Vegan Christmas Cake
This Vegan Christmas Cake is a dairy free and egg free version of my traditional Christmas Cake recipe. It’s even decorated with vegan royal icing. Find out how to make it below.
Vegan fruit cake
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a huge slice of boozy fruit cake wrapped in marzipan and icing. So my main priority when I went vegan was making sure that I could enjoy Christmas cake over the festive period.
I’ve taken my traditional Christmas Cake recipe and adapted it so that it is now both egg and dairy free. This means it’s perfect for anyone who follows a plant based diet or has a dairy or egg allergy. You would never know that these cakes were missing two “key” ingredients.
For the butter I’ve simply used my favourite non-dairy butter and the eggs have been swapped out for mashed banana. I chose mashed banana as fruit cake is already quite a dense, moist cake. Out of all of the egg substitutes available, banana helps retain the original texture of the cake the best. If you’re not a fan of the flavour of banana, do not worry. This cake has such a complex flavour that the other fruit, cinnamon, sugar and alcohol distracts from any banana flavour.
I chose to soak the fruit and then “feed” the cake with rum. Brandy might be a more traditional choice but dark rum works well too. As both rum and brandy are spirits, it’s rare for them to not be vegan friendly. But you may want to check the label just in case.
Decorating a vegan fruit cake
Before we can start icing our cake we need to cover the cake with marzipan. Marzipan on a cake performs a couple of different functions. Firstly, it traps in moisture and stops the cake going stale – it’s one of the reasons iced fruit cakes have such a long shelf life! Secondly, it helps provide a flat, smooth surface for you to ice on to. Most store bought marzipan is vegan as it’s just sugar and almonds.
Once you’ve got a smooth layer of marzipan you can ice the cake. The traditional icing on a Christmas Cake (or any fruitcake for that matter) is royal icing. Royal icing is spread on top of the marzipan and can be used to make a textured snowy landscape or it can be spread flat. I spread a thin layer of royal icing over my marzipan then coloured the rest red to get this fairisle / Scandinavian pattern.
The only problem is that royal icing isn’t usually vegan as it contains egg whites. Some royal icing recipes call for meringue powder instead of egg whites and it is possible to get vegan meringue powder. But what’s the other egg white substitute all vegan bakers know and love? That’s right, aquafaba! If you’re not already caught on to this amazing baking hack, aquafaba is the liquid you get in tins of chickpeas and other beans. When whisked it performs just like egg whites making it the perfect substitute for a range of recipes such as meringues and royal icing.
In-depth instructions on how to cover a cake in marzipan and icing can be found on my Traditional Christmas Cake post.
Vegan Christmas Cake
This Fruit Cake contains no dairy or eggs making it perfect for anyone with milk/dairy allergies or who follows a vegan/plant based diet.
For the cake
- 300 grams light brown sugar
- 300 grams non-dairy butter
- 1 large banana mashed
- 400 grams self raising flour
- 400 grams sultanas
- 300 grams currants
- 100 grams raisins
- 150 grams mixed peel
- 100 grams glace cherries
- 100 grams chopped almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp dark treacle
- 300 millilitres dark rum plus extra for feeding
For the decoration
- 800 grams marzipan
- 750 grams icing sugar
- 200 millilitres aquafaba (aka chickpea water)
- 3 tsp glycerine
- red food gel
Soak the dried fruit in the rum for at least 45 minutes before you begin to bake your cake. (I prefer to leave my fruit to soak overnight).
The day you wish to bake your cake, begin by lining your cake tin with two layers of baking paper and pre-heating your oven to 140C / 275F/ gas mark 1.
In a large bowl, beat the non-dairy butter and sugar together until creamy and pale.
Next add the mashed banana and continue to beat, ensuring there are no lumps.
Fold in the flour, chopped almonds and cinnamon. Once these are well combined add in the fruit with any remaining rum, the mixed peel, glace cherries and the treacle. Mix well.
Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and place in the centre of the oven.
Bake for 4 hours and 45 minutes or until it is a golden brown and and the cake is coming away from the edges of the pan.
Remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Feed the cake with 2 tbsp of rum every couple of days until you are ready to decorate. Rotate the cake occasionally so you are feeding both the top and bottom of the cake.
Knead the marzipan until it is soft and pliable.
Roll it out into a large circle until it is large enough to cover both the top and sides of the cake.
Place the marzipan on top of the cake and carefully smooth down the edges, lifting up any pleats or folds with one hand and smoothing them our with the other.
Once covered with marzipan leave this to dry before icing. (I usually leave mine overnight).
To make the vegan royal icing, whisk the aquafaba with an electric mixer until foamy.
500 grams of the icing sugar and continue to whisk on a high speed until it is thick and glossy.
Whisk in the glycerine and the remaining icing sugar until the icing is able to form soft peaks in the bowl. It should be thick but spreadable. If it is too runny, simply add more icing sugar. If it is too thick, add more aquafaba.
Spoon roughly half of the icing directly on to the top of the cake. Using a large spatula, slowly spread the icing out to the edges and then down the sides of the cake.
Smooth out the top and sides of the cake (using extra icing from the bowl as required) then leave to set.
While the icing on the cake is firming up, make sure you have covered the remaining icing with clingfilm to stop it drying out.
When you are ready to ice the cake with your preferred design, colour the remaining icing sugar red and spoon it into a piping bag.
Cut just the tip off of the icing bag to create a small opening. This will allow you to carefully pipe small dots and turn them in to your favourite Scandinavia inspired fairlise design!
Once you have finished decorating, store the cake in an airtight container. The iced cake will last up to 2 weeks.