To me, Christmas smells like my Mum's Christmas pudding.
It's something that has always been a part of our Christmas - whether we were entertaining a few or many, having Christmas lunch or dinner, at home or away.
Unfortunately after years of enjoying my Mum's Christmas pudding, once I found out I was coeliac it just became something I smelt and looked at instead of ate. But don't feel bad - I've used that as the perfect excuse to come up with my own alternatives each year.
Each year that recipe has evolved and become better and better. The first year I had this Gluten Free Steamed Christmas Pudding Recipe which was delicious, but perhaps a little too soft and time consuming.
Last year I had my Easy Gluten Free and Vegan Fruit Cake Recipe which was a huge hit and the perfect texture and I thought that was going to be the recipe from there on out.... but this year I found out a friend of mine had to switch to a grain free diet due to various health issues - and she was wondering what, if anything, she could eat on Christmas day.
Ummmm..... we're not going to have any of that, friends.
If there's one thing I hate, it's people missing out - so I knew I needed to come up with a Paleo Fruit Cake Recipe that would be the perfect healthy Christmas cake alternative.
And oh my word is it good.
Jesse hates Christmas pudding and fruit cake - but I left this cake sitting half cut on the kitchen bench whilst I ducked out to the grocery store and Jesse decided he needed to taste test it.
I got home to find a few pieces gone and asked my Dad whether he liked it, only to have him look back at me confused. Jesse, the fruit cake "hater", had decided this cake was his new favourite and even asked me to make it for him on Christmas Day.
With that reaction, I think it's safe to say this is the perfect Paleo Christmas Pudding Recipe - but it's so good that non-paleo eaters will love it too.
So let me share the recipe with you! >>
Easy Paleo Fruit Cake Recipe
makes 12-16 squares (one 8" cake)
gluten free, refined sugar free/no added sugar, dairy free,
lower carb, lower fat, grain free, healthy, clean eating recipe
1 1/2 cup (225g) mixed dried fruit *see notes
1/2 cup boiling water
3 tbsp (45g) coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup (60g) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup (100g) almond flour/almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
Optional but recommended: 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp mixed spice/pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon)
- Preheat your oven to 150C/300F
- Line an 8' baking tin with baking paper and set aside. If you want thicker pieces, use a slightly smaller baking tin (the pictured version was baked in a 7" tin) or double the recipe and bake it in a 7x13" pan.
- Combine your dried fruit, boiling water, melted coconut oil and applesauce and mix until combined.
- Add in your eggs and mix in your almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder and spices (if using).
- Mix until all of your ingredients are combined and spoon into your prepared baking tin.
- Smooth out your cake mixture to ensure it's evenly spread out in your pan.
- Bake your fruit cake for 30 minutes, losely cover with foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until golden and the cake slightly springs back when pressed in the centre.
- Allow to cool before slicing.
- This cake will keep for a week in the fridge in an airtight container or individual slices can be frozen to defrost and enjoy later. It could last longer than a week, however, it seems to disappear in our house ;)
*We used Sunbeam Foods' Gourmet Selection Mixed Dried Fruit which is citrus free and a mix of figs, dates, cranberries, raisins and currants, however, you can use a regular mixed dried fruit mix or a mix of your favourite dried fruit - just be sure to chop any large pieces (like figs/apricots) into small chunks.
But tell me, what foods are "Christmas" to you?
Or what are your strongest holiday memories/traditions?