Today is Stir Up Sunday in the UK. The day bakers set aside to make Christmas puddings, cakes and mincemeat. Making rich fruitcakes, puddings and mincemeat about six weeks in advance of Christmas gives them time to mature. During this time the flavours develop and the fruit in Christmas cakes is plumped up with a regular infusion of brandy or sherry.
For many people with a sensitive gut these three defining Christmas recipes cause problems because they contain a lot of dried fruit which contains fructans and polyols. They are types of carbohydrate known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosacharides and polyols) which are easily fermented in the gut by bacteria. In most people they do not cause a problem but for someone with a sensitive gut they do. Foods high in fructans and polyols are reknown for causing bloating and pain. For a further explanation of how FODMAPS do this follow the link to this video made by scientists at Monash University.
Whilst homemade Christmas pudding does not contain a lot of fat mince pies often do. Fat is another ingredients that can upset a sensitive gut because it delays gastric emptying and can trigger a gastro colonic response causing pain and diarrhoea.
While other bakers are busy with making traditional Christmas cakes you could try this beautiful cake which I have adapted from recipe from last year’s Delicious Magazine. I have made this recipe gluten free and low in FODMAPS.
The great thing about this cake is it can be made in advance and frozen. It is best to freeze the cake on the day it is made and wrap well in foil. It will then keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly to serve.
I used a 1.5 litre Heritage Bundt Pan from Nordic Ware. If you’d prefer to use a different shape tin, use one that’s the same volume – this recipe works well in a 20 cm/8in round cake tin.
Gluten Free Sticky Ginger Cake
- 200g/7oz butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin 300g/10oz
- 300g dark muscovado sugar
- 200g/7oz black treacle
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 5 balls of stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped into small pieces
- 150g/5oz self-raising gluten free flour
- 75g/3oz ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- zest from one lemon for the icing
- 100g/3oz icing sugar, sieved fresh pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 150C / gas 4. Use a little softened butter to grease a 1.5 litre Bundt tin or any other cake tin suitable for cooking a liquid cake mixture.
Heat the butter, sugar and treacle gently in a saucepan until they have melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the eggs and stem ginger into the molten butter, sugar and treacle.
Sift the flour, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl. Pour the butter and sugar into the bowl containing the flour, ground almonds and whisk well.
Stir the yoghurt and lemon zest into the cake mixture which now resembles a thick batter. Give the cake mixture a thorough stir before pouring it into the Bundt tin. The Bundt tin should not be filled more than three quarters full as it may overflow. Tap the Bundt tin sharply on a firm surface to disperse any air bubbles.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes and then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl and add warm water a little at a time until the icing runs thickly from a lifted spoon. It should not be too runny. Drizzle the icing over the cake and decorate with the pomegranate seeds.
This cake is low in FODMAPS.
- 38g (seeds from a small Pomegranate) seeds are low in FODMAPS. This cake uses less than a tbsp
- Greek Yoghurt – most people can tolerate a small amount of yoghurt even if they are lactose intolerant.
- The cake will keep, wrapped in baking paper and foil, for up to 6 days in a cool, dark place (the texture is at its best after about 2-3 days). Freeze it, wrapped well, for up to 3 months, then defrost thoroughly to serve.
- If you are going to freeze the cake ice it after it has been defrosted
If you would like to know more about looking after your sensitive gut go to the IBS Network
And you may also be interested to read more about The Sensitive Gut from Dr Nick Read here