Xmas Cake with Spelt Flour and Molasses

, from Issue #75. November, 2017
Photography by Kelly Gibney.
Xmas Cake with Spelt Flour and Molasses

I love the richness that the hint of molasses brings. The wholemeal spelt flour adds a nice weight to the finished cake. My version skips nuts inside the cake itself and you can decide for yourself if you’d like to garnish the top with almonds. Bake your cake at least a few weeks before Christmas to give the flavour time to mature and deepen.


200 grams dried apricots, cut into small pieces
250 grams dried figs, cut into small pieces
250 grams prunes, cut into small pieces
400 grams sultanas
375ml brandy (plus more for feeding)
300 grams room-temperature butter
1 cup light muscovado sugar
5 medium free-range eggs
2 tablespoon molasses
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2½ cups wholemeal spelt flour
1½ cups almond meal
To garnish
whole roasted almonds (optional)



Place all the dried fruit and the brandy in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Place in a large bowl. Cover and leave to steep overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Prepare a 20cm x 20cm deep square cake tin (see Cook’s Tip below).

Use a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs one at a time (mixing well between each addition), followed by the molasses and lemon zest.

Mix through the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Use a wooden spoon to combine with the flour, almond meal and the soaked fruit.

Transfer the cake batter into the tin and use a spatula to flatten the top. Decorate with almonds, if using. Bake for 2½–3 hours or until a cake skewer comes out mostly clean. Wrap the cake in tinfoil while still warm to keep to keep it moist.

Once a week you can poke a few holes in the top of the cake and spoon over 1–2 tablespoons of brandy. This is called “feeding” the cake. It will help keep it moist and the flavour to develop and mature.

After each feeding, double wrap the cake in baking paper and then wrap tightly in tinfoil or store in an airtight cake tin. Makes 1 large cake

Cook's Tip: I like to prepare the tin by greasing it (so that the baking paper will stick). I cut one square piece to line the bottom of the tin and then criss-cross two large rectangles of baking paper (with a width the same as the tin). This makes it easy to remove the cake at the end. I wrap and store the cake using the paper I baked it in.