paleo fruit cake

Paleo Fruitcake

Classic fruitcake turned Paleo, this healthy gluten free dessert is great with a cup of tea.

During the holidays I’m always looking for yummy treats to eat that won’t leave me with a high-carb hangover. This paleo dessert recipe for a moist, gluten free fruitcake fits the bill. Sweetened with one tablespoon of coconut sugar, along with dates, raisins and dried cherries, my Paleo version of this classic treat is great with a cup of tea, Dandelion Root Coffee, or makes a beautifully simple gift to give to friends and neighbors during the holidays.

According to Wikipedia, fruitcake is:

A cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and (optionally) soaked in spirits. A cake that simply has fruit in it as an ingredient can also be colloquially called a fruitcake. In the United Kingdom, certain rich versions may be iced and decorated. Fruitcakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas.

Along with visions of wacky people, the word “fruitcake” can also conjure thoughts of dry, icky cake. I think you’ll be pleased to find that this easy Paleo recipe is rich and moist –a Christmas Cake recipe that is versatile enough to use all year round.

Print Recipe
Paleo Fruitcake
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
  2. Stir in dried fruit and nuts
  3. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and citrus zest
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  5. Scoop batter into 2 greased mini loaf pans
  6. Bake fruitcakes at 350° for 20-30 minutes
  7. Cool and serve

I think this might be my first Paleo cake recipe. I could be wrong though. What Paleo grain-free, dairy-free desserts will you be serving this holiday season?


  1. says

    Delicious! Because I am constitutionally unable to make fruitcake without booze, I tossed the dried cherries with a tablespoon of kirsch. Which is undetectable in the finished cake, so I will have to add more.

    Used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour and it seemed to work perfectly – rose nicely and formed a lovely cake around all the fruit and nuts.

    Yesterday when I tasted the cake after it had cooled, I thought I would like it just a bit sweeter and planned to add another tablespoon of coconut sugar next time around. But the sweetness bloomed overnight and today it’s just perfect.

    Helpful hint: I mixed the grated citrus peel with the coconut sugar first and let it sit while I prepped the remaining ingredients, which liquified the coconut sugar very nicely. I think it mixes more easily into the batter that way.

  2. scilla says

    This is my go-to fruit cake recipe for the holidays! This year im trying it with the lemon glaze recipe from the lemon loaf on Primally Inspired! Your recipes are awesome for me since I also have Celiac. Happy holidays!

  3. Tess says

    I tried this today. But I didn’t get a batter only dry mixture. I wonder if the almond milk was missed? Too late to ask this question as it is in the oven now. Will find out. Seems to me no one got the same problem as me.

    • Laura Mazerolle says

      I wondered the same so, I had very little coconut milk left which I mixed didn’t raise much. I am hoping it will be edible and that I can cut it without it crumbling down? Has anyone any feedback about this happening?

      • Elana says

        Hi Laura and Tess, be sure to use large eggs for this recipe and your batter will be perfect, no need to add anything extra, it will bake up beautifully even if it appears a bit dry. Also please note that this recipe calls for mini-loaf pans. If you use a larger loaf pan this bread will be very flat as the batter does not sufficiently fill that size pan.

  4. Cynthia says

    This is the best dessert bread, tea bread, anytime bread, ever. I am an SCD-er, so I tweaked a couple of ingredients I can tolerate for the sensitive-to-coconut, and it is so good that my husband says not to bother making any other bread! We love you, Elana!

  5. Janet K-F says

    I made one batch and baked it in a 10 1/2″ diameter round ceramic-dish. It was done in 20 minutes and was SO good. I had dried currents, cherries, dates, and cranberries on hand to use. I made a lemon cashew cream to pour on the slices. Thank you so much for this recipe, Elana!!!

  6. Alana says

    This was absolutely fantastic, I’m so impressed! Added a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger and I think it’s the best Christmas cake I’ve had! Thanks so much.

  7. Carol says

    My husband recently had a heart attack and finally after all those years – We’ve been married for a little over 50 – he agrees that what I was telling him was correct and intends to follow my plan..Yippee! Too bad about the heart attack but good has come from this. I am going to try the Paleo Fruit cake this afternoon but it will have to be coconut flour instead of almond as I have no almond, live in a small town, and must order that stuff from the internet. Hopefully the coconut flour works well. I have made Dark chocolate black bean brownies for him from this website and he loves them Hope he enjoys this fruitcake as well, as I have been following this lifestyle for a couple of years and it will make it so much easier with both of us following it. Good luck to all

  8. Kathy Austin says

    For my non-paleo special friends I just made my grandmother’s fruitcake…and know I will be cheating and having one slice…THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE! I WILL BE MAKING IT PROBABLY BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

  9. says

    I just want to say thank you. I am so grateful I found your site. I live Paleo, but struggled with complicated recipes, with odd/expensive ingredients and iffy results. which would always lead to moving away from Paleo for convenience. now, I don’t have to choose between healthy and convenient. your recipes are simple, easy, convenient and the results are fantastic. I share each one I try and and everyone loves them. your almond joy bars are on my must bake list each week. by hubby request. so, thanks. you have made my life much easier and I appreciate your efforts and willingness to share with others. Peace Archie

  10. Amy says

    I have been looking for a fruitcake recipe forever. This looks fantastic! One question though; how far ahead can you make this?

  11. miranda says

    Do you think this will hold up well transporting through the mail?? I have family in a different state that I’d love to send this to, but I’ve noticed that the bake goods I make with almond flour tend to spoil if not refrigerated. Does anyone have any tips for shipping?

  12. Brie says

    Made this today for the first time after it popped up in my FB feed. Yum!

    I replaced 1/2 oz. of the almond flour (1.5 cups = 6 oz.) with coconut flour, as I find I prefer a little drier texture to most of Elana’s baked goods than she seems to. Just a personal preference.

    I’m also cheap about eggs and always seem to be running out, so I used 2 real eggs and 2 “flax eggs” (1T. ground flaxseed plus 2T. boiling water per egg).

    I used currents instead of dried cherries, because that’s what I had.
    And I baked them as muffins because my foil mini-loaf-pans seem to have vanished.

    (Dear Santa: for Christmas, may I please have some mini loaf pans? Elena uses them a lot and I like Elena’s recipes a lot. If you deliver them early, I’ll leave you some fruitcake on Christmas Eve…)

    Delicious! Thanks, Elena!

  13. Veronica says

    This is a wonderful recipe … I’ve made it so many times and I never get sick of it … it’s always a special treat. Thank you so much.

  14. IntoWellness says

    Hi Elana/GlutenFree Followers,

    I love love this paleo fruit bread. I have made so many times since Dec-2011 that I know recipe even in my sleep :-) Can you please tell me if it is bad for health to eat this bread loaf 2 times per week?

    I am following SCD diet, so this is my guilty pleasure for breakfast and snack. I read that almond has 1800:1 for omega-6 to omega-3 ratio but ideally the ratio supposed to be 1:1 for good health. Am I eating too much omega-6? I also read on site that people are not supposed to back with almond as it gets rancid with high heat. Gals please help.

    Thanks a lot.

  15. Fiona R says

    Made the fruit cake yesterday and had to stop myself from eating the shoe loaf. It was so yummy and my husband liked it as well.

  16. Victoria says

    Delicious! I substituted a few things: carob chips for dried cherries, chia + water for eggs and 1 tsp of agave syrup for coconut palm sugar. Baked them on mini cupcake dish and they came out great! Thanks so much for this recipe!

  17. Vicki Bradley says

    I made the Paleo Fruitcake in December and it was superb. Because of my allergies, I substituted the flour as follows-3/4 c Hazelnut flour, 1/4 c White rice flour, 1/4 c Brown rice flour and 1/4 c Tapioca flour. I used dried organic cranberries, figs, and apricots in place of the cherries. And I added pecans as well as walnuts. It cooked to perfection. The best tasting flavor and lovely texture. Thank you for helping me bake again. Though I can not eat almonds, all your recipes have worked out making a few changes. Namaste and happy New Year.

  18. Kathy L. says

    Oh my gosh – this was SO good!! I made up four of them for two New Year’s weekend parties and they were a HUGE hit. I had to share the recipe with many. And I’m getting ready to make some more just for me :-). Awesome recipe.

  19. Veronica says

    I’ve made this wonderful recipe a couple of times … used butter instead of coconut oil and different kinds of fruit … it always comes out great. Thanks so much.

  20. says

    Yumm this looks sooo good. My dad is a huge fan of fruit and nut bread, so we always have some in the house. Sad thing is that it’s not GF. Will definitely be making this so we can all enjoy it as a family. Thank you :)

  21. Brenda Gaines says

    I’ve read that oil which, peaked in 1970, is near depletion, maybe 5 more years at present usage. So Paleo style eating will be ‘in’ when the trucks can’t stock the shelves of the local store, and food from our gardens and fruit and nut trees, honey from our bee boxes, maple syrup tapped from our tree, eggs from our hens, wild or domestic animals that we kill and butcher ourselves will be the only food available. I put the book on women hunters on my wish list, and the Paleo diet book you recommended, but since I have blood type ‘O’, the caveman’s blood type, I am already trying to eat paleo style.
    I just ordered some Jerusalem artichoke flour and sweet potato flour, I’ve also been using flax seed meal, tapioca flour and other non-grain flours and nut meals. I enjoy your food blog very much…. I used half chestnut flour and half almond flour in your chocolate chip scones recipe (from your Almond Flour cookbook) and added dried cherries and a big spoon of honey instead of agave syrup, mmmmmm.

  22. says

    I just popped my first attempt at this recipe out of the oven. It’s so delicious! Sweet enough to be a dessert, but not too sweet – my boyfriend said he could eat a sandwich on it.
    I used ghee instead of coconut oil and added a sprinkle of allspice to the dry ingredients. I also tossed in about 1/4 cup of currants for good measure. My dried fruit looked really dry, esp. the dates, so I soaked it in brandy for about an hour before mixing everything together. In the end, it doesn’t taste too boozy, it’s more of a subtle woody flavor.
    I like the idea above of using apricots. Next time, I’ll do that.
    Now, I’m going to treat it to my favorite fruit cake prep: toast it and slather it with ghee. Yum!

  23. Sharon M. says

    I have been wanting to make a fruitcake like my Grandma’s (which is similar to this one) but it had gluten as well as 2 cups of sugar even with all the fruit. I added 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cloves and another Tbsp of coconut palm sugar to flavor it like Gma’s and it turned out deliciously! I will definitely make this again. I like that it didn’t have to bake nearly as long as Gma’s although it did require 40 minutes even in stoneware. Thanks Elana!!

  24. Jennifer wood says

    So good! I substituted some chopped dried apricots for the raisins which added a flavor reminiscent of that candied fruit in traditional fruitcake. Thank you!

  25. says

    Absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly. I did have a bit of a snafu as I melted the coconut oil and then when I added it to the eggs, which were just out of the refrigerator it solidified but I worked all of the ingredients together with my hands and it came out fine. Will definitely make these again. Probably will try doubling the recipe since I have four mini loaf pans and will for sure bring eggs to room temperature. Thank you Elana for all the wonderful recipes you post.

  26. Eva says

    This was really delicious. I upped the amount of dates to take the place of the raisins, and used grapeseed oil instead of coconut oil. Very moist and very flavorful!

  27. Becca Gater says

    I just made this and I burned my mouth because I couldn’t wait to try it! I wanted to mention a few changes I made in case anyone is interested. I made them mostly because I wasn’t thinking when I prepped. I only have coconut oil that is solid so I had to melt it first. I used agave instead of coconut palm sugar, mostly because I couldn’t get it locally. I used golden raisins just for the change of color. And I used only orange zest because I forgot to get a lemon when I was at the store. I also thought that I had bought about 20 mini loaf pans but when I went to put the batter in the pans I could only find 3 left. So I filled them and then greased a 6 count muffin pan and filled those too. I baked them all together. The muffins were done about 5 mins before the mini loaves. They are all golden on top and delicious on the inside. I can’t wait to give the loaves to my son’s teacher. I am also going to write out Elana’s recipe and include the link to the recipe in case she wants to make more over the winter break.

    Thanks again Elana. You have once again come to the rescue!

  28. Tonya says

    Made this last night. Delicious. :) I used dried apples instead of dates and lime zest instead of lemon (because that’s what I had). I did end up using 1/3 cup maple syrup instead of the coconut palm sugar, I used more because I wanted it to be sweeter. :) It is the first fruitcake I’ve ever made and it is great. My 5 year old daughter and I had it for breakfast and she said it was the best cake she’s ever had. :)

  29. Alfalfa says

    Dear Elana,
    I love your blog and enjoy many of your wonderful recipes regularly. I already made this cake tonight and it’s fantastic! The recipe is perfect. I feel much more relaxed knowing I will have this cake to get me through the holidays at my in-laws and keep me on a healthy track. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all you do. I greatly appreciate the time and effort you spend developing these recipes. My health and well-being truly benefit from them.

  30. Andrea says

    I made this last night, and it was incredible! My only issues was I found at 30 minutes it still wasn’t cooked in the centre. 40 minutes seemed to be the magic number for me (I baked one loaf at a time to experiment with this). Anyone else find they had to bake for longer?

    • IntoWellness says

      I have tried yesterday night and it came out really well. We had this along with chai in the breakfast and it was super tasty. I did have to bake for 40mins and also I put 1.5 tbsp sugar (xylitol) as I did not have COCONUT PALM SUGAR. I can see this making more often, hopefully not eating half a loaf in one sitting ;-)

  31. says

    OMG, I made this bread last night and it is so good! Even my gluten-eating hubby gobbled it up and now it is almost gone! I used dried cranberries instead of the cherries, omitted the zest (I am not a zest fan and I didn’t have any at home to use anyway) and substituted organic cane sugar for the coconut palm sugar. I will be making this one again!

  32. says

    Wow, great can’t wait to try them out! With the ingredients and instructions being posted its much more easier! I’m really going to try your recipe! Thnanks for sharing this!

  33. says

    I have been wanting fruitcake for YEARS but never could bother with it. This looks amazing. We just got 50# of almonds, and I was able to successfully make flour out of some of them, so I am certainly going to bake this with my kids! Thanks so much!

    Happy Holidays

  34. says

    Unfortunately, this is not a “Paelo” recipe. It is gluten-free, but definitely not Paleo. True Paleo diets don’t include this type of fruit or much fruit at all…or sugar. They simply didn’t have these ingredients during the Paleolithic era. However, great gluten-free recipe!

  35. says

    Thank you for sharing, I tried making it without the dried rasins and dates and its really good. My kids love it as well so I’ll definitely be making it again.

  36. says

    I made this recipe today and it was DEE-licious! I had to sub dried cranberries for the dried cherries and honey for the coconut palm sugar, but it still was amazing. My hubby says it’s second only to his mother’s fruitcake. Believe me, that’s high praise! Her fruitcake is wonderful.

    Thanks for this recipe!

  37. Carol says

    Elana, having nut, wheat/gluten, cane sugar & soy allergies have really put a damper on my previous holiday fruitcake indulgence, but this recipe may be worth the temporary discomfort. Thank you for continuing to offer adaptations and variations of so many savory and sweet items.

      • jo says

        how or why did i replace the eggs? i do not eat eggs so 1/2 cup of apple sauce and a TB spoon of flax with 3 TB of water make a healthy and great tasting binding agent. i also did not use almond flour as my husband is sensitive to almonds and used a general purpose gluten free flour mix and it was great.

  38. Elisa says

    Just wanted to say I made this today and loved it! The almond flour gives it a buttery flavor… without the butter! Also, I only have the full size bread pans so that’s what I used and it still turned out great. Thanks for your blog I really enjoy it.

  39. unscrambled says

    I tried to comment on the last post and it didn’t work–I just wanted to support you in not offering nutrition information because at least for me as someone with MS and a really busy life, it supports my health more to focus on eating well, and letting the numbers fall where they may. I’d like to thank you for helping so many people eat delicious things and feed their families well.

  40. says

    I’m enjoying this modern fruitcake. No neon chunks of unidentifiable fruit frozen in time by a layer of glistening sucrose. No cracks in the table in the photo caused by the sheer weight of the fruit beast bearing down on it. And no grandma in sight. I welcome this “cake of fruit” with open arms.

  41. cheryl says

    thank you SO much elana!
    my mum makes a gf fruitcake and sends all the way from australia –
    guess you can take the girl out of the country but not the fruitcake out of the girl!
    waiting for more almond flour to try your recipe! thx again!

  42. Rachel says

    My 10 year old son and I have been hooked on everything ginger this year and loved your gingersnaps. I’m planning to attempt a paleo version of the sticky gingerbread cake recently posted at 101 Cookbooks. If you have any advice, I’d love to hear. Thanks for all you do!

  43. Katie says

    I have always been drawn to fruitcake, but figured I’d have to make my own to actually like it. It just souds like such a great (though all too often poorly executed) idea. Now if you could just provide the nutrition information. (Just kidding!) Thanks for this, it looks great! I’m thinking just a little bit of orange liquer sprinkled onto individual slices… Mmmm.

  44. says

    I recently found dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice at Whole Foods. I might use these in place of the dried cherries in this recipe. I might also try to work in some dried apricots, which are my favorite.

  45. says

    This looks great, Elana, fruitcake I could actually eat, and enjoy.

    In Italy they make a type of fruitcake called panforte (strong bread) that is often gluten free. It’s very spicy and sweetened with honey. Too sweet for me, but I think the flavorings could be used with your recipe for an Italian variation. Can’t wait to try it!


  46. michelle says

    Add 2cups of ground amaranth seeds to the recipe, and you would be amazed how delicious it taste. You will not miss flour!!!

    Add the ground amaranth seeds to your cookie recipes too, and you will wonder why you did not do it before!!!

    It is simply Divine!!!

    Thanks Elana. You are always looking out for our diets and tummies!!!

    I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Holy, and Healthy New Year 2012!!!

  47. Jessica Wayman says

    This is a mini masterpiece! Thanks Elana for the inspiration. With family beginning to arrive and lots of kids around this is a perfect treat to keep everyone happy sans sugar highs!

    • Claudia says

      Elana never answers questions on substitutions, but I subbed a tablespoon of honey for the coconut palm sugar and the fruitcakes came out great. They really taste of the loaves they make for Christmas out here in the Netherlands and now my husband can enjoy them without the heartburn he used to get from those.

      Thanks Elana!


  48. Arielle says

    I’ve been looking for a recipe just like this! Can I bake it all in one loaf pan? How much longer do you think it would take… should a toothpick come out clean when finished?

    • says

      I wouldn’t try doing this in a full-size loaf pan. My experience is that gluten free baked loaves don’t rise well in the middle, usually fall and are often under-cooked while the outside gets over-cooked. Instead, consider making cupcakes if you don’t have a mini loaf pan. But ask Santa for a mini loaf pan if you are going to do gluten free baking in the next year — you won’t be sorry. Mini loaves are easy to put in the freezer too. Mine make four loaves so I can eat one and freeze three for later. Good luck!

  49. says

    This recipe looks great, Elana! I might make it for my brother for Christmas as I am not a fruitcake fan. He tries to stay on the paleo diet but doesn’t bake so he will love this.

  50. Heidi says

    That looks delicious! This is my first grain free Christmas season, but I’m not worried. Thanksgiving was wonderful, and I didn’t miss any of the gluten in my meal. I am definitely making another one of your black & white cakes and am going to experiment with your Christmas cookie recipes. Yum!

  51. Gretchen says

    This looks so good! My mother used to make a delicious applesauce based fruitcake (with all purpose flour, of course) and I’ve been looking for a gluten free fruitcake, but none has appealed to me till now. Can’t wait to try it!

    • says

      So good I am making another batch. Thank you so much for this. I knew there must be a simple way to make a yummy gluten-free fruit & nut bread.

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