It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This Vegan Christmas Cake is rich with fruit and booze and is just as amazing made just a few days before Christmas or up to 8 weeks before! I promise either way it is utterly delicious. Our yummy Vegan Christmas Cake is actually my Mum's recipe (she's amazing!), and she was in turn inspired by Delia Smith.
We love how this Christmas Cake is so beautiful with all the dried fruits on top and we love that you can use your creative flair to decorate it. Louise and I had a decorating competition; see our handy work below and judge which is best in the comments (*ehem* Vanessa's *ehem*). Also, don't forget to pick up our lovely Festive Feasts Christmas Cookbook - yes we're PUBLISHED! - as paperback or e-book.
The ingredients for this vegan Christmas cake are totally delicious, making a dense and truly satisfying treat. Here's what you'll need.
- Dried fruit - you'll need 900g altogether. How much you have of each type of fruit is up to you, and depends on what you can get hold of. I've used a mix of currents, raisins, glace cherries, candied peel and sultanas. So you could double the raisins if you don't have sultanas for example, or add more of the ones you like best! This makes up the bulk of the cake. You can get these online, in healthfood stores and certainly at big supermarkets.
- Brandy (or whiskey/rum) - this is for soaking the fruit and what gives a lovely depth of flavour and part of that Festive spice to a vegan Christmas cake. Most brandy and spirits are vegan (so you'll probably be fine), but do check the label first. You can often filter in online shops for 'vegan' alcohol.
- Plain (all purpose) flour - standard for a cake like this. We've not tried it with a gluten-free flour but feel free to give it a go if you need a gluten-free version.
- Spices - I love these Festive flavours. We've used ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice. You can use more or less of each, depending on your taste. If you love these then you'll love my Vegan Gingerbread Brownies.
- Vegan butter/margarine - I love using Naturli Organic Vegan Butter, but any vegan butter or margarine is fine. If you want to use oil, that should also work fine.
- Milled linseed/flaxseed - the best egg replacement for cakes in my opinion. Natural and healthy. When you mix milled linseed/flaxseed with water it forms a gel, which binds the cake.
- Black treacle (molasses) - this gives the vegan Christmas cake its wonderful dark colour. Black treacle is easy to find online and in supermarkets.
- Blanched almonds - chopped quite finely these give a delicious crunch to the cake and contrast with the softer fruit. Leave out for a nut-free version.
- Zest of orange and lemon - best to always get unwaxed organic citrus fruit if using the zest, but don't worry if you can't. Unwaxed oranges are much harder to find than unwaxed lemons, so just get what you can. This gives an extra zing to the lovely vegan Christmas cake.
- Apricot jam - this forms a glaze and sticky surface to decorate your cake.
- Various dried fruit and nuts - for decorating the vegan Christmas cake! See the Decoration section for inspiration on decorating yours - or just copy what we've done!
So this vegan Christmas cake does have a step in advance before you can make the cake itself. You need to soak all that wonderful fruit in brandy (or whiskey or another spirit) for 12-18 hours. You can actually leave it a couple of days, which will give you an even richer flavour. To soak the fruit, you have to use a ceramic or plastic bowl. If you use a metal bowl the acid in the fruit may react with the metal and taint the fruit. I personally love using a ceramic bowl for lots of my baking.
Get your equipment ready too! A good cake tin is a must. I used an 8 inch round tin, but you can also use a square tin. Up to you. I love using spring-form loose bottom tins for super easy cake extraction! They are great for all sorts of cakes and cheesecakes.
This cake has three main steps; preparing the fruit, making the cake and decorating. Below are simple step by step instructions for this wonderful vegan Christmas cake.
- The night before you make the cake: place all the dried fruit and candied peel into a plastic or ceramic bowl (not metal) and mix in the brandy. Leave the fruit to soak at room temperature for at least 12-18 hours covered with a cloth. You can leave for a couple of days if desired, actually you can do this process up to a month in advance for extra juiceness!
- Carefully line your cake tin to make sure the cake doesn't burn with its long slow cooking time. So you grease and line the cake tin with baking parchment. Then wrap the outside of the cake tin with baking parchment which is several inches taller than the top of the cake tin. Wrap around twice so you have a double layer. Tie this securely around the cake tin with the kitchen string.
- Sieve the flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Mix the milled linseed/flaxseed with water in a separate bowl. Do not do this step in advance or it might go a bit hard. Linseed/flaxseed are a great healthly egg replacement for binding cakes. Check out our amazing Guide on egg substitutes.
- Cream together ‘butter’ and sugar until it is as light and fluffy as possible.
- Add the linseed/flaxseed and water mix, bit by bit, to the sugar and ‘butter’ mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then add the treacle/molasses. Dipping the spoon in boiling water will allow the molasses to slide off the spoon into the mix much more easily.
- Fold in the flour and spices with the sugar, vegan butter and linseed/flaxseed.
8. Add the zest of lemon and orange to the mix. This really adds to the flavour of the vegan Christmas cake.
9. Add all the dried fruit and mix in well. Then stir in the chopped blanched almonds.
10. Transfer the mixture to your prepared cake tin.
11. Bake at Gas Mark 1, 275°F, 140°C for between 4 hours 25 mins and 4 hours 45 mins. It will be done when a cake skewer comes out clean.
12. Once cool, poke some holes in the cake with a skewer or chopstick. Pour in some additional teaspoons of brandy which will soak into the holes you've made.
13. Remove the vegan Christmas cake from the tin. Either store or decorate immediately.
It's best to decorate the vegan Christmas cake just before serving, as opposed to storing the cake for weeks with decoration on.
14. Melt the apricot jam in a pan. The heat will melt it. Then strain it through a sieve to remove any lumps.
15. Arrange your fruit and nuts in any way you like on the cake. The jam will act as glue.
Ok, this deserves its own section as this is where you can get creative (or just copy us of course). The funniest part of making this cake was that Louise and I decided to make two cakes and have a cake decorating competition. You're welcome to write in the comments which one you like best! Please don't say we're both winners - this was proper GAME ON!!!
You can use a range of glace cherries (halved), blanched almonds, walnut and pecan halves, finely chopped candied orange peel and even holly (don't consume that though, obviously) to make the most beautiful vegan Christmas cake. The easiest thing is to start from either the outside and make a rim, then work your way in, or start in the middle.
It's best to do this decoration just before you want to eat it. If you're making the cake weeks in advance, you'll want to feed it with brandy each week, which you won't be able to do if it's decorated.
Ok, I'll tell you which is mine now and which is Louise now! If I must! Mine is the top one, and Louise's is underneath. Would love to know which one gets your vote...
Some questions we're often asked about our vegan Christmas cake:
If you're making the cake in advance, it's best to wrap it in a double layer of baking parchment, and also wrap well in aluminium foil. Then store in a cake tin or airtight container. Then put in a cool, dry place. Feed it with more brandy (or rum or whiskey) every week by poking small holes in it and pouring over a couple of teaspoons of the alcohol.
Yes! Just leave out the blanched almonds from the cake itself, and don't use any nuts for decoration.
We haven't tried. But of course, if you want to try it with gluten-free flour you're welcome to.
Absolutely it can. Either cut up into separate slices and freeze, or put it in whole. Best to use airtight containers to keep the quality of your food when freezing. I use these glass Tupperware which are great quality, toxin-free and better for the environment.
This recipe was developed by Vanessa, one of the original co-founders of this site. Vanessa is now working on her plant based health coaching business, Energise and Thrive Plant Based. She helps people get high energy, great health, and balanced eating with delicious plant-based food.
She’s also brought out her FREE Guide - 5 Steps to Balanced Plant Based Eating which you’re welcome to download. Of course, all the recipes she has created for The Vegan Larder (like this one!) will remain here for you to access.
If you love this Vegan Christmas Cake, then I think you'll also love these other delicious recipes.
- 6 Ingredient Vegan Mince Pie Baklava
- Vegan Spiced Caramel Apple Cake
- Vegan Lemon & Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
- Vegan Apple & Blackberry Cake
Please share the recipe with your friends and comment below; this helps others find our yummy recipes!
Love & Christmas cheer
The Best Vegan Christmas Cake
- Kitchen string
- Baking parchment
The dried fruit (900g altogether - you can vary your ratios)
Other Cake Ingredients
- 225 g plain white flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon mixed spice
- 200 g unsalted vegan margarine/butter (at room temperature)
- 225 g soft brown sugar
- 8 tablespoon milled linseed/flaxseed (milled chia seeds also work)
- 300 ml water
- 1 tablespoon black treacle (molasses)
- 50 g blanched almonds (chopped quite finely)
- 1 lemon, grated zest of (use unwaxed if possible)
- 1 orange, grated zest of (use unwaxed if possible, optional but tastes great)
To prepare the dried fruit
- The night before you make the cake: place all the dried fruit and candied peel into a plastic or ceramic bowl (not metal) and mix in the brandy. Leave the fruit to soak at room temperature for at least 12-18 hours covered with a cloth. You can leave for a couple of days if desired.
- Leave the fruit to soak at room temperature for at least 12-18 hours covered with a cloth. NB: if you want the fruit to be extra juicy, you can do this process up to a month in advance. Add more brandy/rum as the fruit soaks it up
To prepare the cake tin
- Grease and line the cake tin with baking parchment.
- Wrap the outside of the cake tin with baking parchment which is several inches taller than the top of the cake tin. Wrap around twice so you have a double layer. Tie this securely around the cake tin with the kitchen string. This helps prevent the cake from burning during its long slow baking tie. If you cannot find kitchen string, use a band of thinly rolled (or folded) aluminium foil and secure ends to keep the brown paper in place.
To make the cake
- Preheat oven to Gas Mark 1/275°F/140°C.
- Sieve the flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix the milled (blended) linseed/flaxseed with the water. Mix together, then set aside until needed.
- In another separate bowl, cream together vegan butter/margarine and sugar until it is as light and fluffy as possible. This is an important step - it must be mixed well.
- Add the linseed/flaxseed and water mix, bit by bit, to the sugar and ‘butter’ mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the treacle/molasses.
- Carefully, without beating, fold in the flour and spices.
- Stir in the soaked dried fruit and candied peel. Then stir in the almonds and the grated lemon and orange zests.
- Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- Bake in the preheated oven on the lower shelf for between 4 hours 25 mins and 4 hours 45 mins. Do not open the oven door before the cake has been baking for at least 4 hours.
- When the cake is baked (use a thin skewer to test the cake is cooked).
- Let the cake cool fully. Once cooled, you can 'feed' it with more brandy up skewering some holes in it and pouring a couple of tablespoons over the cake.
- Optional: You can ‘feed’ the cake with extra brandy/rum. Strip off the lining papers, and make holes by using a thin skewer or darning needle in the top of the cake. Pour over a few teaspoons of brandy/whiskey to soak into the cake. If you wish, you can do this at repeating intervals for a week or two.
- Store in an airtight tin. Make sure it is well wrapped in two layers of greaseproof paper. Decorate just before you plan on eating it!
- Melt the apricot jam in a pan on a low heat so it doesn't burn. This should only take a few minutes.
- Pass the jam through a sieve to remove any chunky bits.
- Brush the jam over the cake.
- In whatever pattern or design you wish, gently push the nuts and glacé cherries onto the cake. Check out the photos in the main post for inspiration.
- The jam will act like a sticky glue. Leave to set on the cake.