This Chocolate Christmas Cake, also known as Panforte Italian Christmas Cake, is easy to make with maple syrup, nuts, dark chocolate, cocoa, spices, and dried fruit. A Christmas cake that’s both vegan and paleo friendly with a rich chewy toffee-like texture. Serve in small slices or box it as DIY holiday gift.
- 2 1/2 cups dried fruit, such as fig, dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins
- 1 1/4 cup raw whole almonds, toasted and then coarsely chopped.
- 1 cup macadamia nuts or hazelnut (halves), pre roasted or toasted (if you are using hazelnuts, remove the skin first)
- 4 Tablespoons tapioca flour (see notes) *updated*
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon refined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 ounces of chopped dark chocolate (around 90-100 grams)
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (or agave if you are not vegan)
- 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar. (See notes for other options)
- Optional powdered sugar and cocoa or cacao powder to dust. For sugar free powdered sugar see notes.
Recipe UPDATED 12/1/2017
- Make sure all your fruit is chopped. If you are using figs or dried apricot, give them a pulse in the food processor to chop. If you are using smaller dried fruit, like raisins/cranberries, no need to chop.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the almond for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Each oven will vary.
- Remove from oven. *Note* you can use macadamia nuts that are roasted and not toast them.
- Place toasted almonds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. You can do the same for the macadamia nuts or chop by hand. You should still have large pieces of nuts once chopped.
- Now reduce your oven to 325F.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Grease or line a 8 to 9 inch cake pan (or spring form pan) with parchment paper. Grease the sides and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Combine fruit, nuts, flour, cocoa, ground ginger, cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small sauce pan combine your coconut oil, dark chocolate, and vanilla. Melt until combined on medium heat. Set aside. (See notes for alternative microwave instructions).
- Next Combine your maple syrup and coconut palm sugar in a small sauce pot. Mix on low until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil. You can use a candy thermometer to heat the sugar and maple syrup until the temperature reads 240 F (115ºC.) This usually takes 3 minutes or so. Once it reaches that temperature, remove from heat.
- Immediately pour the hot syrup and melted chocolate mix over the fruit and nut mixture and with a sturdy spoon, mix quickly until everything mixed and coated. You will need to do this fast so it does “candy” in the bowl.
- Press the batter into prepared caked tin. I would use a spatula that is a bit damp to press the batter into the tin. That way it doesn’t stick. (see notes for tips to hold batter)
- Bake until set (about 30- 33 minutes or so) . Be sure not to overcook or it will crumble.
- Remove from oven.
- Let it sit and cool for a few hours.
- Once cooled, dust with cocoa and/or powdered sugar.
- Slice thin or into small blocks, then keep wrapped or in a tight container. Should make 15-20 small slices or more if you cut into small 1-2 inch squares.
- To keep flavor Wrap tightly in parchment paper and store in tin. Keeps well for a while there.
- If you don’t have coconut palm sugar, then regular sugar will work but it is not paleo. I recommend using coconut palm sugar for that nutty tasty and lower glycemic index. Sugar free option, Swerve .
- For melting chocolate in the microwave, simply place coconut oil, dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Cooking in 30 second increments, stirring between, until melted.
- Notes for batter to set – If you find the batter is not thoroughly mixed with the hot syrup, once placed in the cake tin (pre baking), simply mix a a few tablespoons each of maple syrup and sugar again over high heat. Let it boil for 1 minute then pour on top of the cake tin in the areas that did not set. Then place in oven to bake.
- It’s best to use tapioca flour or rice flour. Coconut flour varies depending on the type of fruit you use.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 35 min
- Category: dessert
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 190
- Sugar: 12.5g
- Fat: 12.5g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 17.4g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 3g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: holiday desserts, gluten free, paleo, low carb, cake, chocolate