12 Weeks of Christmas: Week 4

Treat 7- Fruit Free Christmas Cake

Treat 8- Cardamom Sea Salt Ganache Tart

For the 7th treat if Christmas I’m testing a recipe that is a different take on the traditional fruit filled Christmas cake. The cake is fructose friendly, as well as gluten free. It’s had all the dried fruit taken out but the various spices that synonymous with the taste of Christmas left in. It also contains brandy, because hey it’s Christmas, a time to celebrate. Combining cacao and beetroot, it takes inspiration from red velvet cake but a lot healthier.


When putting together the ingredients to bake the cake, I recommend not doing so in a rush. I added the melted butter and rice malt syrup to the eggs whilst it was still hot, which started the cooking process in the eggs. This made the mixture a bit too lumpy when combined with the dry ingredients but it still baked fine. A time saving tip: instead of grating the beetroots, buy the pre-packed beetroots and pulse them in the blender instead. This also saves a lot of mess, as beetroot stains a pretty pink colour all over the bench.

The cake isn’t overly sweet, which is the whole idea of it, so I suggest when sharing with friends and family who aren’t used to dark chocolate and low sugar treats, heat up the slices and add some butter.mit tastes great this way. Or even pair it with some homemade custard or coconut ice cream. It also tastes great cold, if you’re like me and are more conditioned to foods without all the added sweetness.


  • 2 cups gluten free self-raising flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps ground ginger
  • 2 tsps ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 2 cups grated beetroot, approx 2-3 beets
  • Blanched or sliced almonds for topping (optional)


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a round 20cm spring form cake tin.
In a large bowl combine the flour, coconut, almond meal, cacao powder, baking powder, spices and zest. Stir in the walnuts and chopped chocolate.

Melt the butter and rice malt syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Break the eggs into a separate bowl and whisk. Stir in the brandy, then whisk in the melted butter and rice malt syrup.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the beetroot and stir well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and smooth the top. Decorate with the almonds. Cover the tin with foil and bake for 1hr 15mins. Remove the foil and cook for a further 15-25mins until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 20mins or so before removing it from the tin.

*Recipe Tested from IQuitSugar Book Simplicious by Sarah Wilson*


Another treat low in sugar, also GF and DF, this tart is a unique Christmas dessert that will sure delight guests in both sight and taste.

Cardamom Pods
Lindt Dark Chocolate
That moment my Heart sank…

That shitty moment when you pop the crust out of the pan to pour over the ganache and the edge of the crust breaks off. I was devestated. On the up side the ganache tastes great despite being very dark chocolate. I topped the tart with a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkle of crushed freeze dried raspberries for a bit more bite. The texture of the ganache is lovely and silky smooth. The tart base, while being a bit too crumbly has a subtle sweetness to it.


Because the tart uses 85% dark chocolate and no added sweetner, it is on the slightly bitter side which is perfect for someone used to raw chocolate. For those who aren’t used to raw chocolate I recommend pairing the tart with something sweet like berries. Next time I make the ganache I think I’ll mix the freeze dried raspberries through the ganache mixture before it sets.



  • 270ml can coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp cardamom pods, lightly crushed with a flat blade until the outer husks crack
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla powder or extract
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 2 cups shredded/desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
To make the crust, melt the coconut oil and rice malt syrup in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the shredded coconut and cacao powder and mix well. Press the mixture into the base and up the side of a quiche or tart tin, so that the mixture is approx 5mm thick all over. Bake the crust for 15-20mins. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool and firm up.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut cream, cardamom pods and vanilla in a saucepan to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Allow to steep for 10mins.

Strain the coconut cream mixture into a bowl, discard the cardamom pods. Add the chopped chocolate and salt to the bowl, whisking them through until the mixture is silky and melted.

Once silky pour over the tart shell and refrigerate until the ganache has set, approx 2hrs. Garnish with a pinch of salt and anything else you desire. I suggest berries.

*Recipe Tested from IQuitSugar Book Simplicious by Sarah Wilson*

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