Christmas cake – without grains!!!

Christmas cake recipeWe’re down to just fifteen days till Christmas, and as promised in yesterday’s post, (number three in our series of preparing for Christmas) it’s time to do a Christmas cake recipe.

Australia is a very multi-cultural nation, and as such I think it is sometimes difficult for us to describe a national Christmas tradition. The other side of that though is that we have a LOT of different traditions. We all have various traditions around national heritage, religion, community, family, and around food.

I’m sure that as you think about Christmas you are able to think about particular foods that just make it `Christmas’ for you. (I can see you drifting off as you think about them right now…….). There are usually some family favourites that come out on special occasions…..that leg of ham, Aunt Mary’s apple pie, your Grandma’s special stuffing in the chicken, Uncle Pete’s home brew. Our son Paul has always had a special favourite treat, apricot balls, which Grandma used to buy just for him at Christmas.

As we reflect on Christmas food traditions it’s not just the food, but the memories and the emotions that we have associated with it. Christmas cake is one of those special things for me. A huge, heavy, rich, dark, moist, aromatic fruit cake. Mmmmm. Making that cake, weeks or even months prior to Christmas, was an all day event in my childhood. Weighing and measuring all the ingredients…..creaming that full 500 grams (1 pound) of butter and the sugar (by hand until I was in my teens), then mixing it all together in a huge dish. Even preparing the baking tin with layers of greased brown paper took ages. Then after five or six hours in the oven, it took hours for the cake to cool before it could be packed away to wait till Christmas. It was a day of hard work and heavenly smells!! One I looked forward to every year.

As I set about getting out the Christmas recipes this year I wanted to find a healthy fruit cake recipe……one without grains!! What recipe to use? What could I substitute for wheat flour? Would it work? How can I make a primal Christmas cake?

On a hunch, I went to an old family recipe collection and pulled out a recipe we always called `Nana’s Boiled Fruit Cake’. It was always the fruit cake you made during the year, but never for Christmas. It’s smaller, but just as nice as the one I described earlier. And MUCH easier to make. (Maybe that’s why we made it during the year.)

So, here’s one of our family recipes, just  for you.

Boiled Fruit CakeChristmas cake reipe


  • 3 cups dried mixed fruit
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125g) butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teasp. bi-carb soda
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 2 flat teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  1. Put the ingredients (from top half of list, mixed fruit through to allspice) into a saucepan and boil gently for about five minutes.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Then all the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Bake two hours in a slow oven – approx. 150 degrees C  (300 degrees F)
  5. Allow to cool thoroughly before storage.

I use an 20 cm (8 inch) diameter, round silicone cake dish for this. You could use any similar size pan. If not using silicone, make sure the pan is well greased and lined with baking paper.

Really, the only thing I changed from the original recipe is the flour and sugar. Where it had regular wheat plain and self-raising flour I have used almond meal and baking powder.
primal christmas cake recipe

  • When shopping for mixed dried fruit – be careful. I found that most brands have a variety of additives – vegetable oils, sugar, preservatives, colours, flavours. I did find one brand at a local health food shop that had only one of the nasties. The `cherries’ (artificial, coloured balls of sugar) were the offending item so I just removed them.
  • I make my own almond meal in the Thermomix so I made half of it very fine (more like wholemeal flour) and left the other half more mealy, with larger particles.
  • This cake will keep for a long time (weeks) in an airtight container, and longer in the fridge.
  • For a richer flavour you could use Sherry or Port instead of water.
  • The original recipe had 1 cup of sugar, which I changed to 1/2 cup of coconut sugar (rich in minerals). However, it is still very sweet so you could even leave out all of the sugar.


I made this cake early last week….and it’s gone!!!! One of my good friends was full of great comments about the cake, declaring it his all time favourite Christmas cake ever. Can’t get much better than that.

It’s time to get your Christmas cake made. And look out for more yummy Christmas goodies tomorrow.



  1. Thank you SOOOOoooo much for this recipe. I just made it for my non-paleo family and they adored it! Will become THE family cake. I swapped the water for brandy like you suggested and made brandy butter with rice malt syrup to go with it! A hundred times, thank you!

    • Hi Michaela. I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed the cake. Hearing that makes the work of helping others through a blog like this so rewarding. It really is just so easy isn’t it??!! And really quite versatile. We’ve had sooo many people say that it’s the very best one they’ve ever had.


  1. […] I mentioned in yesterday’s post in our Preparing for a healthy, paleo Christmas series, our son Paul’s favourite treat is apricot […]

  2. […] example I was recently shopping for mixed fruit to use in the Christmas cake I planned to make. After having found that there was vegetable oil in the dried blueberries we had […]

  3. […] grain free Christmas cake is a re-work of an old family recipe. We’ve found that it can double as a pudding which is […]

Please leave us your comments or questions.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: