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Alternative Christmas Cake.

So every year I like to bake a cake for the Christmas table, however nothing traditional as I love to think up something different but still festive. Last year was a dark chocolate and pear tart with mint liqueur, our family love chocolate so this was a great alternative to the yule log I also make.  

This year I wanted to make something different, Food Thoughts new range of Cacao Melts came out just in time to spark some new ideas. With Winter Foodies Festival coming up and Christmas it was the perfect excuse for a new recipe!

This year for the Christmas table we have a chocolate and ginger cake with a brandy buttercream filling and a dark chocolate icing. Winter spices and alcohol.. the ultimate xmas combo!!

The recipe is gluten free and is very easily Vegan too, I will provide the alternatives to suit all requirements :-)


For the Cake Batter:

225g GF Self Raising Flour

85g Cocoa Powder (I use Food Thoughts)

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

2 tsp Ground Ginger

2 eggs (to make this recipe vegan use egg replacer or aquafaba, the equivalent of 2 eggs)

350g caster sugar

250ml milk (to make this recipe vegan use a soya milk)

125ml vegetable oil

125ml boiling water

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3-4 pieces of stem ginger

For the Brandy Buttercream:

100g Vegan Spread (I use vitalite)

200g Icing Sugar

2-3 tbsp brandy. (Depending how strong you like it, you can use more or less.. the more you add the more icing sugar you will need so the mixture is not wet and runny).

For the Chocolate Icing:

150g Dark Chocolate Cacao Melts 

150g Double Cream (To make this recipe vegan, add a soya cream alternative E.G. Alpro coconut cuisine) 

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional- to add another element of spice).


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease to cake tins.

  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and ginger into a bowl a stir together.

  • In another bowl crack two eggs, (or egg replacer) add the sugar and whisk until smooth and creamy. 

  • Add in the vanilla extract.

  • Add in half of the milk and a quarter of the dry ingredients. Mix together.

  • Slowly add in the rest of the milk followed by another quarter of the dry ingredients.

  • Add in the oil and rest of the dry ingredients until all is combined. Continue mixing whilst adding ingredients.

  • At this point the mixture will be very thick. Add in the water slowly to loosen the mixture. Keep adding whilst mixing, until the cake mixture becomes runny and pourable once again. (you may find not all of the water is essential, use your own judgement to how runny you find your mixture).

  • Chop about 3-4 pieces of stem ginger and fold into the mixture.

  • Spoon the mixture into two greased cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. 

Once the cake is in the oven you can move on to the filling. 

  • In a bowl whisk the icing sugar, vegan spread and brandy. Do this for 5 minutes or so until the mixture is thick and creamy. Place into a piping bag and set aside in the fridge to chill.

When the cake is cool and the brandy buttercream is set you can make the icing.

  • Melt a tub of Dark Chocolate Cacao Melts, then pour in the cream. (add in a tsp of cinnamon if you a spicier icing).

  • Mix together until the mixture turns into a thick spreadable consistency.

Now time to assemble!

  • Place one of the sponges onto your cake-stand and pipe the brandy butter filling. (do not go too close to the edge - you don't want leakage ..but be generous)!

  • Place the second cake sponge on top.

  • Now spoon the icing on top of the cake. 

  • Use a spatula to spread the icing evenly over the top and down the sides to cover the cake.

  • To decorate sprinkle over some cinnamon 

I hope you enjoy making this alternative Christmas cake!

Quick Tip:

Egg replacer.

You can buy this at Holland and Barrett and most supermarkets, it is about £3 a box and is the equivalent to about 66 eggs!

To make one egg add a teaspoon of egg replacer to 2 tablespoons of water. Add a dash of lemon juice to the mix to allow the mixture to react.

Aquafaba (Chickpea Brine)

All this is, is the liquid from a tin of chickpeas. Drain a can of chickpeas and heat in the microwave for a minute or two. Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice a whisk.

3 tablespoons of this mixture is the equivalent to one egg.

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