Grain Free Tropical Xmas Cake

Although this is grain free, it’s very high in fruit, so very high carb. So keep it for Christmas or other special occasions and serve with whipped cream, brandy butter or some other form of fat.

Day 1

Mix these together thoroughly. Marinate in the fridge for about 24 hours. Stir well several times throughout the day. All the liquid should soak into the fruit.

  • Juice of 1 lemon (save the skins for Day 2)
  • 2 Tbs brandy (optional)
  • a 440gm tin of crushed pineapple in unsweetened juice
  • 600g (21 oz) dried fruit, eg : 150g sultanas, 150g raisins, 100g chopped dried apricots, 100g chopped prunes, 100g chopped figs

Day 2

Mix together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 ½ cups crispy almonds or macadamias, ground as finely as possible
  • 1 cup fine coconut, ground even finer
  • 8 Tbs arrowroot

Beat together:

  • 2 oz melted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbs rapadura or maple syrup (Gradually reduce this & aim to get down to none)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 slightly heaped tsp cream of tartar, sifted
  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda, sifted
  • grated rind of the lemon

Stir the wet mixture into the fruit, and mix well. Then add the nut mix about a third at a time, stirring well. You will probably need to add some extra arrowroot (about 4 Tbs or so). The exact amount of arrowroot will depend on how much juice was in the tinned pineapple, whether you added the brandy or not, how finely ground the nuts are and how big your eggs were. The consistency should be very thick and starting to get hard to stir. Keep adding arrowroot, till the consistency’s right. Spoon into a lined 8” x 8” (20cm x 20cm) square tin or a ring tin. Bake at 165C (325F) for about 1.5 to 2 hrs. To tell if it’s ready, take out of the oven and listen to it. If it’s sizzling, it’s not ready. When the sizzling stops, it’s done. (Or the usual skewer test will work). Leave it in the tin till it cools. Optional extra: Pour a couple more Tbs brandy over the top while still hot.

Icing: This cake is already very rich without adding the traditional almond and white icing. But for presentation you might want to decorate with:

  • Whole crispy almonds pressed into the top in a decorative pattern, before baking
  • A butter icing like we used for ginger crunch, but flavoured with brandy or almond essence


Mini Christmas cakes: These are decorative, and don’t take as long to cook – approx 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Bake in std or large muffin pans, or star shaped tins.

Xmas puddings: Serve mini cakes as puddings, while still hot, with custard or whipped cream (or both).

Troubleshooting: If the cake is starting to get very dark on top, but is still sizzling, test with a skewer. If a lot is still sticking to the skewer, move the cake lower down the oven, and cover loosely with some tin foil. Check again after another 10 minutes. If the skewer only has a bit sticking, take it out. The final consistency will be more like a pudding than cake, but it will still be good. Next time, add more arrowroot.