Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Fruit Cake: Perfect for Holiday Celebrations

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a holiday classic but need to skip the gluten? This gluten-free fruit cake is your answer. Bursting with dried fruits, nuts, and warm spices, it offers all the festive flavors you love without any of the gluten-related worries. Whether you’re celiac or just trying to cut back on gluten, this recipe ensures you won’t miss out on tradition.


Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (ensure it’s a blend suitable for baking)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour

Dried Fruits and Nuts

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Liquid Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • Zest of one orange and one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Leavening and Spices

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Equipment Needed

To make your gluten-free fruit cake, gather the following equipment for a smooth baking process:

  • Mixing Bowls: You will need at least two mixing bowls, one large for combining the dry ingredients and another medium-sized bowl for wet ingredients.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial. Ensure you have a set of measuring cups and spoons to measure out all your ingredients precisely.
  • Electric Mixer or Whisk: An electric mixer makes blending the batter easier, but a sturdy whisk can also do the job if you prefer manual mixing.
  • Spatula: A rubber spatula helps to fold in fruits and nuts into the batter without overmixing.
  • 8-Inch Cake Pan: Use an 8-inch round or square cake pan lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking and ensure even baking.
  • Cooling Rack: After baking, transfer your cake onto a cooling rack to allow it to cool evenly from all sides.

Having these tools ready will streamline your preparation process, making it more efficient and enjoyable.

Preparation Steps

Follow these steps to create a delicious gluten-free fruit cake that will delight your guests.

Preparing the Fruit Mixture

  1. Chop Dried Fruits: Finely chop 1 cup of dried raisins, 1 cup of cranberries, and 1/2 cup of dried apricots. Ensure they are bite-sized for an even blend.
  2. Combine with Orange Juice: Place the chopped fruits in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Stir well to coat all pieces.
  3. Soak for Flavor: Allow the mixture to soak for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the fruits absorb the juice fully.

Dry Ingredients for Gluten Free Fruit Cake

  1. Measure Gluten-Free Flour: In a large mixing bowl, measure out 2 cups of your preferred gluten-free flour blend.
  2. Add Leavening Agents: Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to ensure proper rise.
  3. Incorporate Spices: Mix in 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves for a warm spice profile.
  4. Mix Thoroughly: Use a whisk or sifter to combine all dry ingredients thoroughly, ensuring no clumps remain.

Preparing these components separately and carefully following each step, you ensure that your gluten-free fruit cake will have an evenly distributed flavor and perfect texture.

Baking the Cake

Let’s move on to baking your delicious gluten-free fruit cake. Follow these steps for a perfectly baked treat.

Preheating the Oven

Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Ensure that your oven rack is positioned in the center of the oven for even baking.

Combining Ingredients

  1. In a large bowl, combine your soaked fruit mixture with:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  1. Beat until well combined and creamy.
  2. Add four large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together:
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing just until incorporated.
  2. Fold in:
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pecans)

Baking the Cake

  1. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  3. Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 75-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. If necessary, cover loosely with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent over-browning.
  5. Once baked, remove from oven and allow it to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cooling and Serving

After your gluten-free fruit cake has baked to perfection, it’s essential to cool it properly before slicing and serving.

Cooling Down

Once you remove the cake from the oven, let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes. This allows the structure to set, making it easier to handle. Afterward, carefully transfer the cake onto a wire cooling rack. Let it cool completely for at least 2 hours. This helps retain moisture and enhances flavor as the ingredients settle.

Serving Suggestions

When your gluten-free fruit cake is fully cooled, use a serrated knife to cut even slices. For an extra festive touch, dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar and orange juice. Pair each slice with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for added indulgence. Enjoy this delightful treat with a hot cup of tea or coffee during your holiday gatherings.

Make-Ahead Tips

Preparing your gluten-free fruit cake in advance can enhance its flavor and texture, making it a perfect treat for holiday gatherings. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your make-ahead efforts:

Soak the Fruits Early

Start by soaking your dried fruits, nuts, and spices in orange juice at least 24 hours before baking. This helps them absorb the liquid fully, resulting in a moist and flavorful cake.

Bake Ahead of Time

Bake the fruit cake up to two weeks ahead of time. Once baked and cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil to keep it fresh. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate for longer storage.

Aging Your Cake

For even richer flavor, consider aging your fruit cake. After wrapping it securely, let it sit for a few days or up to two weeks before serving. The flavors will meld together beautifully over time.

Freezing Instructions

If you’d like to prepare even further in advance, you can freeze your gluten-free fruit cake. Wrap the cooled cake securely with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil or place it into a freezer-safe bag. It can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw overnight at room temperature before serving.

Glazing Before Serving

Apply any glaze or dusting of powdered sugar just before serving for best results. This ensures that decorations remain fresh and visually appealing.


Crafting a gluten-free fruit cake doesn’t have to be daunting. With the right ingredients and preparation, you can create a delightful dessert that everyone will enjoy. Remember to soak your fruits early for enhanced flavor and don’t rush the cooling process to ensure your cake stays moist. Whether you choose to dust it with powdered sugar or add a glaze, serving it with whipped cream or ice cream will elevate your festive treat. By following these tips, you’ll present a perfect holiday centerpiece that’s both delicious and gluten-free. Happy baking!

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