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Vegan Christmas Cake Recipe

Christmas cake

2 hours

This recipe is a family fruit cake recipe that we’ve adapted to make suitable, as a vegan Christmas cake. It’s a tried and tested recipe, handed down from Suma member Wendy’s mum. It’s a family favourite, and has been made many times over by different members of her family.

It includes brandy (optional), as some people prefer their cake without it. Once baked you can decorate it as you like, go traditional and use marzipan and icing sugar, try something totally different or leave it plain. The flavour of the fruit is enough for it to be utterly delicious on it’s own.

You might want to check out Auntie Vi’s Christmas Cake recipe too (its not vegan though).

Ingredients for the Christmas cake

  1. 12oz / 340g plain flour FG069
  2. 6oz / 170g soft brown sugar LJ199
  3. 6oz / 170g currants DR097
  4. 6oz / 170g sultanas DR114
  5. 5oz / 140g raisins DR113
  6. 2oz / 55g glace cherries – chopped DR202
  7. 1oz / 25g mixed peel – chopped DR203
  8. 1/2 pint / 280ml soya milk (or you can use oat milk, rice milk, or coconut milk)
  9. 2 1/2oz / 70g soya or sunflower dairy free spread MA055
  10. 1 tsp bicarbonate soda LJ040
  11. 1/2 tsp cinnamon HE139
  12. 1/4 tsp nutmeg HE150
  13. 1/2 tsp mixed spice HE148
  14. pinch of salt LJ005
  15. 6 tbsp / 90ml brandy (optional)
  16. finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Method to make the Christmas cake:

  1. Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice in to a large mixing bowl, then rub in the dairy free spread.
  2. Stir in the sugar, currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries.
  3. Add the lemon rind and give it a good stir.
  4. Add all but 2tbsp of the soya milk and stir lightly.
  5. Heat the remaining soya milk in a pan or microwave so it is warm but not boiling, you should be able to touch it without burning your finger.
  6. Pour on to the bicarb and then stir it thoroughly into the mixture, without actually beating.
  7. Put into a lined 73/4 inch diameter tin, smooth and slightly hollow out centre.
  8. Bake at about gas mark 4 for an hour, then turn down to gas mark 3 for a further 45 minutes.

It’s done when a normal skewer comes out clean.

If you are going to use the brandy:

Leave the cake to cool and then prick with a cocktail stick and feed with a third of the brandy. Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container or tin. You can pour the rest of the brandy over the cake at weekly intervals. It will keep for 3-4 weeks, but not as long as a traditional fruitcake.

64 thoughts on “Vegan Christmas Cake Recipe

  1. The recipe lists margarine amongst the ingredients but nowhere in the method does margarine get added. Where does it come in? Sounds more like a fruit bread without fat in it. It would be more traditional too and result in a longer life for the cake to overnight soak the fruit in brandy as well as add some by pricking the top every couple of weeks before eating.

  2. Well spotted Lottie! I have now updated the recipe, I must have missed this when typing it out.

    Originally the recipe was for a family fruit cake, so it doesn’t use as much fruit as a traditional Christmas cake, but we think it makes a great vegan alternative to Christmas cake.

    Thanks for the tip on soaking the fruit, sounds like a good idea.

    Amy @ Suma

  3. Brilliant! Just what I was looking for! A VEGAN Christmas cake. I thought I would have to guess and veganise a normal recipe but this is just brilliant since it will probably work and I have had a few disasters over the years with trying to make Christmas cakes. The fact it will keep for so long is also a real plus since most vegan cakes do not.I shall buy what I do not have and make this tomorrow.
    Thank you!

  4. This is simply wonderful, I soaked the fruit in a good amount of brandy before baking, I left the fruit over night, then made the cake the following day, it has rested for about 10 days to let the flavours develop and mellow and it is one of the best Christmas cakes I have made, I am not vegan but allergic to eggs which developed in the last year so it is my first attempt at a vegan fruit cake, now I just need to make vegan marzipan and I am good. I made a cake early to try it before I made it for the whole family for Christmas and my fears are unfounded, thank you for a simply wonderful egg free alternative to one of my favourite treats

  5. Hi
    On the margarine front, it states 2 and a half ounces/125g. But 2 1/2 oz is not 125g. Which measurement is correct? Help! I’m in the middle of making the cake!!

    1. Sorry for the late reply, we’ve been away enjoying the Christmas break, so I hope your cake turned out ok!

      I would stick to the ounce measurement, this is what the recipe was written in and I converted it to grams. I must have made an error in my calculations somewhere. I have now corrected the recipe to 2 1/2 ounces, 70g, which should be more accurate.

      Thanks for bringing to our attention Kerry 🙂

  6. If you don’t want to use alcohol it tastes stunning with Sainsburys exotic fruit cocktail juice.

    My students loved the cake with this variation

  7. This is absolutely brilliant, i made it last year and it was really fantastic x thankyou for my default go to christmas recipe x

  8. Nom Nom!
    This is dangerously good. We’re not fans of dark Xmas cakes in this house, so I replaced the currants and raisins with a mixture of crystallised ginger, pineapple and papaya, and replaced the cherries with dried cranberries.
    It’s absolutely scrummy – cheers, guys!

  9. hi thanks os much for this recipe. I made it two weeks before I Christmas day and substituted the brandy with some tropical fruit juice. I didn`t put raisin in because I don`t like them but the result was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! It all went on Christmas day. I was over the moon with the texture, taste and everything. I actually marzipanned and iced it!!! I was very proud of myself. Ist Chritmas cake I have EVER made. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  10. Hi there,
    I have been looking for this but I also need to leave out any fat. Can it work with just the bicarb and flour (plus perhaps banana?)

    1. Hi Chloe,
      I can’t give you a difinitive answer on that, but having asked some vegan bakers at Suma I got this response from Alex:

      I recommend trying…

      -Apple sauce as a replacement to oil or marg
      -Prune puree to replace oil (an example I found for this was: 6 oz prunes, 1 cup water, 2 tsp vanilla pureed in blender)
      -Pureed Tofu (silken is usually good)

      My favorite method however is using ground flax seed or ground linseed: you have to put in one or two heaping tablespoons of the ground flax seed, and cover it with water.. then heat gently until it thickens (stir throughout).. (this works not only as good oil or marg substitute for vegan baking but an excellent egg replacer!!) And it gives added nutritional benefits! I’ve not tried it in a Christmas cake but I have made amazing muffins and cupcakes with this technique!

      Oh, and a bit of extra bicarb does seem to help with the raising aspect.

      I hope this response is helpful and good luck with your no-fat baking!

  11. Hi, i`ve been asked to make an egg free Christmas cake for a colleague,this recipe looks fab !!Do i have to use soya milk or can normal milk be used ?

  12. I always make my regular christmas cake about now and its perfect just in time Christmas – is there a reason that the vegan version only lasts 4-6 weeks? Ideally I’d like to make it sooner rather than later.

    1. I’m not sure of the reason why it only lasts 3-4 weeks. You could always try and make it and let us know how it turns out? I’m sure if stored correctly it should last a lot longer 🙂

  13. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, great for a family of gluten intolerants, coeliac sufferers and one lactose and egg intolerant member, a real challenge to feed but such fun once you get it worked out! I have a great gluten free Christmas cake recipe if anyone is interested, but it does contain eggs and butter. 🙂

    1. Juju We would love to have a copy of your gluten free Christmas cake. We could publish it on our site if you were happy with that?

  14. Hi Deepali,

    I would probably keep the temperature the same, as it is already fairly low, but turn it down to gas mark 3 after 45 mins, rather than an hour. I would then bake for a further 20 minutes and do the toothpick test to see if it is baked, and cook for 10 or 15 minutes longer if needed. Do let us know how you get on 🙂

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  17. Hi, thanks so much for this recipe, this was my first Christmas cake, I made two and both came out really well. Do you have a recipe for a darker cake (I know some Christmas cakes contain dark muscovado and black treacle)? many thanks, Natalie

  18. Hi , I made this cake at Christmas for my daughter who is vegan as a surprise , she loved this cake as did all of her friends who claimed it was the best fruit cake they had ever tasted…. Thank you so much for the recipe which I am now using again for an Easter cake for her…. You don’t need to wait for an occasion to make this cake and you certainly don’t need to be vegan to eat it…. Thanks again

    1. Hi Dorothy
      Thanks for your interest in the recipe. Gas mark 4 is equivalent to 180°C (or 350°F) and gas mark 3 is 160°C (or 325°F). Please let us know how your Christmas cake turns out!

  19. Hi, just wanted to say this recipe is great!! My fiance loves it he is vegan. I make it last year and the whole family ate it. They loved it too. I will be using this recipe every year. I’m even making one early because its that good :). Thankyou. Nakita xx

  20. Have just made this as a gift for my Indian friends who are strict vegans but love cake! It has turned out really well and I know they will love it.

  21. Have just made this cake with gluten free flour so it is suitable foe veggies vegans and gluten free! I used Cointreau and marmalade to secure marzipan using the orange flavour superb ! Thanks

  22. Hello .. I plan to make this recipe with out the brandy … will it keep for 4 weeks with out brandy?

    1. Hi Syreeta, Its should be fine without the brandy, but you will have to wrap it in grease prof paper and then foil so it does not dry out and it should last till Christmas.

  23. My daughter is getting married in may his year …I like this recipe and wonder if anyone else has used this ….I have to cook a three tier cake …round.

    Any comments to help me would be appreciated.

    1. Hi As it says in the article, this cake is one of our member’s family favourites, and has been made many times over by different members of her family. we are sure it would make a wonderful wedding cake. And best wishes to your daughter and future husband!

  24. Hi

    Just finished making it. Didn’t have vegan spread or soya milk so opted for using a can of high quality coconut milk (75% coconut). Mix taste lovely will see what it is like to eat la

  25. Made this cake 3 weeks ago, I did add the brandy. Covered it with a thin layer of marzipan and icing (shop bought). Well, this has to be the best Christmas cake I have ever tasted. Moist and really tasty, I would recommend adding the brandy. It's so good. Printed off the recipe to use again next year.

  26. Made this cake today. It looks and smells yummy. I soaked the fruit overnight in a good slug of brandy. I can't ice it as it's for a vegan but it looks good so doesn't need it. I will just stick some plastic holly on top. I also am keeping the recipe for the future.

  27. Cake in oven. Smells lovely. Soaked fruit in organic Orange juice overnight in fridge. Have used spelt flour. All organic ingredients. Omitted the cherries as couldn't find any. I have a glass jar of organic mixed peel left. I am going to marzipan and ice it tomorrow. 🙂

  28. Hi,

    I’ve used this recipe before to make my sons birthday cake (as he has an egg allergy). However I intend to double the recipe this time, as he wants a particular themed cake. How long would you suggest I cook it for? Thank you for your help.

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  30. Hi I have just made this cake I wanted to make it early as I’m feeding it with alcohol it says it only last 4-6 weeks is this true why does it not last any longer than this, please can you help me
    Thanks lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I’ve just asked Wendy who provided the recipe and she says that it’s a traditional fruit cake recipe that she made vegan, as the original recipe didn’t have any eggs in it. It doesn’t have the same volume of fruit as a traditional Christmas cake, or any alcohol. Apparently it’s the combination of fruit and alcohol that normally makes a traditional christmas cake last a long time. Because dried fruit has a low water content, if cake contains a lot of fruit, it helps it last. As you have added the alcohol, it may extend the amount of time it lasts? Perhaps you can remember to let us know how long your cake lasts for, and we can update the information on this page? Hope it is yummy!

  31. Hi,

    I don’t eat eggs but do use dairy and haven’t found a recipe like that so can I just replace the soya milk and butter with cow’s milk and butter in the same quantities?

    Many thanks

  32. Hi

    Thank you for sharing your recipie. I have to make a dairy free cake for a friend and thus recipie has helped tremendously.


  33. I made this cake for the families of some children in my kindergarten class and, as I also have to cater for gluten-free needs, I used gluten free flour (a little less) and and a little almond meal.

    I also used coconut milk rather than soy, and replaced dairy-free spread with coconut oil. Rather than tempting fate with one large cake, I baked 3 small long cakes, in 5cm x 20cm tins. Cooking time was reduced to about 3/5 of given time. Worked a treat!

  34. Hi, I made this cake 5 weeks ago, I have fed it brandy weekly. I came to decorate it today and it had mould growing on the top and sides. I made a tiny muffin sized one out of the mixture to taste before decorating as the large cake was to be a gift and I hadn’t used a vegan Christmas cake recipe before. This had only had brandy fed to it twice and it was completely mouldy. So I would say 3-4 weeks max? I’m now making a new one tomorrow which won’t have time to mature!! Hope this is helpful Lisa

    1. Hi Janice,
      Sorry to hear that your cake went mouldy, what a dissapointment! That’s happened to me before as well (not this recipe), only I didn’t find out until my dad had taken a bite! Thanks for letting us know, I will update this recipe so it’s clear to people in the future.
      All the best,
      Amy – Suma Web Team

  35. I made this, my first foray into Christmas bakery, on the traditional “Stir up Sunday” but soaked the fruit in Brandy for 24hrs beforehand. There is one slice left after nearly a month. I found the cake to be a little on the dry side after all this time but that’s a small price to pay for such a really good recipe. (It can easily be remedied by adding a bit more milk or brandy too). Thoroughly impressed, thankyou.

  36. I always bake my Christmas cake during the Autumn half term break from school. Last year I baked it earlier as we had a new kitchen fitted during half term. This was my first ever vegan cake and I was a little worried that the recommended keeping time was quite short. However, I fed it with brandy regularly and it kept beautifully. In fact it was so delicious that I am about to make another for a St George’s day event at our church. Many thanks for such a scrumptious recipe!

  37. I’m going to make this cake as an alternative for vegans at my son’s wedding. I would be obliged if someone could advise which is the best milk to use? I’ve never used any of these milks except for coconut milk and I only use that in curries. Also is Dr Oekter marzipan suitable for vegans? The ingredients of the marzipan are sugar, almonds, glucose syrup, invert sugar syrup and water. If so, I intend to cover and decorate the cake with this marzipan. Would there be any problems if I add ground walnut and pecans into this recipe? Problems such as the milk reacting to the nuts. I know how to add other ingredients to a recipe, I’m just not sure how these milks are when used for baking. I would really appreciate if you could advise if rapeseed oil is suitable for vegans as I intend to use it in something else.Thank you in advance for any replies.

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