Vegan Christmas cake served on baking parchment

Vegan Christmas cake

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 10 mins


cuts into 12 -15 slices

Substitute eggs for chia seeds in this vegan take on a traditional Christmas cake. The coconut oil adds a great background flavour and keeps the cake moist

Nutrition and extra info

  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal550
  • fat25g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs67g
  • sugars57g
  • fibre3g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.15g
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  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
  • zest and juice of 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • zest and juice of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 150ml rum, plus extra for feeding
    Dark rum cocktail with a lime slice



    Rum is a type of spirit based on sugar cane. First produced in the 1600s on slave plantations in…

  • 250g coconut oil
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, rum, coconut oil and sugar into a large pan set over a medium heat. Give it a good mix, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins until the sugar has dissolved. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins. 

  2. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside, tying it with string to secure. Mix the chia seeds with 150ml water. Leave to sit for 5 mins until gel-like and thick.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture, along with the chia seed mix, and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spoon and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

  4. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of rum. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

  5. To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

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Comments, questions and tips

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18th Feb, 2020
Don’t make this in a loose-bottom tin. I’ve just done so, and all the coconut oil seeped out and now lines the oven. Might have to re-make it.
Nick CP's picture
Nick CP
17th Dec, 2019
Substitute the flour for gluten-free all purpose (no self raising), and make this both GF and vegan! Worked perfectly.
25th Dec, 2018
Had to update my previous comment. We cut into this last night and it is perfect. I'll be doing this every year. Thanks BBC Good Food!
23rd Dec, 2018
I made this on stir up Sunday, just started eating this afternoon and it’s absolutely delicious! I’m so pleased as this is my first ever Christmas cake. Made as the recipe except I used gluten free flour and brandy to substitute for the rum. I fed it two or three times and it tastes nicely boozy. Very moist and dense. Recommended.
Nayandara Chandrasena's picture
Nayandara Chand...
4th Dec, 2018
Nice recipe, thanks
28th Nov, 2018
I make the Make & Mature Christmas Cake every year and it is amazing but this year I'm going vegan. I made this yesterday and it is exactly the same recipe, swapping chia eggs for eggs and coconut oil for butter. It was easy enough to put together but I mixed in the chia eggs to the wet fruit so it would be easier to distribute. I do wonder if flax eggs would work better as they are my preferred replacement in cakes. I think I would have preferred to use a vegan margarine instead of the coconut oil but once out of the oven it looked great, maybe a little more dry than the non vegan version but I'll keep it fed until Christmas and I'm pretty certain it'll taste just as good.
27th Nov, 2018
We made this at the weekend (25/11/18) and so far so good. I assumed it would come out quite flat and solid but not at all - it's risen fine and looks like a decent Christmas cake. Obviously won't know what it tastes like for another month but we're now feeding it till then. My expectation is that the chia seeds will make it slightly denser/chewier but this may be offset by the more moist fat of the coconut oil. My only other concern is whether it will last as long as a traditional, egg-based Christmas cake. We'll find out. We didn't deviate from the recipe and it was straightforward. The only subtle difference I might try is adding the chia seed mix to the fruit before the dry ingredients - it was quite hard to distribute the gel along with the flour without overmixing. Thanks for the recipe!
10th Jan, 2019
An update - this turned out to be excellent. It both looked and tasted the part. Perhaps ever-so-slightly over-moist for my taste so next time I may try with margarine instead of coconut oil and feed with slightly less alcohol. But given how few recipes there are online for a veganised Christmas cake, I thought this was simple and great. I might also make it half-size next time - we're still eating it every night now. I guess that answers my query about longevity!
15th Dec, 2019
I'm just making this. There seems to be a lot of coconut oil in it. I imagine it will firm up as it cools but some oil has soaked into the brown paper. Is this normal?
lulu_grimes's picture
16th Dec, 2019
Hello, How is the cake looking now it has cooled? Coconut oil does leach out a little more than a firmer fat and most cakes leave some trace of fat on the paper they cook in. Please let us know if you have any other queries.
Zoe George's picture
Zoe George
11th Nov, 2019
Can I substitute chia seeds for Flax seeds? If s is it the same quantity?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Nov, 2019
Flax powder would be the best substitute and should work well as a replacement. We haven't tested this so cannot give exact quantities. You could try adding a couple of tablespoons and seeing if you get a thick consistency and if not, add more. You can use leftover flax powder as a thickener in savoury dishes such as stews too.
30th Nov, 2018
Is it best to grind the chia seeds to a powder before mixing with water? Or leave the seeds whole?
goodfoodteam's picture
3rd Dec, 2018
Thanks for your question. There's no need to grind the chia seeds.
6th Nov, 2018
I'm really keen to see if anyone else has followed this recipe and had success. I make the Make & Mature Christmas Cake every year and it is amazing. This year I'm going for the vegan approach and notice this is identical apart from coconut oil replacing the butter and chia seeds replacing the eggs.
27th Nov, 2018
I hope you do try it so then you can give us the direct comparison between the two versions. We haven't tasted it yet and haven't tried the original recipe to compare, but to the point it came out of the oven at least, the vegan version looks decent.
Charlotte Neph's picture
Charlotte Neph
21st Dec, 2018
For the last few years, I've veganised the "Make & Mature Christmas Cake", and it was very similar to this recipe, only with flax eggs rather than chia, and brandy in stead of rum. It's always worked brilliantly as a Christmas cake, but a word of warning: I made it for a summer wedding once, and it turns out that in the higher summer temperatures the coconut oil melts and oozes out as it has a fairly low melting point. Luckily I discovered this before the wedding, and made a new version with vegan margarine (still ate the coconut oil one of course, it was delish :) ). The margarine version was lovely too, and that's what I've made for Christmas this year as well, just in case the heating is turned up too high at my mother's house where we're celebrating this year.
10th Jan, 2019
Thank you for this tip. I was wondering if it came out OK with normal margarine instead of coconut oil. I think I'd prefer to make it that way next time.
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