Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake

Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake

Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake is an easy cake to assemble last minute. A lightly spiced almond sponge made incredibly festive by its secret ingredient – mincemeat. Drizzled with a quick tipsy Brandy Cream Icing.

Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake

It’s not that I don’t like regular Christmas Cake. I’m happy to eat a boozy fruit cake any time of the year. However, I always feel that on top of the Christmas pudding and all the mince pies, a traditional Christmas cake can sometimes be a bit too much.

Close up of Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake with slice on a plate in front

This Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake is my favourite way to keep a Christmas cake in the mix whilst making it a little more accessible and not just something your great aunt is going to enjoy. Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake still has all the right flavours going on so no one is going to feel hard done by. It’s festive with spices, brandy and plump fruits. But as it is primarily a sponge cake and not a fruit cake it’s so much lighter and a bit more modern.

Close up of Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake

It’s also incredibly quick to assemble as we’re taking a bit of a shortcut to Christmas by using mincemeat. I will always advocate homemade mincemeat in any recipe where it is required as I think the shop bought stuff is pretty terrible. All sugar and no taste. The good news is that homemade mincemeat is really easy, hopefully you have already made yours otherwise this Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake might be a slightly longer process than you initially believed. At a push, of course you can use the shop bought stuff, the cake will still be delicious.

Close up of Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake with slice taken out

To make the cake even easier to bring together I used a gluten-free plain flour blend, Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour 1kg (Pack of 5)” to be exact. You can use any blend but ideally without xanthan gum. By adding an equal amount of gluten-free plain flour and ground almonds we’re ensuring the sponge stays beautifully moist with plenty of fluffiness. The ground almonds add a lovely taste and if you grind your own almonds, which I did here, so it’s more like an almond meal, then the cake will have a pleasantly nubby texture that sits really nicely with the mincemeat. My mincemeat had chopped almonds in already so there is lots of nuttiness going on.

Close up of Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake with slice on a plate in front

The Brandy Cream Icing is gorgeously sweet, creamy and subtle with brandy. However, if you would rather make an icing without the booze then just omit the brandy and add in more milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Close up of Cheat's Gluten-Free Christmas Cake with slice on a plate in front

If you make this Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you make the recipe or use it as a building block for another delicious creation, I’d also love it if you tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.

Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake

Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake is an easy cake to assemble last minute. A lightly spiced almond sponge made incredibly festive by its secret ingredient – mincemeat. Drizzled with a quick tipsy Brandy Cream Icing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 561kcal


  • 275 g caster sugar
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 180 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 180 g ground almonds
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons mixed spice
  • 280 g mincemeat

Brandy Cream Icing

  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons double cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons brandy


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
  • Line and grease a 9 inch round cake tin.
  • Cream the sugar with the butter on a slow to medium speed for about 6 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk the flour with the almonds, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl then beat into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Stir in the mincemeat.
  • Pour the batter into the cake tin, smoothing out the surface then bake for 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Leave for about 5 minutes for the cake to settle then carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.

Brandy Cream Icing

  • Stir the icing sugar together with the double cream until smooth.
  • Stir in the brandy one tablespoon at a time until the icing has reached a thick dropping consistency.
  • Spoon over the top of the cake nudging it towards the edges so it drips down the sides.


*I used a suet based mincemeat so there was a bit more fat in the mix. If you are using a non-suet mincemeat perhaps increase the butter by 20g.


Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 590IU | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1.5mg


If you’re a gluten-free baker in the UK then you will be very familiar with Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour 1kg (Pack of 5) as it’s pretty much the only gluten-free flour that’s easily accessible for the home baker. For this cake it works really well in combination with ground almonds for a lovely moist cake.

I didn’t have a decent 9 inch cake tin for this recipe so I invested in this PME Anodised Aluminium Round Cake Pan 9 x 4-Inch Deep which is from my favourite range of cake tins. They are wonderful as they have completely straight sides so your cakes will be beautifully neat, the anodised aluminium means the heat disperses evenly throughout the cake without cooking the sides too quickly, which some darker cake tins do. The cakes slip out of the tins easily and they come in all the sizes you would need, I think I may almost have the whole set now.

I love these Kitchen Craft Paul Hollywood 2-Tier Stackable Wire Cooling Rack, 40 x 26 x 35 cm (16″ x 10″ x 14″), don’t be put off that they are part of the Paul Hollywood range as they are actually really useful as they are nice and high which allow more air to get to your cakes to cool quickly. Some cooling racks are too close to the kitchen counter which traps in more moisture as the cakes are cooling down which could lead to a wetter sponge. These are great.

I love these dinky these reindeer cake toppers-  Anniversary House Reindeer Plastic Cake Toppers. Pack of 6. BX164 – so super cute!

and I bought these trees years ago for some Christmas crafts and found they have been more useful ever since decorating my Christmas cakes – Set of 3 Snowy Bristle Xmas Trees for Christmas Cake Decotation

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Easy Mincemeat Recipe

Easy Mincemeat Recipe
Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins

These gluten-free Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins are exactly what you should be treating your family to Christmas morning. They are light, fluffy, moist and full of Christmas spice and cheer.

Chocolate Clementine Christmas Pudding

Chocolate Chip Clementine Christmas Pudding with Cointreau Sauce

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

These simple Gluten-Free Mince Pies are made with the most flavourful sorghum and almond flour pastry and filled with Easy Homemade Mincemeat. Mince pie lovers no longer need to miss out on gloriously flaky and tasty mince pies that are packed with Christmassy flavour and are easy to bake at home.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

I often wax lyrical regarding my love affair with mincemeat and all the different and festive ways you can incorporate this treasure into your baking. However, sometimes we just need to go back to basics and bake us up some delicious old timey mince pies.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

What are mince pies?

Mince pies are a traditionally eaten at Christmas across the UK and Europe. Filled with mincemeat and encased in pastry, mince pies are small and can usually be devoured in 3-4 bites. The ultimate Christmas treat.

But what is mincemeat?

Mincemeat is a richly spiced filling for your mince pies. Usually made from dried fruit, nuts and spices which are preserved in brown sugar, brandy with suet to provide a silky mouthfeel.

However, the variations of recipes for mincemeat are endless. You can switch up the alcohol, use fresh fruit, like apples, or omit the nuts or suet.

Do you need some inspiration for mincemeat recipes?

  • Victorian Mincemeat – inspired by traditional mince pies and uses actual beef mince along with the dried fruit, spices and brandy. This mincemeat is something special. You can’t taste that it is actually meat, it is just ultra flavourful with a wonderfully luxurious texture.
  • Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat – a vegan, nut-free recipe. This is a family favourite – vibrant, light and incredibly festive.
  • Easy Mincemeat – my go-to everyday traditional mincemeat.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

What pastry is used for mince pies?

There are many pastry routes you can go down with your mince pies:

  • open topped
  • double-crusted
  • frangipane
  • brandy butter topped
  • orange icing

However, I often like to stick to an old fashioned flaky gluten-free pastry to make my mince pies. This is my favourite gluten-free pastry recipe. So full of flavour and excellent to work with. This pastry will not crumble but melt in the mouth.

Gluten-free pastry is actually just as easy to make as regular wheat pastry. The only difference is that it is slightly more fragile to handle so may need a little more care when rolling out. It also requires a couple of minutes extra to blend together your gluten-free flour mix so you can ensure your pastry has the right bind, flakiness and snap.

This gluten-free pastry is more than just a vessel for holding your mincemeat, it has its own character and flavour profile to enhance your mince pies.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

How do you make gluten-free pastry?

We just need just 4 ingredients to create a unique gluten-free flour blend that is delicious, easy to work with and creates the best casing for our mincemeat.

Sweet rice flour – this is the majority flour used in this recipe. It is needed to bind the ingredients together and add elasticity to the mix so that the pastry can be rolled out with ease. It has a near neutral taste so its role is mostly function.

Sorghum flour – an incredibly tasty pastry. Think wholewheat flour, earthy and wholesome. A perfect flavour match for the richly spiced mincemeat.

Almond flour – adds a mild nutty sweetness. Great protein structure so helps to hold the pastry together

Ground flaxseeds – help further bind the pastry to stop it from crumbling apart. It also adds a nice bit of texture.

Once these four ingredients are whisked together to make your gluten-free flour blend then you can continue to make the pastry the same way you would regular pastry.

  1. Use butter cold from the fridge, sliced as thinly as possible then rubbed with the flours to make rough shreds and add flakiness to your dough.
  2. Add a little caster sugar for sweetness.
  3.  Add 2 eggs and an extra yolk for richness.
  4. Bring the dough quickly together with your hands, with maybe a little ice cold milk if more liquid is needed to make the pastry cohesive.
  5. Wrap your ball of pastry in cling film and keep in the fridge until needed.

How long can the pastry keep for?

Up to 3 days. Just bring it out 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how warm your kitchen is) before you would like to roll it out.

What baking tin should you use for mince pies?

You can buy mince pie baking tins specific for this purpose. I have several which I love.

However, upon making the mince pies for this post I had a mini meltdown when I realised they had all been put into storage along with a bunch of my baking gear whilst we’re preparing to move house. This was obviously after I had cut out all my pastry rounds and the oven had been pre-heated and I was basically ready to go.

However it turns out that a 12 hole regular muffin tin makes the perfect sized four-bite mince pies just as well. Your pastry rounds will only go halfway up the tin but this works out just fine. So you mustn’t despair if you don’t have a special tin for your gluten-free mince pies.

If you have been disappointed by tasteless, cardboard tasting and tooth-achingly sweet gluten-free mince pies from the supermarket, this recipe will be a revelation.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

If you make these Gluten-Free Mince Pies then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own leftover creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies

These simple Gluten-Free Mince Pies are made with the most flavourful sorghum and almond flour pastry and filled with Easy Homemade Mincemeat.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 18 double-crusted pies
Calories: 214kcal


  • 140 g sweet rice flour plus extra flour for dusting
  • 125 g sorghum flour
  • 75 g almond flour
  • 25 g ground flaxseeds
  • 125 g unsalted butter directly from the fridge
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk lightly beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk very cold
  • 300 g mincemeat
  • 1 teaspoon egg yolk + 1 tablespoon whole milk whisked together for the wash


Making the pastry

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, almond flour and flaxseeds.
  • Slice the butter very thinly and add to the flour. Then rub the mixture between fingertips until roughly shorn and crumbly.
  • Whisk in the caster sugar and salt and then pour in the eggs.
  • Bring the dough together using a wooden spoon at first if you like and then your hands. If the dough is still too dry and crumbly then add a little extra whole milk.
  • Turn the pastry out on to the work surface and knead very briefly into a ball until the dough is cohesive and slightly sticky.
  • Wrap the pastry dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 days) until you are ready to make your mince pies.

Making the mince pies

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • To make the mince pies, dust your work top and your rolling pin with extra sweet rice flour then roll your pastry out to 3mm thickness. The pastry will be quite fragile. I usually split the dough in half and roll out half at a time to save a lot of re-rolling.
  • Cut your pastry using an 8cm pastry cutter and place each round carefully in the hole of a 12 hole muffin tin. The pastry will come up about halfway. Fill each mince pie with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. If you want double crusted mince pies then cut out further 6cm rounds for the lid and tuck on top so the edges of the pastry all meet.
  • If you would like to decorate the top of the mince pies then cut out extra Christmassy shapes from the pastry and place on top.
  • Whisk the extra egg yolk and milk to make a wash then brush over the top of each mince pie. Place in the oven and bake the mince pies for 10 minutes until they are golden. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to rest then carefully remove each mince pie from the tin with a palette knife and place on a wire rack to cool. Wash and dry the tin then make your next batch.
  • Store the mince pies in a metal tin. They keep quite well for up to 5 days but they are best on the day they are made.



Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.6mg

This recipe was updated in November 2019 to include clearer instructions.

Easy Mincemeat Recipe

Easy Mincemeat Recipe

This Easy Mincemeat Recipe is exactly what you need when you are required to make homemade mince pies pronto. You can use it straightaway. No resting time is needed, it’s a quick assembly job and the result is a supremely spiced and zesty mincemeat plump with fruits, rich with brandy and with a silky luxurious texture.

hands holding bowl of mincemeat next to ingredients for recipe

I simply adore Christmas mincemeat. In my humble opinion it’s the best thing about the season. Along with The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping, Hot Buttered Chocolate Rum and festive jumpers for Billy Buddy. Stir-up Sunday is coming up this weekend which is the traditional day to make your mincemeat (and Christmas pudding) for the season. It’s nice to get this job out of the way in November as it means you can have homemade mince pies at your disposal any time during the holiday period. Although if you are only using your mincemeat for a mince pie filling then you are missing a trick.

What is mincemeat?

Mincemeat is the traditional filling of a christmas mince pie. A few centuries ago mincemeat was a way to preserve meat, usually mutton, without smoking or salting. The meat would be chopped very finely, aka minced, then preserved with spirits and spices and sugar. It’s more usual these days for the minced meat to be replaced with beef suet and dried fruit.

Although if you haven’t tried mince pies made in the traditional method using this Victorian Mincemeat recipe then you really need to address your life choices.

Gluten-Free Mince Pies on a tray in front of the fire

Why do we eat mincemeat at Christmas?

The reason we eat so many mince pies over the festive season is all to do with the spices. It is thought that cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg were given by the magi to the baby Jesus and so mincemeat, which is abundant in these spices, has always traditionally been associated with Christmas. And I totally take umbrage with the idea that if mince pies were so nice then why do we only eat them at Christmas. Well, that’s why Eccles Cakes were invented. They are basically mince pies that we are allowed to eat all year round.

Why should you make your own mincemeat?

I made the unfortunate mistake of buying pre-made mincemeat for some recipe testing recently and the difference between homemade and shop bought is extreme. The shop bought stuff is all sugar and no flavour

This Easy Mincemeat tastes of plump juicy fruits and spices and is rich with brandy with a silky luxurious texture.

Plus if you’re making it yourself you can make it exactly to your preference. It’s an extremely versatile recipe which you can switch up for the dried fruit, alcohol and type of sugar you have to hand. It will always be a preferred option to the sickly sweet supermarket version.

Why is this recipe so brilliant?

If  you need to make some Homemade Mince Pies asap then this Easy Mincemeat Recipe is the way to go. 

  • this homemade mincemeat is so simple to make and takes no time at all.
  • It’s a back-to-basics recipe using traditional ingredients.
  • no resting time required.
  • it’s not necessary to cook the mincemeat out before filling your pies.

If you want a more modern mincemeat which is made with fresh cranberries and is nut free and vegan then perhaps try this Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat.

ingredients for mincemeat

What ingredients are in mincemeat?

  • Bramley apples – A lovely tart fully flavoured apple that breaks down into a gorgeous fluffy texture.
  • Dried fruit – Here we go traditional with raisins, currants and sultanas and mixed peel
  • Beef suet – the fat used to preserve the mincemeat and for texture
  • Dark muscovado sugar – a deep flavoured sugar
  • Lemon and orange zest – for a fresh zing
  • Spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
  • Brandy – traditionally used to help preserve the mincemeat but also gives a luxurious rich flavour.

bowl of fresh beef suet

Why do you use beef suet in mincemeat?

Beef suet is the hard fat from around the joints and kidneys of the animal and it is favoured in mincemeat due to its richness of flavour and the silky way it coats the luscious fruit.

Is beef suet gluten-free?

Unfortunately the commercial beef suet you can buy in a packet in your local supermarket is not gluten-free. The suet is processed into small pellets which are coated in wheat flour. This allows the suet to be easily stored and weighed and used in baking but it’s not gluten-free.

Can you buy gluten-free suet?

You can buy gluten-free suet in the supermarket but it is also vegetarian suet and it is not a product I like to use. The ingredients list is iffy and doesn’t have the right flavour.

If your butcher is able to source fresh beef suet for you then that is the best choice. It will probably be provided in a hard block which you will need to grate with a bit of gluten-free flour to create little fat pellets which helps to evenly disperse the fat. You can store the suet in the freezer in ziplock bags and you can use it directly from the freezer.

You can also use this fresh beef suet in your Traditional Christmas Pudding. Or in a Spotted Dick.

If you are finding it hard to source fresh beef suet or need a veggie or vegan alternative then you can substitute with grated coconut butter.

What can I substitute for the brandy?

You can substitute absolutely any alcohol for the brandy. Rum, Pedro Ximénez, Cointreau or even Amaretto are my favourites.

ingredients for mincemeat on a wooden board

What if I don’t like mixed peel?

If you don’t like mixed peel then just leave it out, or substitute for a couple of tablespoons of marmalade. However, have you ever tried making your own? Homemade Mixed Peel has a vastly superior flavour and can be useful for a lot of your Christmas bakes.

Can I substitute in other dried fruit?

Of course! Anything goes in mincemeat. Chopped dried figs, prunes, cranberries, sour cherries. You can just swap in the same weight of an alternative dried fruit and away you go.

bowl of brown sugar next to dried fruit

Why dark muscovado sugar?

Dark muscovado sugar is used here for its rich treacly flavour. However, if you want a slightly lighter mincemeat then you can use light muscovado sugar. Or if you only have in soft light brown sugar then use that.

How do you make the homemade mincemeat?

  1. Peel, core and dice the bramley apples.
  2. Then mix with all the other ingredients.
  3. It’s done (I know, pretty easy!!)

Note. This recipe makes about 4 large jars of mincemeat. Enough for 4 batches of mince pies. Presuming you are not making mince pies for a very large crowd you will want to store the mincemeat you are not using straightaway. This will require cooking it out (see below).

Easy Mincemeat Recipe

Can you use the mincemeat straightaway

Yes! Your mince pies will be delicious if you make them with the mincemeat you prepared 5 minutes ago.

However, if you are in the mood for planning ahead then the mincemeat will be even better if you make it a week or two before you want to make your mince pies which will allow the flavours to mature.

How long does mincemeat last?

If you are not using the mincemeat immediately then you need to cook it out before storing. This is to allow the suet and sugar to melt, coat and preserve all the fruit evenly. Plus it also stops the apples from fermenting.

How to cook out the mincemeat for storing

  1. Mix all the ingredients together as above except for the brandy.
  2. Place in a large ovenproof pot with a lid.
  3. Cook for 1 hour in an oven pre-heated to 150°C /130°C fan/gas 2 for 1 hour.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. Stir in the brandy then decant into sterilised jars.

The mincemeat will keep for 3 months if stored in a cool and dark place.

  • To sterilise the jars – Place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes. It is best not to sterilise lids in the oven as they can easily ruin.

Recommended Equipment

Le Creuset casserole dish – my favourite preserving pan and it’s big enough to cook a large amount of preserves or mincemeat. It can be used in the hob or in the oven. 

Jam Funnel – Very useful for decanting the mincemeat into jars. If you make a lot of chutneys and jams then this inexpensive jam funnel is an absolute must-buy. Useful for decanting pretty much anything around the kitchen too!

Kilner jars – these are great for all kinds of preserving. You can re-use the jars again and again (just clean and sterilise them first) and buying new lids is very easy.

Of course this Easy Mincemeat Recipe is the ideal filling for mince pies but if you need any further inspiration, look no further than the following recipes:

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding
Christmas Morning Mince Pie Muffins
Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars
Cheat’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cake
Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream

If you’ve never made your own then I urge you to give this Easy Mincemeat Recipe a try and if you do then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you use this recipe as a jumping off point then I’d also love it if you’d share your version and tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.

Easy Mincemeat Recipe

This Easy Mincemeat Recipe is a quick homemade supremely spiced fruity boozy mincemeat essential for mince pies.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 64 servings
Calories: 87kcal


  • 400 g bramley apples about 1-2 apples
  • 225 g seedless raisins
  • 225 g currants
  • 225 g sultanas
  • 240 g beef suet for gluten-free suet see notes
  • 275 g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50 g mixed peel homemade is preferable
  • zest 1 orange
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 60 ml brandy


  • Peel, core and dice the bramley apples into small pieces.
  • Place the apple pieces into a large ovenproof pot with the rest of the ingredients (except for the brandy) and stir together until everything is well combined.
  • If you want to make mince pies straight away then set aside about 300g and stir in a couple of teaspoons of the brandy. Let the mincemeat rest whilst you prepare the pastry and then you can fill your pies immediately.
  • To prepare the rest of the mincemeat for storing put a lid on the pot and place in an oven pre-heated to 150°C /130°C fan/gas 2 for 1 hour.
  • Leave the mincemeat to completely cool before stirring in the brandy.
  • Decant the mincemeat into sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.


  • If you are gluten-free I recommend you use fresh beef suet. It’s not possible to buy gluten-free pre-packaged beef suet. I don't recommend the vegetarian version which is gluten-free. Do speak to your local butcher about obtaining fresh suet. It will come in a solid block which you will need to grate with a bit of gluten-free flour so that it can evenly disperse throughout the mincemeat. If you are vegan then I would recommend replacing with grated coconut butter but if you are not then I would urge you not to make the switch.
  • Yield 4 380g jars
  • You can make your mince pies straightaway using this mincemeat but if you are not then you will need to cook it and store in sterilised jars.
  • To sterilise the jars – Place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes. It is best not to sterilise lids in the oven as they can easily ruin.
  • The mincemeat will keep for 3 months in a cool and dark place.


Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 100mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

Mince Pie Cupcakes are delicious gluten-free cupcakes loaded with fruity spiced mincemeat and piped with velvety brandy swiss meringue buttercream.

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

So this is it, my final recipe before Christmas. I didn’t post nearly as many of my Christmas recipes as I wanted to as I hadn’t factored in having to take days off working on the blog to accompany Cole to his various Christmas parties. Honestly my two and a half year old has been to more Christmas festivities than me this year. Although not technically since I attended them as well. However, I harbour absolutely no resentment for these abandoned recipes as seeing Cole so amped during this run up to the big day has made me experience Christmas in the most magical of ways. He has loved meeting Father Christmas at all the parties, pulling on the bottom of his coat as he enters the room to tell him so sincerely that he wants a train and some track for Christmas.

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

It’s amazing how quickly he caught onto the idea of Father Christmas bringing presents. Without me really explaining the situation with the man in red it seemed very quickly to sink into his consciousness and as early as November whenever he saw something he wanted he confidently declared, I want a red scooter mummy, Father Christmas get it. Not that my child is either demanding or spoilt rotten.

All the various party buffets have also been a bit of a hit with him. I have tried to be very careful with Cole’s diet since I suffer so much from various intolerances. He was more or less gluten-free for the first two years, ate food high in nutritional value and never touched a crisp, drank any fizzy drinks or ate any cake that I hadn’t made. Now he has his own independence of sorts he makes a beeline for the foods he most wants to eat on the buffet and they don’t always adhere to this food ethos I tried to instil. Pigs in blankets, chocolate swiss rolls and mince pies seem to be his idea of a well-balanced meal. And really I can’t blame him, especially for the latter. My love of mince pies knows no bounds. This year I perfected my gluten-free mince pie (sorry, one of those recipes that has to wait until next year) and I have included mincemeat in so many of my Christmas bakes on the cake stall including Mince Pie Brownies, Clementine Mincemeat Loaf and Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars.

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

Now, I would never think of having favourites on my cake stall despite many a customer trying to pin me down when they are undecided (there is an occasion and personal hankering for all of my offerings) I was really rather taken with these Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream this December. I don’t make many cupcakes simply because they don’t sell incredibly well on the stall which is a terrible shame as I love making them. I love getting out the little cupcake cases, the baby sponges always look so inviting fresh out of the oven and then I love piping on the buttercream and decorating. It’s so satisfying to see pretty little cakes that are easy to achieve.

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

These Mince Pie Cupcakes are made from my favourite cupcake recipe which has a combo of four different gluten-free flours (sorry it is a lot but completely worth it for the depth of flavour). They are light and bouncy just as cupcakes should be and then loaded with Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat. You can happily use shop bought but make sure it’s suet-free as the extra fat will mess with the structure of the cupcake. The mincemeat adds delicious spice and plenty of fruity texture. I then made my favourite swiss meringue buttercream, which is the easiest buttercream to pipe, so smooth and velvety and spooned in some brandy, not enough that it tastes too boozy but just enough to give it a Christmassy feel.

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

I hope you have time to give these a go this Christmas, they are so special and yet another twist on mince pies, one of my favourite Christmas foods.

I am hoping to post one more recipe before the year is out so until then Happy Christmas and I hope Father Christmas brings you everything you have asked for. We’re planning on a Christmas morning assembling the aforementioned trains and track!!

Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream {gluten-free}

Mince Pie Cupcakes are delicious gluten-free cupcakes loaded with fruity spiced mincemeat and piped with velvety brandy swiss meringue buttercream.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time1 hr 18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 495kcal



  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 260 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 90 ml sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 130 g sweet rice flour
  • 30 g potato starch
  • 75 g sorghum flour
  • 70 g millet flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 250 g suet-free mincemeat

Brandy Buttercream

  • 6 egg whites 180g
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 420 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brandy



  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line 2 x muffin tins (1 x 12 hole and 1 x 6 hole) with cupcake cases.
  • Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed until fully combined.
  • In a measuring jug whisk together the whole milk, sour cream and vanilla extract and set aside for a moment.
  • Whisk together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large mixing bowl until completely combined.
  • Add the flour mix alternately with the milk mixture, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  • Finally add in the mincemeat, mixing in until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and bake for 18 minutes. Remove the cupcakes immediately onto a wire rack to cool before piping on the buttercream.

Brandy Buttercream

  • Heat the egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie (or a bowl set over simmering water), stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  • Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency or if not just leave the mixer beating until it does. It will.
  • Add the salt, vanilla extract and brandy and mix until thoroughly combined.


  • Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip and piped the buttercream in a circle from the centre swirled to the outer edge of the cupcake. I then cut out the holly leaf using a teeny tiny leaf cutter from green sugarpaste and I piped on the red berries with a no.2 piping tip with a bit of the brandy buttercream tinted red. To make life easier you can buy these decorations ready made from good cake decoration suppliers.


Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 900IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 0.5mg


The 12 hole cupcake tin I have always used and will thoroughly recommend due to its durability, ease of washing and of course the cupcakes it helps to produce are superb, is the MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Cupcake Tray / Baking Pan, 35 x 27 cm

The piping tip I used in this recipe is the Wilton Large Number 2D Drop Flower Tip which can so many different kinds of piping patterns and is the one I use most often, along with the Wilton 1M.

I find these huge disposable piping bags are the most robust ones you can buy, I do get a huge pack of them as the worst thing is to get ready to ice your cake and discover you don’t have any piping bags left. I use disposable as I bake a lot of cakes and find washing up the re-usable piping bags takes a lot of time and I can never get them totally clean. I use these piping bags for everything from cupcakes to drizzling melted chocolate to piping a straight level of buttercream evenly over a whole layer cake. This 1 Roll of Savoy Disposable Piping Bags – 100 21 Bags by Cn-Ice is an absolutely invaluable piece of kit in my baking.I love this Kitchen Craft SDICUTHOL3PC Stainless Steel “Sweetly Does It” Holly Design Mini Fondant Cutter, Set of 3 It’s not the exact one I used for the recipe since I have no idea where I got mine from but these look very similar and I have to say I do use these quite a lot over the festive period.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars {gluten-free}

A thick layer of rich fruity mincemeat cheesecake sandwiched between crumbly oaty shortbread.

Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars {gluten-free}

I am finding it hard to fit in all the exciting Christmas inspired bakes and recipes in my usual 1-2 blog postings per week. So from here on until Christmas I’m stepping things up a notch. I do love to over exert myself, especially where food is concerned, so expect a bumper month of posts. I’m hoping to mix in a bit more savoury stuff into this advent period as well so let me know what you think of that. A lot of people have been saying that they missed my savoury recipes this past year where I have been more or less baking focused so in 2018 I’m planning on throwing in a few more gluten-free dinner ideas for good measure.

As usual I have set myself too much to do in the run up to Christmas, especially since Amazon have very destructively added the first series of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel to their streaming service this past week. So now I must endeavour to fit that in as well amongst the Christmas cards, extra cake orders, food prep and shopping for more Thomas the Tank Engine stocking fillers. Still, I can’t help but love December!!

Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars {gluten-free}

It may be apparent to the eagle eyed reader that I am an ardent devotee of mincemeat. I try and put mincemeat in most of my bakes around December and a couple of weeks ago I made these Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars for the market stall and have decided that they might be one of my best inventions yet.

Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars {gluten-free}

They are a riff on my Blackberry Cheesecake Hazelnut Oat Bars. Two layers of oaty shortbread are sandwiched together with mincemeat cheesecake. If you are buying your mincemeat for the recipe then do make sure it’s suet-free as you don’t really want any extra fat messing up the recipe. I used my Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat which is perfect for any kind of baking. By mixing the mincemeat with the cheesecake mixture you are making the centre of these oat bars extremely creamy. They don’t have the sweet punch of a traditional mince pie and are more of a subtle affair but still packed with that rich fruity spice flavour that is key to any mince pie creation.

Mince Pie Cheesecake Oat Bars {gluten-free}

A thick layer of rich fruity mincemeat cheesecake sandwiched between crumbly oaty shortbread.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 475kcal


  • 280 g cream cheese
  • 260 g suet-free mincemeat
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 100 g sweet white rice flour
  • 75 g oat flour
  • 40 g tapioca flour
  • 160 g gluten-free oats
  • 185 g soft light brown sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line and grease an 8 inch square cake tin.
  • In a medium sized bowl stir the cream cheese, mincemeat and eggs together until well combined then set aside.
  • Place the rest of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
  • Tip half the mixture into the cake tin and press in tightly.
  • Spread the cheesecake over the top of the tin, then tip over the rest of the oat mixture, pressing down lightly.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove from the tin carefully and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack before cutting into squares.


Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 311mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is fresh, fruity and sozzled with lots of lovely booze. It’s also the best choice for your free-from mince pie as it doesn’t have any pesky suet ruining things for the vegans, it’s nut free for our allergy afflicted friends and if you’re gluten-free you don’t have to worry about where to source your gluten-free suet.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

This Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is a re-post from a recipe that I published in 2013. I make this recipe every year to sell on my market stall and for personal use in my mincemeat recipes that require no suet such as Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding. I have kept the below text as written four years ago for posterity. I can’t believe the John Lewis ad hee haw is still going as strong as ever.

It all starts here people. I was watching the ad breaks during X Factor on Saturday and they were very clear that we have now been given the all clear on Christmas. Have you seen the John Lewis ad with the hare and the bear? Well I didn’t understand it but it still made me cry. If John Lewis think it’s Christmas then it must be. Finally I will stop being embarrassed that I have been listening to Fairytale in New York since November 1st, I can dust off Delia’s Happy Christmas and henceforth will step into Christmas. Well, Christmas food at least, but that’s all I care about anyway. So if you’re not ready to start thinking sleigh bells and winter wonderlands then I shall simply call you a miserable scrooge and that is all.

No, don’t go, I’m sorry for not understanding that everyone isn’t totally into the carols and commercialism (ahem, family time) as much as me. But in my defence I am making mince pies for our WI Christmas themed meeting on Monday so really I am leaving it quite last minute to whip up the mincemeat.
Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

I am making two different types of mincemeat this year and this is the first one. It’s veggie and nut free and very quick to boot.

I was going to make Dan Lepard’s Dark Rich Mincemeat as I wanted to steer clear of suet for mincemeat number one and his take on it sounded delicious but I couldn’t find any dried sour cherries. Even a trip into town and my trusty pocketrobber Whole Foods had run dry, though I did get to see the Carnaby Christmas lights so the trip wasn’t a complete bust. But still, I needed something sour to counterbalance all the sugary fruit. So I added fresh cranberries which seemed to do the trick, not breaking them up too much in the mix so they burst in your mouth, immediately quelling the layers of fruity sweetness. With dried and fresh cranberries all stirred up I couldn’t help but think of adding some sort of orange note since it’s a natural pairing with cranberries. When it’s Christmas you should always reach for the bottle so I poured in a good glug of Cointreau, my favourite Christmas tipple, which happily is made from oranges. Then it tasted so good, so I added a bit more. Then a bit more. Then I poured myself a small glass and the rest is history.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat is fresh, fruity and sozzled with lots of lovely booze.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Servings: 64 servings
Calories: 63kcal


  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 100 g soft prunes stoned and blended to form a paste
  • 2 dessert apples peeled, cored and diced small
  • 500 g fresh cranberries
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • 250 ml gluten-free pale ale
  • 1 bramley apple peeled and grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 100 ml Cointreau


  • Pour the fresh cranberries, sugar, ale, bramley apple, lemon juice and zest and all the spices into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until some of the cranberries start to break down.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the dried fruits and the dessert apples and add to the boiled mixture.
  • Remove from the heat, add the dried fruits and give a very good mix through, making sure the prune paste is evenly dispersed.
  • Leave to cool completely before stirring through the brandy and Cointreau.
  • Decant into sterilised jars and store until ready to use or use straightaway.


Yield 4 380g jars


Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Fancy more mincemeat recipes? Then treat yourself to traditional Victorian Mincemeat which uses real beef mince for the richest and most decadent mince pies this Christmas.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas