Christmas, Seasonal, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Yummy Recipes

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Rich Fruit Cake Recipe { DIY Wedding Cake, Traditional Christmas Cake }

For my original Rich Fruit Cake recipe with butter and regular flour, check out this post.


In the years since I first shared my Rich Fruit Cake recipe I’ve become more cautious about avoiding Dairy (I was born with a Dairy Allergy) and also avoiding Gluten (I have the MTHFR gene mutation and enriched flour is a big no-no).  After a little experimentation I can safely say that my original recipe can be altered to Gluten and Dairy Free and still be delicious.

I also made a video of me making the cake if you want to check it out:


Gluten Free and Dairy Free Rich Fruit Cake


  • 800g total of a mix of Currants, Sultanas and Raisins
  • 100mL (3.5oz) of Brandy, for soaking the fruit + Extra for ‘Feeding’ after Baking
  • 50g (2 oz) of Glacé Cherries (rinsed, patted dry and finely chopped)
  • 50g (2 oz) of mixed peel (lemon or orange work well), finely chopped (or purchase pre-chopped)
  • 225g (8 oz) of All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/4 a level teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of Mixed Spice
  • 50g (2 oz) of Almonds (chopped, with skins on or off)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Soft Dark Brown Sugar (regular Brown Sugar works and so does Coconut Sugar)
  • 1 level dessert spoon of Black Treacle (Molasses)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Coconut Oil (soft enough to be whisked with a hand mixer)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon (Optional)
  • Grated Rind of 1 Orange (Optional)

Note: I’ve made this rich fruit cake minus the Glace Cherries, Mixed Peel and the Almonds and it turned out fine 🙂


Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 1.png

1/ In a large bowl or container place the currants, sultanas & raisins and add in the Brandy (you could use another kind of spirits instead if you like, eg. rum, amaretto, sherry etc.).

Give it a stir and store either with a lid on or a tea towel over a bowl works too (I pop a rubber band on to hold the tea towel in place and prevent any bugs getting in).  This can be stored in a cupboard or pantry.

Leave to soak for a minimum of 12 hours.  I soak mine for up to 5 days but I am in a mild climate so results may vary if you’re in a hot humid climate where mould growth is quicker!

Gluten Free Fruit Cake 8.png


2/ Grease and line your cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking paper.  I’m notorious for throwing caution to the wind and not lining  my cake tin but for a rich fruit cake it’s a must. You’re slow baking this baby for a long time and you don’t want it to get too brown on the outside.  I even go as far as to double line my tin (I know, shocking given my general laziness).

Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 4

3/ Preheat your oven to 140C (275F, gas mark 1).  Switch off the fan if you have a fan-forced oven.

4/ Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs, treacle, vanilla (if using), coconut oil and brown sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth, fluffy and combined.

{ NOTE:  My old instructions for this step in 2011 were different.  I’ve found recently that I get good results from just mixing it all together in the bowl and it is a lot less effort.  It’s possible my cake was a little more moist and fluffy with the less lazy method so I will include my old instructions here in case you have some extra time on your hands and want to go the slower route.  –Sift your flour, salt and spices into a bowl and set aside.  –In a small bowl or jug whisk your eggs  –In a large mixing bowl cream the coconut oil and brown sugar with your electric mixer  –Add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar one tablespoon at a time.  After each tablespoon of egg I found giving it a gentle stir before beating thoroughly with my mixer worked best.  At some point (normally a few tablespoons in) your mixture may start to look like it’s going to separate (break/curdle).  Prevent this happening by adding a teaspoon of your flour mixture before continuing on adding the egg  –Once all the egg has been added, fold in your flour and spice mixture to the large mixing bowl –Stir in the treacle and vanilla }


5/ Fold in your soaked fruit, chopped almonds, glace cherries, mixed peel and the zest of the lemon and the orange.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 3

6/ Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tin.  Smooth the mixture out with the back of a spoon.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 5

7/ Before placing in the oven place a double square of greaseproof/baking paper resting over the top of your cake tin (I cut a rectangle and fold it in half).  Cut a small hole in your square to allow steam to escape (about the size of a 50p coin).

Gluten Free Fruit Cake 9.png

8/ Bake your cake on the lower shelf of your oven and resist the urge to open the door for a peek until it’s been baking for 3 and a half hours.  If your oven runs hot or it smells like burning then check it sooner.

9/ After 4 hours, check on your cake to see if it is cooked.  It should be springy in the middle when gently pressed with a finger.  If it’s not yet done then bake for longer and check again in 15 minutes.  Usually the cake will be done between 4-4¾ hours.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake 10.png

* If your oven runs hot or cold and you are baking this cake for a wedding then it might be worth checking the temperature of your oven with a thermometer.  After ending up with black edges a few times I found I needed to bake mine for only 4 hours and at 130C rather than 140C as my oven runs hot.

10/ Remove your cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack (or in my case just on a bench).  The circle of baking paper from your cake tin will be stuck to the bottom of your fruit cake, just leave this on if you like (I always do).  Once completely cooled feed your cake (for a photo step-by-step here’s my post on Feeding Your Fruit Cake), leave sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the alcohol to soak in, then wrap your cake in greaseproof paper followed by a layer of aluminium foil.  Place in an airtight cake tin and place at the bottom of a cool, dark cupboard or in the back of your pantry.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 6Gluten Free Fruit Cake pic 7

I tried an All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (the lighter coloured cake on the left) and Buckwheat Flour (the darker coloured cake on the right).  The Buckwheat flour did work but the flavour of buckwheat definitely came through (which might bother some).  However, I’m happy to report that after letting the Buckwheat Flour fruit cake sit for a month it mellowed out the Buckwheat after taste.  I still recommend a Gluten Free All Purpose Flour as being the best option (if you tolerate additives such as Xantham Gum okay!).  Buckwheat Flour works but the texture isn’t as close to the original and some may be bothered by a bit of buckwheat flavour creeping in.

* In 2018 I tried oat flour…the cake tasted great but it broke in half when I moved it into a container to store (the oat flour just didn’t hold all that heavy fruit together well enough).  I would NOT recommend oat flour as a flour substitute in this recipe if you want a cake you can feed and store for a few weeks or more…it just doesn’t present well or last as well as the Buckwheat Flour or All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.  It might be okay if you’re going to eat the cake once cooled and fed and don’t care about presentation.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comments below.  If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!


For a guide on how to Feed Your Rich Fruit Cake, check out my post here.

For other Christmas treats try my recipes for:

Apricot Balls

Rum Balls

Peppermint Creams

Fruit Mince Pie Filling (mincemeat)

2 thoughts on “Gluten Free, Dairy Free Rich Fruit Cake Recipe { DIY Wedding Cake, Traditional Christmas Cake }”

  1. I was just wondering if you had made it without the coconut vefore? Or what you would possibly change the coconut to? Thanks


    1. Hi Stephanie 🙂 We use Coconut Oil in place of butter to keep this dairy free but you could just use butter in it’s place (same weight – 225g). You could also use margarine or a butter substitute spread. Hope that helps 🙂


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