A healthy Christmas fruit cake recipe that’s gluten free, dairy free and grain free. Made with almond flour, coconut flour, dried fruit, mixed spices and a little orange zest for a lovely authentic festive feel.
Published: December 2015 | Updated (mainly the images!): November 2020
If you have suddenly decided that you’d like to make a Christmas cake this year but you want to get it all in the oven with a minimum of fuss, then this Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake recipe is made for you. There’s a little bit of soaking of the fruit involved, but no more than 15 minutes; then you just get to stir everything up, pop it in to the oven and glaze or ice it (if you want to). Too easy!
I designed my Christmas cake recipe to be as simple and straightforward as possible because I think that December is stressful enough already. I don’t know about you, but for me December is always so insanely busy. Family events, work, trying to see some friends too…not to mention the Christmas planning, shopping and cooking. This cake doesn’t add too much work to the list.
Need to cater for allergens? This recipe has you covered there as well. The cake is gluten and grain free and it can easily be dairy free as well, it’s only a swap from a small amount of butter to coconut oil.
You can use any dried fruit that you like in this recipe. Many times I have taken the easy option and just used a store-bought mixed dried fruit, which always seems to be on sale around Christmas time! Typically this is a mix of sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel and sometimes glace cherries.
However, you can also mix together your favourite blend of dried fruits. This can totally change up the flavour of the cake, and if you are motivated to do it I think it is worth it. You can pick all the lovely gourmet dried fruits and make the cake so special. Some of my favourite dried fruits to use in my Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake are:
For larger dried fruit like figs, dates and apricots, chop them into smaller pieces first if you purchase them whole.
In addition to the dried fruit mix, you will need:
- Almond meal
- Coconut flour
- Walnuts – you could use pecans instead, or a mix of walnuts and pistachios is also really lovely
- An orange
- Butter or coconut oil – use the coconut oil for a dairy free cake
- Mixed spice
- Bicarb soda
- Amaretto or another liqueur of choice – optional but if you don’t mind a little bit of alcohol in the cake it is SO nice. If you don’t want to use liqueur, then substitute in some extra orange juice for moisture
- Honey or maple syrup for the glaze – you can also add a few tablespoons to the cake batter if you want the cake to be sweeter, it is quite sweet already from all of the dried fruit but this will take it to the next level
A final tip for making this cake, please WEIGH the ingredients if you can. If you measure by cup, loosely pack in the flour, do not press it into the cup. The cake will turn out too dry if you add more than is needed, especially if you add too much coconut flour which is super dry in texture, it absorbs so much moisture.
If you make this cake, please leave me a comment below to let me know how it turns out, and don’t forget to take a snap and tag me on Instagram, you can find me over at @moniquecormacknutrition!
p.s. need more Christmas recipe inspo? I also love making my Cranberry and Date Chocolate Truffles!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2019: A number of people have left me a comment asking if I have made this cake well in advance and preserved it by soaking the cake with alcohol. Unfortunately I haven’t done this yet! Despite my best intentions I never seem to get my Christmas cake done very far in advance. Now at least I have a good excuse, I’m a new mum of twins this year! 🙂
- 500 grams mixed dried fruits
- 75 grams walnuts (3/4 cup)*
- 1 orange
- 125 grams almond flour/meal (1 1/4 cups)
- 67 grams coconut flour (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp mixed spice *
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 eggs
- 50 grams butter or coconut oil, melted (1/4 cup)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 60 mL amaretto or other liqueur of choice (optional) – if you don't use this I recommend adding an extra 60mL of orange juice instead
- Start by soaking the fruit. Fill your kettle and pop it on to boil while you organise all the dried fruit into a large bowl. If you’re using larger fruit like dates and apricots, roughly chop them up first (my quick tip: snip them with kitchen scissors – it will save you so much time!). Pour the hot water over the fruit and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to soften and then drain and allow to cool to room temperature (get on with your cake prep while this is happening).
- Preheat your oven to 150 C. Line a 20 cm cake tin (preferably spingform) with baking paper along the base and sides.
- Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, bicarb, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Zest the orange and roughly chop the walnuts, and add the zest and walnuts to the bowl too. Keep the orange.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter (or coconut oil), vanilla and amaretto (or extra orange juice if you aren't using liqueur). Squeeze in the juice of the orange (doesn't matter if some pulp goes in).
- Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet mixture, stirring as you go (coconut flour is very absorbent so it’s better to add it gradually). You should end up with a very thick batter, almost like a wet crumbly dough.
- Make sure your soaked fruit is well drained, and then add this to the cake batter. Fold it in with a spoon until combined evenly.
- Scoop the cake batter in to your lined baking tin and press down with your fingers or the back of a spoon until there are no gaps and the top is smooth.
- Bake the cake for between 60 – 70 minutes, or until the top is well browned and the centre feels firm to touch.
- If you’re going to glaze the cake, do so immediately while the cake is hot, brushing on your glaze of choice with a pastry brush. You can also poke a few holes in the cake and then drizzle it over, if you want to use a lot and really soak the cake. To use the glaze I have suggested above, simply heat up the honey so it’s really runny, mix with the amaretto and then brush over the top of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. (Store in the fridge for about 1 week or freeze for a longer life.)