This Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake is free from refined sugar, butter/oil, and (optionally) gluten. Easy to make, it tastes just as delicious as the classic Christmas treat, yet is only 300 calories per slice (normal Christmas Cake is 800 calories!), and includes 2 bananas!
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my Grandmother gives us a large red box. Opening the lid, inside is an intricately decorated Christmas cake! This year, a beautiful sugar-crafted flower sits on the centre, covered in silver edible glitter.
Usually, it takes us a couple of months to get through the cake, and we share it with friends and family when they visit.
Inspired, I decided to make my own healthier version of the traditional Christmas treat!
To make it a little less rich than usual, I’ve switched some of the ingredients:
Instead of using dark, rich molasses and dark muscovado, we’ll use a combination of light muscovado and honey (or you can use all honey if you like!).
This recipe is also free from alcohol. When I was looking around the kitchen for some more interesting ingredients to use, I saw two almost-brown bananas and incorporated them into the recipe.
As for the marzipan layer, we’ll be making that from scratch, too. Using just 150 grams of ground almonds, we’ll add some honey (or maple syrup), Greek yoghurt, and flour (gluten-free if required).
I’m not a fan of royal icing as I find it too sickly sweet. Therefore, this cake is instead covered in a cream-cheese style icing, made with honey and cream cheese. (I used mascarpone so that it tastes more creamy rather than cream-cheesy).
I was interested to see how our Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake version here compares to a traditional Christmas cake. Taste-wise, it resulted in my dad requesting to eat the whole cake himself. Despite not liking the richness of normal Christmas cake (I usually just have a very small slice), I really like this cake! Shall I show you the nutritional comparison?
So first of all, what’s in a ‘normal’ Christmas cake…?
Generally speaking, I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to calories, as it’s nutrition that counts. For example, let’s say you ate a biscuit that was only 100 calories, but it had no nutritional value whatsoever. If you ate a biscuit that was 200 calories instead, but it was packed with fibre, protein and vitamins, which is better? Despite being twice as many calories, the second biscuit is going to benefit your body a lot better, and will keep you fuller for longer.
However, the case here is that we know our version is packed with nutrition. We’re comparing calories to see which one is more nutritionally beneficial per number of calories.
Number of calories in 1 slice of normal Christmas cake? 836. That’s DOUBLE the amount of calories recommended for one meal!!
Now for my healthy version…
Calories in one slice of this Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake? 314. Now that’s better.😄
Not only is it under half the calories of a slice of normal Christmas cake, it’s a lot more nutritionally beneficial! With bananas, Greek yoghurt, honey, dates, sultanas and ground almonds, there’s 7 grams of protein in every slice. You may notice that the normal Christmas Cake has 10 grams of protein per slice, but take a look at the sugar. 90 grams, compared to our 30. The healthy version has 1/3 of the sugar content!
NOTE: A traditional Christmas cake weighs 3,600 grams – that’s a heavy cake! Our healthy version weighs 1,900. Yet for an equally sized slice of each, 1 slice of traditional is 230 grams, while 1 slice of the healthy version is 120 grams. Normal Christmas cake is a lot more dense, which is why so many calories are packed into one slice.
Half of the fat and carbs. Almost as much protein. A third of the sugar and salt. This Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake certainly wins!
Go ahead, turn the oven on. Grab your mixing bowl & spoon, and start baking!
Christmas aromas and vibes will begin to fill the kitchen…