Red-nosed reindeer cake

Create a quick and easy traditional Christmas cake to remember this festive season!

Brought to you by Bonne Maman

This fun cake can also be made gluten and dairy-free!

Tip: We’ve stacked two cakes together, but just one cake will make 8-10 slices. Alternatively, bake the mixture in small baked bean tins to make cute individual cakes to give away as gifts. The cakes can be made well ahead – perhaps with your Christmas puddings on Stir-Up Sunday – and will freeze beautifully for up to three months. 

Fancy sticking on the reindeer theme? Why not try creating these cute reindeer chocolate treats in decorated gift bags! Not a fan of a traditional Christmas cake? Why not try this chocolate covered sponge reindeer cake by Dani Brazier from Blue Door Bakery.

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For the cake

  • 400g (14oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 300ml (10fl oz) dry cider or apple juice
  • 225g (8oz) whole dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp Bonne Maman Apricot, Mirabelle Plum or Fig Conserve, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 120g (4oz) fine polenta
  • 2 tsp baking powder (use gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 2 large free-range egg whites or 5 tbsp chilled aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid), if vegan
  • 2 tbsp brandy or dry sherry, optional

To decorate

  • 300g (101/2oz) white sugarpaste
  • 50g (13/4oz) red sugarpaste
  • red gingham ribbon and bells (optional)

For the antlers

  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter or sunflower spread, if vegan
  • 25g (1oz) demerara sugar
  • 50g (13/4oz) golden syrup or molasses
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (use gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg or 1 tsp milled flaxseeds soaked in 1 tbsp water for 5 minutes, if vegan
  • 125g (41/2oz) plain flour


For the cake

Put the dried fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour in 100ml (31/2fl oz) of the cider or apple juice. Leave to soak overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Line an 18cm (7in) round, 10cm (4in) deep cake tin or 6 small 220g (8oz) baked bean tins with baking parchment.
Put the dates, spice, conserve and remaining cider or apple juice into a saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
In a blender or processor, puree the date mixture with the banana. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the citrus zest, soaked dried fruit, polenta and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites or aquafaba into soft peaks and fold into the fruit mixture. Spoon into the lined cake tins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes for individual cakes or 45-50 minutes for a large one, covering with foil after 30 minutes. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean when it’s cooked.
Drizzle the brandy or sherry over the hot cake, if using, then leave to cool in the tin. The cooked cakes keep well, wrapped in clingfilm and foil, in an airtight tin for up to 3 days, or can be frozen undecorated.

To decorate

Sandwich the two large cakes together with extra Bonne Maman conserve.
Roll out the white sugarpaste and, using the cake tins as a template, cut a curving line about 3cm (11/4in) out from the edge of the tin. Brush the top of the cake/s with a little extra Bonne Maman conserve and cover the top/s with the sugarpaste.
Roll the red sugarpaste into one large or 6 small red ‘noses’ and press onto the middle of the cake/s.

To make the antlers

To make gingerbread dough for the antlers, put the butter or spread in a bowl. In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup and spice and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda (it will puff up) and pour the hot mixture over the butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Beat in the egg or flaxseed mix and slowly blend in the flour. It will look as though there is too much flour but it will blend in. Knead the dough in the bowl until smooth.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment, to about 3mm (1/8in) thickness. Lift the rolled dough, still on its parchment and put on a baking sheet. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Cut out the outline of 2 large or 12 small antlers. Lift off excess dough. Brush with extra beaten egg or flaxseeds and bake until golden and crisp – approximately 7-12 minutes depending on their size.
Cool on a wire rack and when cold, tape a long wooden skewer or cocktail stick to the back of each antler with strong tape and push into the cake either side of the nose. Decorate with red gingham ribbon and bells.
Last updated 6 months ago

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