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I’m still working towards a love of Christmas cake. To me, it’s just a pile of boozy dried fruit – something to make you regular and drunk at the same time. Just like medicine. It’s a bit unfortunate really, because it’s actually a great recipe to make gluten-free. All that sticky fruit is a great binder, and there’s far more of that in there than flour. But it’s just so damn heavy…

This is what I’m baking in alternative. I do tend to make pain d’epices quite often anyway, and I’ve already got a super easy recipe here. This one is not quite as sweet, but it’s quite a bit healthier, especially for me, as I now have to skip the gluten and dairy totally as often as possible.

pain d'epices-sqIngredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup almond cream (or soy cream)
  • 2 cups Gluten Free self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup sorgham flour
  • 1/2 cup date dhibs or golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • orange rind (about a teaspoon), finely zested
  • pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 170ºC. Line a 20cm pan with baking paper.
  2. With a hand beater at high speed, beat eggs and oil. When well combined, add cream, sugar and syrup, and follow with dry ingredients on a low speed. Pour into baking tin.
  3. cook for 35-40 minutes or until a spike tests clean.

Serve slathered with almond butter or margarine and if you’re game, a sprinkling of rock salt, or ice the cake with a light tangy lemon frosting.


  • pain d'epices templateTo achieve the snowflake pattern, just make yourself a stencil with paper. I then brushed the cake lightly with a neutral flavoured oil, and placed the stencil on top, pinning it with dressmaking pins to stop it wiggling or blowing away. Then generously sprinkle with sifted icing sugar. Remove stencil and voila!
  • I find it best to take this cake out just before it is completely cooked. It will still cook through out in the open, but will retain a little moisture.
  • You may wish to add a little more sugar if you have a sweet tooth. The recipe could easily take another 1/4 cup of caster sugar. Decrease the flour by the same amount of sugar you add.
  • Depending on your gluten-free mix, you may want to go with a little more or less cream – some mixes are more drying than others. This was made with Doves Farm gluten free self raising mix. The sorghum flour is also optional. I like the wheaty taste and the texture but some find it a little grassy or bitter. Maybe try buckwheat or teff as a replacement, or just stick with 2 1/2 cups of your mix.
  • Also works very well in a loaf tin, and will make a good pretend-sandwich for gluten free kids’ lunchboxes. (use soy cream instead of almond – you know how schools get about nuts!)
If you like what you see, please subscribe! There’s a bonus this month – I’m sending out a free e-magazine with a stack of Christmas recipes. 

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