If you’re looking for an easy, dairy-free dessert or simply a treat for Christmas, you might like this vegan Christmas cake recipe; a festive, chocolate Panforte. Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert made with fruits, nuts and spices. It dates back to the 13th Century in Siena, Tuscany, hence why it’s also sometimes called a Siena cake or Panforte Di Siena.
The texture of this vegan Panforte is somewhere between a fruitcake and a candy and the ﬂavour is sweet, festive and completely addictive! It keeps really well (it will stay fresh in an air-tight container for a few weeks), so it’s perfect for gift-giving. Compared to most other Christmas treats, this chocolate Panforte is a fairly healthy option, with fruits, nuts, natural sugars, minimal ﬂour and just a small amount of oil. It’s easy to make gluten-free too; just use gluten-free ﬂour!
Vegan Panforte Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins / Cook Time 25 mins / Total Time 40 mins
A traditional Italian Christmas fruit cake with mixed nuts, fruits, peel, spices and chocolate!
310g / 2½ cups mixed roasted nuts, chopped and skins removed (I used hazelnuts, almonds and macadamias)
280g / 1½ cups mixed dried fruit
90g / ½ cup mixed peel
4 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
100g / 1 cup spelt ﬂour (or plain white ﬂour or gluten-free ﬂour)
120ml / ½ cup maple syrup
100g / ½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
120ml / ½ cup boiled water
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Oil the sides and line the base of a 30cm spring-form tin with non-stick paper.
2. Mix the nuts, fruit, cacao powder, spices and ﬂour in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan, add the maple syrup, brown sugar and olive oil. Mix on a medium heat until the sugar has been dissolved. Stir in the hot water.
4. Stir the wet into the dry and mix until everything is well combined.
5. Transfer the mixture to the baking tin and press down evenly with a spoon or wet hands.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until you can see the sides of the cake start to bubble slightly.
7. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely.
8. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
You can either serve it in slices or cut it into squares or strips. A dusting of icing sugar on top not only makes it look pretty but turns it into a real festive show-stopper. I love to add fresh holly leaves on top for a simple added decoration. This delicious vegan Christmas cake recipe can be kept in an air-tight container for a few weeks.