Is Christmas Cake Vegan? Best Brands To Buy & More
Is Christmas cake vegan? In this post, we’ll take a look at the ingredients typically found in a traditional recipe, easy baking substitutes, and the best vegan Christmas cakes to buy.
As Christmas approaches, I’m sure many of you will be thinking about one of the most popular festive traditions- indulging in a slice of rich and fruity Christmas cake! But if you’re following a vegan diet, you might be wondering if it’s suitable to eat or not. As part of my “Is It Vegan?” series, I thought I’d write a post to clear things up.
What is Christmas cake?
Christmas cake is a decadent fruitcake that’s usually topped with marzipan and royal icing; it’s gorgeous to look at and makes a stunning festive centrepiece. The cake usually contains some type of alcohol, whether that’s brandy, sherry or rum, but there are also alcohol-free versions available to buy.
One interesting fact about Christmas cakes is that they taste best when made way ahead of time- this allows time for the flavours to develop, resulting in a richer, denser cake. I was surprised to find that alcohol-soaked Christmas cakes can last for many years without spoiling!
Christmas Cake Ingredients
To determine if Christmas cake is vegan, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients. Traditional Christmas cake typically contains the following:
- Dried Fruit. Dried fruits such as raisins, currants, sultanas and glace cherries are often used in a Christmas cake. These are naturally vegan ingredients.
- Flour. This is the base of the cake and it’s vegan!
- Sugar. Sugar, both brown and white, is vegan in the UK. Be cautious of non-organic sugar in the USA which is sometimes filtered using bone char.
- Butter. Christmas cake traditionally uses butter as the source of fat which, as it comes from milk, is not vegan.
- Eggs. Eggs are an essential ingredient in most Christmas cake recipes. This is another non-vegan ingredient.
- Almonds. Almonds add extra flavour and texture to the recipe. Almonds are a plant-based food.
- Alcohol. As mentioned earlier in the post, alcohols such as brandy or sherry are often added to recipes. Most alcohols are vegan but it’s wise to double-check.
- Spices. Spices such as cinnamon and cloves add festive flavour to this cake. All spices are naturally vegan.
- Baking powder. Baking powder is a vegan-friendly leavening agent.
- Marzipan. Store-bought marzipan is usually vegan but always make sure to check the ingredients before buying.
- Royal icing. This typically contains egg whites but it’s easy to make your own vegan royal icing using aquafaba.
Vegan-friendly ingredient substitutes
If you want to have a go at making your own vegan Christmas cake at home, here are some things to make a note of.
- Butter. Substitute dairy butter for a plant-based alternative such as Flora plant butter. A ratio of 1:1 will work well in most recipes.
- Eggs. Instead of eggs, you can use something like flaxseeds or apple sauce to help bind the ingredients together. I talk more about this in my vegan egg substitutes guide.
- Check Alcohol. While most alcohol is vegan, always make sure; I recommend using Barnivore as a guide. Alternatively, you can use apple juice for a non-alcoholic version.
- Royal icing and Marzipan. Most ready-made marzipan is vegan, but again, always check the labels. Royal icing, which is made with eggs, can be made vegan using aquafaba. Make sure to check out my vegan royal icing recipe!
- Decorations: If using ready-made decorations for your cake, be mindful of ingredients such as gelatine, milk, egg, honey, or non-vegan e-numbers.
Vegan Christmas Cake to buy
If you’d rather skip the baking and just get on with the eating, you can grab yourself a ready-made vegan Christmas cake. Here are my top 3 favourite vegan Christmas cakes to buy:
- Go Vegan probios organic spelt Christmas cake
- Morrisons free-from Christmas cake slices
- Waitrose vegan iced fruit cake
So, is Christmas cake vegan? Traditionally no, because it contains egg and milk products. However, with a few easy ingredient swaps and some careful label-reading, it definitely can be. Whether you choose to make your own at home or buy a ready-made vegan Christmas cake, you can absolutely enjoy this tasty treat during the festive season!