Sunday, 07 August 2022

Veggie Christmas cake is soul good

I’VE devised a vegetarian gluten free Christmas cake recipe for BBC Good Food.

I’VE devised a vegetarian gluten free Christmas cake recipe for BBC Good Food.

Easy to substitute beef suet and use Doves Farm rice-tapioca-maize flour, which Waitrose sell. But the cake needed to taste gorgeous.

My mate and Henley musician Mollie Marriott is a coeliac and vegetarian so was commandeered for taste testing. Not only has Mollie the sort of vocals that give you goosebumps but she also has a very discerning palate and we’ve come up with a delicious recipe.

Daughter of Steve Marriott, there’s soul in her DNA. Mollie signed her first record deal aged 12 with the girlband D2M. By 15 she had recorded with Oasis and also performed and recorded with Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood, Joe Brown, Mark Knopfler and Beyoncé.

But it is Mollie who is the real star — a world class performer, a voice as intoxicating as the dessert wine in my Christmas cake recipe.

For Paul and Mollie’s Christmas Cake — ingredients:

150g of each: sultanas, raisins, currants, halved glacé cherries, mixed peel

500ml apple juice

350g gluten free self-raising flour

2 tsp mixed spice

100ml sunflower oil

3 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp dark treacle

250ml dessert wine

2 eggs, beaten

50g hazelnuts, toasted

Put the dried fruit in a bowl, stir in the apple juice and leave to soak overnight. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Grease and line a deep round 20cm cake tin. Secure with string and triple folded brown paper around the outside.

Sift flour into a mixing bowl together with the mixed spice and make a well in the centre. Put the oil in a bowl, stir in the treacle, honey and wine. Now add the flour.

Drain the dried mixed fruit, discarding the apple juice. Add fruit to the cake mix. Add beaten eggs and hazelnuts. Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Turn mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for two hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack until cold, then lift out of the tin.

Don’t need to bake this cake weeks in advance, although it tastes better after a few days. Store in an airtight container.

Nana Clerehugh baked hers months before and kept her untouched Christmas cake in the pantry for years. We put the ancient cake on her coffin — it was the Great British Wake Off.

When Aunty Phyllis passed, sorting her freezer, we found a 20-year-old Christmas cake, dated 1989.

My daughter Matilda bakes gluten free cakes for the Hot Gossip Café in Friday Street. Try the Christmas cake throughout December.

Mollie Marriott will perform at the Crooked Billet on Monday, December 7. It will be a charismatic evening of R&B, soul and a little rock ‘n’ roll. For tickets and table reservations, call the pub on (01491) 681048.

• Paul Clerehugh, chef at Crooked Billet, Stoke Row and London St. Brasserie, Reading.

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