Gluten-Free Fruit Cake (Christmas Cake)

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An easy, moist, flavorful gluten-free fruit cake (also known as Christmas cake) made with almond flour. Easily made vegan or dairy-free and naturally alcohol-free.

A close top shot of a christmas cake on a white cake stand with a slice missing.

❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • This gluten-free fruitcake is a super simple recipe that anyone can make.
  • You will find a nice balance of both warming spices and fruity flavors.
  • You can make it in loaf form or cake form.
  • You can switch up the flavor profile by using any dried fruit mixture you prefer.
  • Naturally gluten-free, soy-free, and egg-free, with a vegan and dairy-free option.
Close shot of gluten free fruit cake with a slice taken out of it.

🥮 Ingredients and Substitutions

Dried fruit: This recipe works well with any combination of dried fruit that you prefer. Some of my favorites include tart cherries, apricots, dates, goji berries, currants, raisins, cranberries, and ginger.

Sparkling water: I love soaking the dried fruit in sparkling water as it really does a great job of plumping and rehydrating the fruit, as well as adding a touch of effervescence. Having said that, you can soak the fruit in nearly any liquid you prefer, though it will change the flavor profile a bite. Some other options include plain water, fruit juice, lemon juice, and alcohol such as rum or brandy.

Almond flour: Almond flour is nothing more than ground almonds and it lends a great flavor and texture to this cake recipe. Both superfine blanched almond flour and coarser almond meal work well in this recipe.

Gluten-free all-purpose flour: Use a gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum for best results.

Coconut sugar: I love to use coconut sugar for the extra nutrients it provides, but light and dark brown sugar, as well as plain white sugar, will work well.

Ground flaxseed: Ground flaxseeds act as a natural binding agent forgoing the need for eggs in this recipe. They also add a nice dose of healthy fats and fiber to this recipe.

Spices: Mixed spice is a British spice blend that usually contains a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and coriander, to name a few. If you do not have mixed spice, you can make your own blend or use another premixed blend of warming spices such as pumpkin pie spice or gingerbread spice or any blend you feel adds a festive flavor. Additional ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg are added to this recipe for additional warmth and flavor.

Baking powder: Baking powder adds a bit of rise to this cake while rising, as well as helps the cake turn golden. Use gluten-free baking powder if necessary.

Coconut oil: Use refined coconut oil to avoid adding a subtle coconut flavor, but if you do not mind coconut, feel free to use unrefined if that is what you have on hand. Alternatively, you can use avocado oil or another neutral-tasting oil you prefer.

Butter: Both salted and unsalted butter work well in this recipe. If you are vegan or dairy-free this is the only ingredient change needed—use a vegan or plant-based butter (Miyoko’s is my favorite) or alternatively, use more coconut oil instead.

Orange juice: I prefer using orange juice to the traditional alcohol used in Christmas cakes, as it just makes the fruit cake that much fruitier. And if you are alcohol-free or intend on serving this cake to kids or other alcohol-free adults, it just works for a broader audience. You can swap the orange juice for another juice like apple juice or tart cherry juice, or if you prefer the more traditional approach, use rum or brandy instead.

Almond extract and vanilla extract: I absolutely love the combination of almond and vanilla extracts in most baking recipes and this recipe is no exception. The almond extract enhances the almond flavors in the almond flour and the vanilla extract greatly enhances the fruit. Having said that, if you only have one or the other on hand, use that!

Top shot of a sliced Christmas cake.

🥣 How to Make Gluten-Free Fruit Cake

A silver mixing bowl filled with spices and flours.
A mixing bowl with dry mixed ingredients.
A small green pan with a stick of butter in it.
A bowl of flour and spices, a bowl of dried fruit and a pan of melted butter resting together.
A mixing bowl filled with dry ingredients and melted butter prior to mixing.
A cake batter being mixed in a silver mixing bowl with a blue spatula.
Dried fruit being mixed into a cake batter.
A fully mixed gluten free fruit cake batter.
A round greased cake pan.
A cake pan filled with cake batter.
A freshly baked fruit cake on a bronze cooling rack.
An upside down fruit cake on a bronze cooling rack.
An upside down fruit cake drizzled with orange juice.
A fruit cake freshly soaked in orange juice.
Close shot of gluten free fruit cake ready to eat.
  1. You will start by soaking the fruit overnight.
  2. The next day you will mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Gently fold in the soaked fruit.
  5. Pour the cake batter into a greased cake pan or loaf pan and bake in a 300F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until firm and golden.
  6. Allow the cake to cool a bit before poking some holes in the bottom with a skewer and drizzling it with more orange juice.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

🥡 Storage

This gluten-free Christmas cake recipe keeps stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours as is (I just recommend wrapping in foil to maintain moisture). If storing longer, feed with more orange juice every 24 hours for up to 3 days. Alternatively, this cake will keep tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Close shot of sliced gluten free fruit cake on white ceramic cake stand.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add nuts to gluten-free fruit cake?

Yes. If you prefer to add a little texture to gluten-free fruit cake you can add a handful of nuts to the batter before baking. Walnuts and pecans in particular work well.

Can I decorate a Christmas cake?

Yes. If you prefer to add a little festive flair, you can drizzle royal icing over the top of the Christmas cake or add a layer of No Fail Italian Meringue as a frosting.

Top shot of a slice of fruit cake resting on its side displaying all the fruit.

🍰 More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes You Might Like

Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake

Gluten-Free Banana Cake

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Gluten-Free Christmas Desserts

A sliced Christmas cake on a white cake stand resting next to a white plate with a slice of fruit cake.

Gluten-Free Fruit Cake (Christmas Cake)

An easy, moist, flavorful gluten-free fruit cake (also known as Christmas cake) made with almond flour. Naturally vegan and alcohol-free.
5 from 43 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine: British
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Fruit Soaking Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

  • 5 cups dried fruit of choice I like to use a mix of currants, raisins, dates, cranberries, apricots and candied ginger
  • 1 cup sparkling water plain or flavor of choice
  • 2 cups almond flour or almond meal
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar or granulated sugar of choice
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup refined coconut oil melted
  • ½ cup butter melted, use vegan butter or more coconut oil if needed
  • ½ cup orange juice plus 1/3 cup for drizzle (last step)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the mixed dried fruit, then cover with the sparkling water. Allow to sit and soak overnight, or at least 6 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease an 8" or 9" cake pan. Set aside.
  • In another large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, gluten-free all purpose flour, sugar, flaxseed, mixed spice, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.
  • In another mixing bowl, add the oil, butter, orange juice, almond extract and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  • Fold in the soaked fruit (sparkling water and all).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until firm, golden and a toothpick insetted into the center pulls out clean.
  • All the cake to cool in cake pan for at least 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack upside down.
  • Once on a cooling rack, poke several holes into the bottom of the cake. Evenly pour the 1/3 cup of orange juice over the holes. Allow the juice to absorb completely before flipping the cake upright to serve.
  • Serve and enjoy! If keeping the cake for longer before serving, feed with orange juice as stated above every 24 hours before serving.

Notes

Loaf: You can make this gluten-free fruit cake recipe in loaf form by using a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan instead of a cake pan. I find it cooks in just about the same amount of time, but keep a close eye on it due to variances in tins and ovens.
Juice: If you are not an orange juice fan, you can replace it with another juice like apple juice or tart cherry juice for just as tasty results.
Alcoholic version: Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional Christmas cake, replace the orange juice feeding with brandy or rum instead. This option also preserves the cake for much longer than orange juice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




 

11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We appreciate gluten free recipes, especially during the holidays. They are many gluten sensitive members in my family. This cake turned out so delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I think you’re right about soaking the fruit in sparkling water. It definitely adds a different flavor profile. So good!

  3. 5 stars
    This fruit cake turned out perfect. It’s so moist and flavorful. Making another batch to give to the neighbors.

  4. 5 stars
    So excited to find a gluten-free fruitcake recipe! Wonderful flavor here and super clear directions, thank you!