Attempting to eat healthily during the Christmas period can be challenging to say the least. For some, it’s a case of controlling calorie intake as part of an on-going weight management program. For others, consuming excessive quantities of sugar in almost everything in sight represents a potentially serious health risk.
The good news is that with a little creativity, watching what you eat this Christmas doesn’t have to mean compromising your enjoyment. In fact, some of the healthiest substitutions out there for the usual Christmas classics can be every bit as good as the originals.
If not better!
The Christmas cake recipe outlined here has been devised as an alternative indulgence for individuals with blood sugar problems such as diabetes, pre-diabetes and gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Far from a diluted version of the classic Christmas cake, it’s one of the most delicious festive treats you’ll ever experience.
Well worth giving a try, if you’d prefer to limit your sugar and alcohol intake this Christmas.
170g pitted prunes
115g dried apple rings
115g dried apricots
50ml brandy or tea
1 small apple, washed and grated
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla essence
170g soft butter
4 medium eggs
85g ground almonds
85g rice bran (or wholemeal flour)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
The day before you make the cake, chop the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over the brandy/tea, leave overnight, stirring occasionally.
Line a 20cm deep cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Set the oven to 150 C fan assisted, or 160 C electric (gas mark 2).
Cream the butter and xylitol, stir in the chopped fruit, orange zest and grated apple. Add the vanilla and spices and beat the eggs in one at a time. Don’t worry if it looks a bit curdled, it will be fine!
Stir in the ground almonds, rice bran and baking powder thoroughly. Finally stir in the juice from half the orange to start with, adding more if necessary to make a soft consistency.
Pour into the cake tin and level the top.
Bake for 1.5 – 2 hrs until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is getting too dark, put a piece of foil over it. As soon as the tin is cool enough to touch, put a piece of foil tightly over the top and leave till completely cold – this softens the top of the cake.
Remove from the tin and wrap in a double thickness of foil.
Due to its relatively low alcohol and sugar content, this alternative Christmas cake will not keep for quite as long as the real thing. It’s good in a cake tin at room temperature for about a week, but can also be frozen ahead of time for at least a month.
Not that it will last that long – one taste and you’ll be looking at your new go-to dessert for the whole family!
You can access a complete archive of healthy recipes right here, and of course if you have any questions please do contact me.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas