All Recipes, Baking, Cakes, Christmas, Healthy Food Blog

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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! 

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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!

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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!).

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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).

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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).

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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…?

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree


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…

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree


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!

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

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!

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

Go ahead, turn the oven on. Grab your mixing bowl & spoon, and start baking!

Christmas aromas and vibes will begin to fill the kitchen…

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Calories per serving: 314 g

Fat per serving: 11 g

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

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!


    For the Fruit Cake:
  • •200 g Greek yoghurt
  • •150 g honey (or maple syrup, or muscovado sugar*)
  • •50 g brown/ muscovado sugar (dark or light, your choice*)
  • •3 eggs
  • •2 bananas, peeled (obviously😆)
  • •1/2 tsp caramel extract (optional: can use vanilla extract instead)
  • •1/2 tsp almond extract (optional: can use vanilla extract instead)
  • •1 tsp cinnamon
  • •1/2 tsp mixed spice or ginger
  • •230 g wholewheat self-raising flour**
  • •90 g sultanas
  • •60 g other mixed fruit (I used 60 g chopped dates and 10g chopped glacé cherries, but you could also use goji berries, dried orange rind, dried cranberries etc.)
  • For the Marzipan:
  • •150g ground almonds
  • •100g honey (or maple syrup)
  • •1 tsp almond essence
  • •50g Greek yoghurt
  • •140g gluten-free plain flour mix OR buckwheat flour OR wholemeal flour***
  • For the Icing:
  • •150g cream cheese (I used half mascarpone, half Philadelphia)
  • •100g Greek yoghurt
  • •50g honey (or maple syrup)
  • •2-3 tbsp gluten-free flour blend (optional; only if too runny)


    To make the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, 350°F, gas 4). Grease a deep, 8x8inch spring-form cake tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Greek yoghurt, the 150 grams honey (or maple syrup or sugar of choice), and the 50 grams of chosen sweetener (honey, muscovado etc.).
  3. Add the 3 eggs; mix well.
  4. Place the two bananas into the container of a blender, then pour about half of the mixture you just mixed into the container also. Blend until smooth (ALTERNATIVELY, if you don't have a blender, mash the bananas well and add straight to the bowl - just the banana will be a little more noticeable in the final cake😉).
  5. Tip the whizzed banana mixture into the mixing bowl with the rest of the mixture, and stir. Add the extracts, cinnamon, mixed spice (or ginger), then the flour. Gently fold in.
  6. Add the sultanas and mixed fruit; stir gently.
  7. Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, until cooked through. Leave to cool.
  8. To make the Marzipan:
  9. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground almonds, honey, Greek yoghurt and almond essence to form a sort of almond paste. Add the flour and mix as well as you can. When it begins to form a dough-like lump, use clean hands to knead it, incorporating the flour in the process (if you need more flour, just add small amounts one at a time until the consistency is right).
  10. Place in between 2 (A3 size) sheets of cling film, and roll out with a rolling pin until 3-5mm thick. - {Credits to Amy Atherton from Amy's Healthy Baking for this tip!}
  11. Once rolled out, gently lift the sheet of marzipan from the plastic wrap/cling film, and lay gently over the cake. Smooth over the sides, then trim any excess from the bottom with a knife.
  12. To make the Icing:
  13. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir well (you shouldn't need the flour - only if the icing is too runny).
  14. Spread smoothly over the cake, to evenly cover the top and round the sides.
  15. Slice, serve and enjoy!!


*Use light muscovado for a less rich cake, or dark muscovado for a richer cake - or half of each for a semi-rich cake.

**OR gluten-free self-raising flour blend, OR buckwheat flour+1tsp baking powder+1/4 tsp salt, OR normal self-raising flour.

***If you use wholemeal flour, the marzipan will have brown bits of husk fibre mixed in, but will still taste the same. INSTEAD, you could use 100g icing sugar, but it won't be refined sugar free then.

Pin this recipe and follow me on Pinterest!

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake #healthy #christmas #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave your comments below...