I am making a Christmas cake but need to omit any nuts. Will it wreck the recipe to leave nuts out altogether? Or will it alter the baking time and eventual consistency of cake if I substitute more dried fruits in place of the nuts? Thanks, Anne.
For Christmas cakes, and generally for most cakes, some nuts can be substituted and some can't. If the recipe for the cake includes ground almonds or other ground nuts mixed into the batter then it is difficult to substitute these as the nuts add moisture to the baked cake and substituting flour could leve you with a dry cake.
If the nuts are chopped and just added to the cake batter then usually you can substitute them with other dried fruits, weight for weight. However if you are doing this then it is best to make sure that the extra fruit is soaked with any original fruit. You could also switch the nuts for glace cherries or other glace fruits instead and these would not need soaking. The baking time is usually the same.
There are also plenty of Christmas cake recipes which do not contain nuts. We would suggest trying Nigella's Classic Christmas Cake recipe (from Domestic Goddess) which does not contain any nuts.