychI will show you how to make your cake from scratch and two different ways of decorating your cake & of course its Vegan & Gluten Free.

The below recipe makes a 6″ cake, you can find a deep 6″ cake tin here.
If you would like to make an 8″ cake make x1.5 of the recipe.


For the cake, 

  • 100g Dairy Free Butter
  • 100g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 70g Pouch of apple sauce 
  • 600g Dried Mixed Fruit
  • 220g Plain Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Treacle
  • 2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp.  Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 100ml Plant Milk
  • 25ml X2 Disaronno or Brandy (Optional)
  • Optional nuts (see below)

I have made this recipe nut free, if you would like to add nuts feel free to add 100g of your favourite chopped nuts to the batter. Or if you are decorating it with nuts as in the picture below you will need 200g of roughly chopped brazil nuts.

You did click that link right, I have used baby food! its just organic apples, so I thought why not, saves me having to make apple puree, I will be making a few more recipes using these little baby food pouches.


Pre-heat your oven to 160c/325f/or Gas mark 3

  1. Line your cake tin with non stick baking paper,
    First fold some baking paper in half and draw around the base of the tin with a pencil and cut it out, I like to make two so you have a spare just in case.
    Then pull out a long stripe of paper about 25″ long, fold up approx 2″ along the bottom and cut lots of slits all long the bottom of the fold, Roll the sheet up and place inside the tin to fill it, if you need to you can add a staple to keep it in place, just make sure it’s at the very top and not near where to cake will be.
    Add one of the round discs to the bottom and your tin is ready, save the 2nd disc of paper for later, you might need it.20161120_212312000_ios
  2. In your bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy,
  3. Add your spices & treacle to the butter & sugar mix and combine
  4. Add your mixed fruit, nuts if using, & apple sauce and combine.
  5. Now add your flour & baking powder, milk and alcohol and combine once more
  6. With a spatula give your cake batter one last mix by hand making sure everything is mixed in and make a wish, Yes make a wish! something nice but don’t tell anyone!
  7. Spoon your batter into your cake tin smooth the top* and place in the oven and bake for approx. 2 hours or until your cake is baked through and a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Once baked remove from the oven and place on a wire rack & leave in the tin for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes remove the tin and baking paper and allow the cake to completely cool.
  9. Once cool prick your cake all over with a skewer and feed it the other 25ml of alcohol if you are using.

*If you are decorating your cake naked as below, when you smooth the top of the batter in the tin sprinkle over your 200g of roughly chopped brazil nuts, check the cake after 1 hour and if the nuts are browning too quickly cover them with the extra round of parchment we cut out at the start when we lined the tin.

How to decorate: 

One option for your cake is to leave it naked and dress it only with a little festive ribbon, this option is great if you don’t like traditionally decorated Christmas cake or if you don’t have time over the festive season to decorate it.


The other option is to cover in marzipan and decorate with sugar paste (fondant)
Every supermarket marzipan I have checked seams to be vegan & gluten free but please double check before you buy, we all know how much supermarkets like to “improve” their products from time to time.


I Will be using Sainsbury’s marzipan and sugar paste to decorate this cake, I checked all of their ready to roll icing and the only one I saw that wasn’t vegan was the chocolate brown one. As I’m decorating mine with a Reindeer I used some Renshaw sugar paste in teddy bear brown. But you can use any colours you like.


You will need to decorate:

  • 250g Marzipan
  • 300g White ready to roll icing
  • 30g Apricot Jam
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • Coloured ready to roll icing for your decorations
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Ribbon
  1. Once your cake is completely cold you can level the top ready for decoration, if when you level your cake you lose a few pieces of dried fruit you can use a little marzipan to fill in the little holes.
  2. Take a length of ribbon and measure your cake up, this will help when rolling out your marzipan and sugar paste.
  3. Roll out your marzipan to about as thick as a pound coin & using the ribbon make sure its big enough to cover your cake.
  4. In a little saucepan add your apricot jam and water and bring to a boil,  brush your cake using a pastry brush with the warm apricot glaze mix,
  5. Lift your marzipan carefully and cover your cake, smooth out and trim around the base.
  6. Now re-measure your cake with the ribbon as before and roll out your white sugar paste to the same thickness as your marzipan, brush the cake again with warm apricot glaze and cover & trim the cake at the base.
  7. I placed my cake on a cake stand ready for decoration I wrapped some red ribbon around the base & used a little sticky tape to keep it in place.
  8. I printed out a little Reindeer face to the size I wanted, I used this image.
    Save the image & import into word and change to the size to suit your cake.
  9. Once you have printed you little Reindeer I cut him out & cut of his antlers & rolled out my Teddy Bear Brown fondant and using a sharpe knife I cut around the paper template.
  10. Then I added a little black to my brown to make a darker brown to make the Reindeers antlers
  11. I rolled out a little red to make his nose & two little black balls for his eyes, & stuck him on the top of my cake using a little water.
    cakereind7If you don’t have time to make a little reindeer you can just cut out some holly using a cutter that all the super markets have at this time of year and add a few little balls of red fondant to be berries.cake-hollyHappy Holidays from us at Living Dead Cakes we hope you have a great festive season & enjoy all of our coming Christmas recipes. xxcakecake

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