Fancy making homemade Christmas cake but don’t have the time? Make my Easy Christmas Cake Muffins instead! These cute mini Christmas cakes have all the flavours of a traditional Christmas cake but take just 45 minutes from start to finish. As a bonus they are gluten free, nut free, alcohol free and can easily be made dairy free too – making them perfect for taking to events or feeding to children.
Last year I shared with you my Easy Peasy Christmas Cake – a family recipe that is very easy and totally delicious…but, though it is easy – for a Christmas cake at least, it is quite time consuming.
I wanted to come up with a recipe that was even easier to make AND could be made quickly…and so began the idea of Christmas Cake Muffins – all the delicious flavour of a classic Christmas cake but without the long cook time.
So I looked at my traditional Christmas cake recipe and tried to simplify things a little further, then, instead of baking as a large cake, I divided the mixture into 12 muffin cases – meaning these cute mini Christmas cakes take just 30 minutes in the oven (compared to the usual 3 hours or more of traditional cakes).
But I decided to take these Easy Christmas Cake Muffins one step further and make them free-from friendly too. This Christmas I have been challenged by my friends in the Free From Gang to create recipes for a #FreeFromChristmas…free from at least one of the top 14 allergens.
By carefully adapting my traditional Christmas cake recipe I have made these Christmas Cake Muffins nut free and gluten free (using Vicki from the Free From Fairy’s amazing gluten and rice free self raising flour) …I have also made these muffins completely alcohol free, so they can be served to children (my little boy absolutely devoured these muffins after the photoshoot!) and those who don’t drink alcohol…and if you want to, you can make these dairy free too by using your favourite dairy free spread in place of the butter.
Not only are these muffins perfect if you or your family have to avoid gluten, nuts, alcohol or dairy, but it also means these Easy Christmas Cake Muffins are ideal for lunch boxes, bake sales and other events where certain ingredients are restricted (many schools are nut free these days, for example). They are also great if you are making a traditional Christmas cake, but perhaps some of your friends or relatives are following a free from diet – you can make a quick batch of these so no one misses out.
Of course if you like the look of this recipe but don’t need them to be free from, it’s the simplest thing in the world to adapt them. Simply swap the gluten free self-raising flour for regular self-raising flour, use your favourite tipple instead of the orange juice (sweet sherry works well) and swap 100g of the dried fruit for blanched almonds, if you want to make these nutty.
I like these Christmas muffins just as they are – undecorated, but if you want to decorate them, a drizzle of icing, made by mixing icing sugar with the juice of an orange would be lovely and you could top with some more glace cherries or any decoration of your choosing!
If you want more delicious free from recipes, do check out all the other #FreeFromChristmas recipes the Free From Gang are making this year. I’ve listed the recipes below my Easy Christmas Cake Muffins recipe and you can also follow the #FreeFromChristmas hashtag on social media.
Easy Christmas Cake Muffins (Gluten Free, Nut Free, Alcohol Free)
- 150 g butter or dairy free spread
- 150 g dark soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 200 g gluten free self-raising flour (I use Free From Fairy)
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 500 g mixed dried fruit
- 150 g glace cherries halved and rinsed to remove sticky coating
- Juice of 1 orange (roughly 75ml / ¼cup)
- Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4 / 350F. Put 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale.
- Add the eggs in one at a time, stirring after each one.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour and spices, mixed fruit and rinsed cherries.
- Slowly add the flour and dried fruit mixture to the butter/sugar/eggs mixture. Stirring thoroughly each time, to ensure even distribution of fruit.
- Add the orange juice and mix thoroughly.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases (roughly 100g/3.5oz in each case).
- Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Check with a skewer – if cooked the skewer should come out clean. If not give the muffins an extra couple of minutes and try again.
- Serve just as they are or with a simple icing made from icing sugar and orange juice.
Get More Easy Peasy Christmas Recipes here…
The #FreeFromChristmas Challenge
I have made these Easy Christmas Cake Muffins as my contribution to the Free From Gang’s #FreeFromChristmas challenge. For more delicious #FreeFromChristmas recipes check out the following blogs, or follow the #FreeFromChristmas and #FreeFromGang hashtags on social media!
Fabulous #FreeFromChristmas Recipes…
Christmas Biscuits (GF, DF, Ve) by Nathalie at Intolerant Gourmand
Clementine and Cranberry Wreath Bread (GF, NF, SyF) by Vicki at Free From Fairy
Vegan Mince Pies (GF, DF, Ve) by Eva at The Healthy Tart
Gluten Free Mini Christmas Cakes (GF, DF, NF, Ve) by Rebecca at Glutarama
Pork, Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls (GF, DF, EF, NF) by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie
Protein Hot Chocolate with Orange (GF, DF, Ve) by Eva at The Healthy Tart
Dairy Free Homemade Bailey’s (GF, DF) by Rebecca at Glutarama
Traditional Christmas Cake (GF, DF) by Laura at Dairy Free Kids
Boozy Bailey’s Real Hot Chocolate (GF, NF, can be DF) by Kate at Gluten Free Alchemist
#FreeFromChristmas Biscuits (DF EF SyF GF NF) by Midge at Peachicks Bakery
Black Forest Christmas Cake (DF EF SyF GF NF) by Midge at Peachicks Bakery
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