A fruity, boozy vegan Christmas cake full of traditional festive flavours, made without eggs or dairy produce. Can I tempt you with a slice?

A slice of vegan Christmas cake.

Making a Traditional Vegan Christmas Cake

If you are a fan of the traditional Christmas fruitcake then this vegan version is sure to be a winner.

I’ve experimented with lots of different vegan Christmas cake mixtures over the last few years but this is the one I am happy to share with you.

What To Use Instead of Eggs in a Vegan Christmas Cake

I’ve tried egg replacers like chia seeds and flaxseeds but they don’t float my boat. Each seems to make for a slightly soggy cake and I love a good slicer.

I settled on my favourite vegan baking magic ingredient, vegan buttermilk.

Vegan buttermilk is made by adding lightly flavoured cider vinegar to plant based milk to make it curdle. This mixture then reacts with the bicarbonate of soda in the cake mixture to replicate the job an egg would do.

This recipe is the one I have been making for family and friends for the last few years so it is well tried and well tested – and it is always a hit!

Which Dried Fruits To Use In Christmas Cake

This is a really flexible vegan Christmas cake recipe and is easily adapted to suit your own festive fruity favourites. There is no mixed peel in my recipe because I cannot stand the stuff but, if you adore it, pop some in.

As long as you have 600g of mixed dried fruits you can fiddle about with the quantities of each to suit you. I would stick to a combination of raisins, sultanas and currants as the bulk of your cake but feel free to fiddle with the rest. If you don’t like glace cherries, leave them out! Replace them with extra dates or some figs or dried apricots instead. 

Vegan fruit cake in a springform tin.

Soaking Fruit For Christmas Cake

Soaking dried fruit overnight makes it plump up nicely so it is juicy and full of flavour when it is added to the cake mix. 

If you want an alcohol free Christmas cake use orange juice instead of brandy. If you are not a fan of brandy use rum instead. 

How To Feed A Christmas Cake

Once Halloween and Bonfire Night have passed my thoughts turn to Christmas and making the Christmas cake. It is these little traditions and seasonal markers which I enjoy most about the festive season and once that cake is in oven and the smell of fruit and spice is wafting around the house I know it has all begun!

This fruit cake is absolutely delicious fresh but it will also keep well in an airtight container for up to six weeks. I always make one right at the beginning of November which we scoff straight away and then another which I store until the festive season is well under way.

If you are not eating it straight away you will need to feed your vegan Christmas cake regularly with a couple of spoonfuls of brandy or rum. This will enhance the flavour and keep it moist, ready to slice and share with family and friends.

When your cake is cooked, poke it with a skewer all over the surface and pour over two spoonfuls of brandy before leaving it to cool. Once it is cool wrap it well in greaseproof paper and store it in an airtight tin. Once a week or so take it out and feed it with two more spoonfuls of brandy before wrapping it up again and popping it back into its tin. 

If you plan to decorate your Christmas cake stop feeding it a week before you want to ice it so that the top has a chance to dry out. 

A large vegan fruit cake in a cake tin.

Icing A Christmas Cake – Yes Or No?

Normally I don’t ice fruit cake but I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas and I can’t resist that smooth white icing!

Iced winter fruit cake.

When our children were little icing the cake was one of our Christmas Eve traditions and that glorious white expanse was topped with every gaudy plastic Christmas cake topper our families had ever owned! 

Nowadays we all have slightly more sophisticated tastes so the Santa with the missing arm and the aquamarine plastic Christmas trees lie sadly at the bottom of the cake decorations box. Now I’ve written that I shall, of course, be getting them out this year and plonking them firmly where they belong!

If you want to go down the traditional Christmas tree decoration route make sure you stop feeding your cake a week before you are ready. You will need one box of marzipan and one of white fondant for this cake. Just double check that they are vegan when you buy them.

I have made my own in the past but it’s not my favourite thing to do and, frankly, life is too short! If you want to have a go check out Ela’s Homemade Marzipan recipe and for fondant you can’t beat Delia

How To Ice A Christmas Cake 

  • When you are ready, roll out the marzipan so it will fit your cake with plenty to cover the sides as well.
  • Melt some apricot conserve in a small pan and brush it over the top and sides of the cake. This helps the marzipan to stick, we call it cake glue!
  • Carefully lift your rolled marzipan onto the cake and press gently down.
  • Trim any extra off from the bottom and any lumpy bits from the side. Press smooth with your hands.
  • Leave to dry overnight.
  • Next day roll your icing out in a circle large enough to easily cover the top and sides of your cake.
  • Lift carefully into place and press sown gently. 
  • Trim off any excess. 
  • Use a small piece of the excess icing to polish your iced cake and smooth out any noticeable lumps.
  • Cut out decorations from the excess icing, dap the back of each one with a little water and place on your cake. 

Icing snowflakes.

A well placed ribbon will hide a multitude of sins if you have lumpy sides. I secured mine with a pin – do remember to remove it and the ribbon before slicing! 

Traditional Vegan Christmas Cake on a cake stand.

More Vegan Christmas Baking

If you have the festive baking bug you might also like my:

If you make my recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Please leave a comment and a star rating below and share your pictures with me on social media. Tag me @thinlyspread and include the hashtag #thinlyspread so I can see them!

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Iced Vegan Christmas cake.

A slice of vegan Christmas cake.

Vegan Christmas Cake

A fruity, boozy vegan Christmas cake full of all the traditional festive flavours.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baked Goods, Cake
Cuisine: English
Keyword: vegan Christmas cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Soaking Time: 12 hours
Servings: 24
Calories: 192kcal

Ingredients

  • 180 g raisins
  • 180 g sultanas
  • 150 g currants
  • 50 g glace cherries chopped
  • 40 g dried dates chopped
  • 375 g plain flour
  • 175 g soft brown sugar
  • 75 g vegan margarine
  • 300 ml soya milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • grated rind of a lemon
  • grated rind of an orange
  • 100 ml brandy + extra for feeding

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  • Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment.
  • Put all the dried fruit into a large bowl with the brandy and leave to soak for 12 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand held electric whisk, whisk together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vinegar to the soya milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes or until curdled.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.
  • Stir the fruit and the grated lemon and orange rind, into the butter and sugar mixture, add the milk mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add the flour and spice mixture a quarter at a time and mix to combine.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to 150C/300F and bake for a further 20 - 30 minutes until the cake is browned and a skewer poked into it comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  • Poke the cake a few times with a skewer and brush with a couple of tablespoons of brandy.
  • Turn the cake out, wrap it in a double layer of baking parchment and store in an airtight tin for up to 6 weeks.
  • Feed every week to ten days with a little more brandy.
  • Notes
  • If you find your cake is browning on top too quickly place a circle of baking parchment on top of the mixture and remove it for the last fifteen minutes of baking.
  • Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.

Notes

If you find your cake is browning on top too quickly place a circle of baking parchment on top of the mixture and remove it for the last fifteen minutes of baking.
Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
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