The Best Fruit Cake Recipe (Almond Flour, Gluten-Free)

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Note: This fruit cake recipe was first published in 2013 – I’ve updated the recipe and photos (though you can still find the original recipe at the very bottom of the page). I hope you’ll give this new and improved recipe a try this holiday season. It’s one of my favorites!

This spiced holiday fruit cake is festive, flavorful, and incredibly delicious! It’s made with a brown sugar caramel sauce and packed with rum-soaked dried fruit, citrus zest, nuts, and spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. This classic Christmas dessert is sure to become a family favorite – a must-have for your holiday dessert table.

Christmas Fruit Cake

The Best Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe

I understand fruit cake has a bad reputation, so let’s call this a boozy Christmas cake instead? Ahhh, that already sounds so much better. Whatever preconceived notion you may have about fruit cake — throw it out the window. Because I’m telling you, THIS is not that. If you like rum and sugar, you’re going to like this cake.

With a crisp and sugary crust and perfectly moist and tender crumb – this cake defies its reputation. Packed with rum-soaked fruit, this spirited cake isn’t one to shy away from spices. One bite of this and I promise you’ll think to yourself – “wow, I’ve never had a cake so flavorful.”

“This was one of the best fruit cakes I’ve had!!! Delicious and not too heavy!!”

Raseel
Christmas Fruit Cake

Fruit Cake Ingredients:

slice fruit cake
  • Dried Fruit: I buy dried fruit from Trader Joes – they have an amazing selection. I prefer using a combination of golden raisins (aka sultanas), chopped figs, cherries, cranberries, blueberries. The choice is yours!
  • Rum: I prefer using Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Bacardi Gold works too. Use what you like here.
  • Nuts: I like using raw pistachio halves for the bright green color they add to the cake; hazelnuts and pecans are great too.
  • Lemon Zest: make sure to only use the colored portion of the rind.
  • Orange Zest: make sure to only use the colored portion of the rind.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Juice
  • Butter or Ghee
  • Spices: ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground cloves, freshly grated nutmeg
  • Almond Flour: almond flour makes the cake rich, buttery, and decadent.
  • Coconut Flour: coconut flour helps to absorb the caramel and rum.
  • Tapioca Flour: tapioca flour helps bind the ingredients together and adds some lightness to the cake.
  • Baking Soda
  • Eggs
  • Powdered Sugar: sprinkle some on top of the cake when it’s done! It looks like snow 🙂
  • Note: if you’d like to substitute the almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour with an all purpose gluten-free flour, you can do so. It’ll still turn out great, though I do prefer my blend.

Suggested Items

“I made this exactly as written, I used dates, golden raisins and dried cherries as well as pistachios. I baked it in a Bundt pan with a removable bottom. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it due to the spices as I’m not normally a fan of cloves etc. but it came out excellent! The spices were not overwhelming, the texture was perfect and it was very flavorful!!!”

Eileen
fruit cake recipe

How to Make Fruit Cake:

This cake requires a bit of planning – you’ll want to soak dried fruit in rum for at least one night – up to a week if you have the time.

dried fruit in rum

Once your fruit is ready to go – you’ll make a caramel sauce on the stovetop. Heat up some brown sugar, apple juice, ghee, and spices in a saucepan and let it bubble up into a thick caramel-like sauce. Then, add the rum-soaked fruit and cook some more.

fruit-cake-filling

When it’s done, let it cool on the stove – it’ll look something like this once cool:

caramel sauce

Add the flours, baking soda, and eggs to a bowl and mix well. Then add the rum caramel mixture to the bowl and mix well. Pour it all into a greased 7-inch Cheesecake Pan. I also suggest putting a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan for easy removal. Now all that’s left is to bake and wait!

fruit cake batter
Christmas Fruit Cake

How to Serve Christmas Fruit Cake:

This fruit cake is rich, moist, and full of flavor – so there’s no need to serve anything with it. Though I’ll say a latte or cup of Chai goes nicely. Some homemade whipped cream on the side would also be amazing.

Before serving, top with powdered sugar! Look at this fruit cake, such a beauty – and it tastes so special – a worthy dessert for a festive occasion.

fruit cake recipe
slice fruit cake

Looking for More Holiday Recipes? Try These:

Fruit Cake (Gluten-free)

Fruit Cake (Gluten-free)

4.96 from 22 reviews
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Ingredients
 

Rum-Infused Dried Fruit:

  • 1 ½ cup dried fruit Suggestion: ½ c golden raisins, ¼ cup chopped figs or dates, ¼ cup cherries, ¼ cup cranberries, ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 cup rum suggestion: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • cup nuts of choice I prefer pistachio halves for color and flavor, hazelnuts and pecans are great too
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest only colored portion of rind, grated
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest only colored portion of rind, grated

Caramel Sauce:

  • 200 grams brown sugar (1 cup packed)
  • 4 ounces apple juice (½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • Big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Cake:

  • 144 grams almond flour (1 ½ cup)
  • 56 grams coconut flour (½ cup)
  • 30 grams tapioca flour (¼ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs room temperature

  • Powdered Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Add everything listed under “rum-infused fruit” to an air-tight container. Let this mixture soak overnight or up to 1 week (this will help plump up the fruit).
    dried fruit in rum
  • To prepare the caramel sauce, add everything listed under “caramel sauce” to a saucepan over medium to high heat. Whisk for about 5 minutes – keep a close eye on it – it'll bubble up.
  • Add the rum-soaked dried fruit mixture to the saucepan and let it cook for another 5 minutes – make sure to continue to stir to prevent burning.
    fruit-cake-filling
  • Turn off the stove and allow the mixture to cool on the stove.
    caramel sauce
  • In a bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and baking soda and mix well. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Fold in the fruit mixture until well combined, then spoon the batter into a greased 7-inch cake pan with a removable bottom (I also like to add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan for easy removal).
    fruit cake batter
  • Bake for 350F for 1 hour – check on it around the halfway mark and cover with foil to prevent the top from getting too brown.

Notes

  • If you’d like to substitute the almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour with multipurpose gluten-free flour, you can replace those three with 320 grams or 2 cups of gluten-free flour. I personally prefer my blend, but this works well too.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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For Those Who Want My Recipe from 2013:

I first published this recipe on December 16, 2013. I’m keeping the older version of my recipe here for those who’ve been making it for years. Please see above for the updated version – it tastes the same, but holds up much better. I’ve improved my baking skills since first sharing this recipe.

Boozy Christmas Cake (Paleo Fruit Cake) – 2013 Recipe

Boozy Christmas Cake (Paleo Fruit Cake) – 2013 Recipe

I'm keeping this older recipe here for those who love it. Please see above for the updated version – it tastes the same, but holds up much better. I've improved my baking skills a bit since first sharing this recipe.
4.94 from 16 reviews
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Ingredients
 

  • 1 ½ cup dried fruit chopped (I used ½ c homemade tutti frutti mix, ½ c golden raisins, ½ c dates)
  • 1 cup rum I used bacardi gold
  • 1/3 cup pistachios chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest only colored portion of rind, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest only colored portion of rind, grated or minced

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 cloves freshly ground
  • 2 cardamom pods freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Cake Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • Add the fruit, rum, pistachios and zest to an air-tight container. Let this mixture soak overnight or up to 1 week (this will help plump up the fruit).
  • To prepare the caramel sauce, add coconut sugar and water to a saucepan over low heat. Stir until it forms a thick caramel sauce.
  • Next, add apple juice, ghee and spices to the pan and raise the heat to medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes – keep a close eye on mixture and stir often.
  • Add the rum-soaked dried fruit mixture and bring the pot to a simmer for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the stove and allow the mixture to cool on stove. Once cool, taste and adjust sweetness.
  • In a bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda and mix well. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Fold in the completely cooled fruit mixture and spoon into a loaf pan.
  • Bake for 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes if baking in mini loaf pans.*

Notes

  • If making cupcakes, bake for approx. 25 minutes.
  • If making in one large loaf pan cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Be sure to check the cake with a toothpick to see if it’s done.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

Photos From 2013:

Boozy Christmas Cake (Paleo Fruit Cake)
Boozy Christmas Cake (Paleo Fruit Cake)
homemade fruit cake mix
homemade fruit cake mix
fruit cake cupcakes!
fruit cake cupcakes!

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Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Ron Swan Johnson aka RSJ food reviewer proffesionally says

    4 stars
    lost my last tooth on it but it was so dang good i’ll tell ya had to get up out me bed and get me some more when the mrs was sleeping she gets mad at me for eating at night because of opened mouth eating that I do very good recipe

  2. Eileen Byhower says

    5 stars
    I made this exactly as written, I used dates, golden raisins and dried cherries as well as pistachios. I baked it in a Bundt pan with a removable bottom. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it due to the spices as I’m not normally a fan of cloves etc. but it came out excellent! The spices were not overwhelming, the texture was perfect and it was very flavorful!!! Now it has inspired me to try the basic recipe but soak mashed bananas in rum, with chopped pecans and dark chocolate chips without any spices as it is an excellent gluten free recipe! Thanks, Ashley!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Eileen, that’s so great to hear! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you and how much you liked it 🙂 Please update us and let us know how it turns out with the mashed bananas – that sounds amazing!

  3. Neha says

    Hey Ashley, if I do not want to use rum, what can I soak the dry fruits in? Orange juice or anything else you would recommend?

  4. Chance says

    5 stars
    I gave it a few days before reviewing because, like most fruitcakes, this one gets better after a few days. I doubled the recipe to make 2 (I knew it would be good!) and everything still worked well. I didn’t have the size pan specified, so I used 2 9″ cake pans. (I would reduce the cooking time by maybe 5-10 minutes next time.) I used a combination of golden raisins, dried mandarin oranges, dates and candied cherries (the sour cherries from Aldi are phenomenal candied). I used hot water and vanilla paste for the soaking liquid, not wanting the rum flavor. Swapped some apple cider syrup and water for the apple juice. I left out the orange zest because I was using dried oranges and didn’t have any fresh to zest. All that to say, it’s a forgiving recipe that allows you to mix and match as you like. Based on other reviews, I did boil my caramel syrup and fruit mixture until I could tell it had thickened up. I had no problem cutting the cake after it had cooled. If you’re chopping your own fruit, make sure it’s in bite-sized pieces.
    The end result is a lovely fruitcake with complex flavors. I made a little lemon glaze for the top. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Anu, I believe that it does, but if you’re concerned at all then I’d keep it for the adults. I personally keep it for the adults, but I did let my 2-year-old have a small piece (my 5-year-old doesn’t care for sweets outside of gummy bears lol).

  5. Sarah says

    Hi Ashley,

    I’m halfway through a batch of your fruitcake, v2013, and was thinking that I needed an excuse to make another:) Thanks for the updated recipe, can’t wait to try it out!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      You can go by grams if you’d like to be most accurate but if you’re a bit off with the almond flour it should still be fine. I include grams because cup measurements can vary since some people pour and scoop then measure and some pack cups before measuring.

  6. Jane says

    Really want to see what the inside looks like. Please post the picture of a slice!

    Do you think I can use regular flour for this? I see the note about GF flour.

    Thanks.

  7. YP says

    I made this recipe last year and absolutely loved it. Great recipe!!!

    This year I was thinking of putting a thin layer of marzipan on the outside of the cake. Do you think there would be any problems with me doing that?

  8. Jeff says

    Running the recipe now, although I would recommend amending it to mention the zest as I realized at the end I didn’t include it. You mentioned “spices” but my mind did t register zest as a spice.

  9. Bailey says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. I had hoped it would last until Christmas – but it’s the 10th of December and it’s almost finished. This is probably better than a ‘traditional’ christmas cake, being much lighter. Thank you for this recipe!

  10. Nicola Allen says

    Hi,

    Can’t wait to make this recipe. I wanted to ask if it can be made in advance and frozen so I can just pull it out the freezer before Christmas?

    Thanks

  11. Jane says

    5 stars
    Made this today and it tasted incredible! But it was very moist and crumbly inside, although crispy on the top and sides. I made it in a loaf tin and cooked for 45mins. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Jane, I’m so glad you liked it! The only thing I’d suggest is to cook it for longer – the size of the pan (or oven) can affect the amount of time it takes to fully cook. If you’re worried about the top burning, you can cover the top of the cake with foil. That said, it is a paleo cake and loaded with sweet rum sauce so it will be a bit more moist than regular cake – that said, it shouldn’t fall apart. Hope that helps!

  12. Ekta says

    Hi!
    Quick question, my cake turned out super yummy but I have an issue, my cake was a little sticky and the pieces didn’t cut firm. Any idea on how I can fix that.. everything else was perfect
    And I also followed everything to the T Except coconut sugar and I used white sugar

  13. Ekta says

    I am super late to the party!! But I have got my fruits soaked in rum starting today morning. The only thing different I am trying is, I have some walnuts soaked in rum in a separate container and I have chopped some dehydrated papaya soaking in rum with dates, raisin, and pistachio with the zest. I think I will keep them for a couple of days before jumping in. And I am also using Havana dark rum which I am eager to see how it works

  14. Ruth says

    Is this like traditional Christmas cake that would benefit from being made weeks in advance or is it best fresh?

  15. Di says

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe, it’s a good one. I made it two years ago and it was universally loved but the comments I got was that it was too sweet. So I’ve tried replacing the sugar with apple puree and it ups the fibre and reduces the sugar load and it worked really well. With all that fruit and booze, it’s really sweet anyway. I just boiled the apple puree along with the ghee and spices and it created a superb caramel sauce and I then followed the rest of the recipe normally.

    Thanks again.

  16. Sue says

    I made this in the mini loaves and had trouble getting it out of the pans. It’s possible I didn’t let it cook long enough to get the “caramel ” sauce thickness. But it was still a big hit. Everyone loved it! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  17. Cyndi says

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! It was a little extra work, but so worth it. Next time I will make mini muffins. They are the perfect small treat. I am adding this to our regular holiday recipe list. Thank you!

  18. Sue says

    If I don’t have fresh cloves or cardamom, can you recommend what this translates to for dried spices? Thank you. I’m looking forward to making this recipe.

  19. Anthony says

    5 stars
    My cake turned out quite fragile and breaks moved around (followed the recipe to the tee) how can I make it hold more firmly next time?

  20. Elizabeth says

    This sound and looks amazing and moist! Cannot wait to bake this cake.
    Love the catchy, clever name of your website.

    Thanks for the great recipes. Do you have a cookbook?

    Merry Christmas.

  21. GraffitiGrammarian says

    I plan to make these as cupcakes to take to a party. I wonder if people will expect cupcakes to have a frosting. Have you ever thought of putting a frosting or icing on top? Any ideas for that?

    many thanks.

  22. Helen says

    5 stars
    I made this cake last year and received loads of compliments. And this was from people who didn’t know or care if there were grains in it or not. So obviously I’m back again this year to make another batch for Christmas. Thanks for posting! Helen

  23. Tom says

    I’m soaking the fruits today, but I’m confused on the method. When you add the fruit, do you add all the rum or do you drain it off first? Thanks!

  24. Sherri says

    Thanks so much! My husband loves his boozy fruitcake, now he is gluten-free I can not wait to try this version. If I start tonight it should be ready by Christmas!

  25. Maria says

    I would love to try this! Can I use coconut nectar instead of the sugar and apple juice? If so, what would be the best measurement for it? 1/2 cup?

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