World’s Best Fruitcake Ever (gluten free, refined sugar free)

Fruitcake has gotten a bad rep.  Now don’t get me wrong!  I’ve ignored fruitcake most of my life.  I’m personally not a fan of citron or candied fruits.  To me, fruitcake was just the joke of the holidays.  That is, until Barbara’s Fruitcake came on the scene.  Barbara!  Where’ve ya been all my life?!?

A friend of mine watched an episode on the Food Network and they featured Bailey’s Mills Bed & Breakfast, located in Reading, Vermont, where they make and serve Barbara’s delicious fruitcake.  She said that people came from all over to get it – even people who typically hated fruitcake.

So, my friend and I decided we would try the recipe.  My eyes were opened.  I fell in love with this stuff.  We started making mini loaves to give away as gifts.  When the Christmas season would roll around, I’d have friends and family ask, “So, are you making THE FRUITCAKE?”  They loved it.

Of course, this year, I HAD to come up with a way to enjoy it.  I tried making it grain free, but it was an epic failure.  I turned the flop into fruitcake bread pudding just to salvage all the work I did!  My apologies, SCD and GAPS friends, that I couldn’t pull it off – but the gluten free version worked like a charm and since I can tolerate it, happy days are here again!

This fruitcake is made using dried fruits, not candied.  It’s not too sweet, perfect with a cup of tea (or coffee) and my son and I slather it with butter…


Shared on Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Wheat Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

4.8 from 6 reviews
World's Best Fruitcake Ever (gluten free, refined sugar free)
  • 6 oz. dried apricots, chopped
  • 6 oz. prunes, chopped
  • 6 oz. Medjool dates, chopped
  • 6 oz. raisins
  • 6 oz. dried cherries
  • ⅓ cup port
  • ⅓ cup Triple Sec
  • 1 tablespoon Brandy
  • ¼ cup apple juice (or any fruit-sweetened juice)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • NUTS:
  • 1½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2½ cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients listed under "FRUIT MIXTURE" and allow to stand overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. (If using metal pans as I do, preheat to 325F.)
  3. Prepare 4 mini loaf pans. Grease pans then line long sides and bottoms with parchment paper. (Like I do in Yummy Grain Free Bread.)
  4. Whisk together all dry ingredients (GF flour mix through baking powder).
  5. Cream together butter and coconut palm sugar in a large mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. (Scrape sides down once or twice then beat again.)
  7. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  8. Add nuts to the fruit mixture and mix well.
  9. Scoop batter into large bowl with fruit and nut mixture. Mix together by hand, folding the batter into the fruit and nuts.
  10. Scoop into prepared loaf pans, filling to the top, and bake 40-45 minutes.
  11. Turn oven down to 300 and bake another 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
  12. Keep refrigerated.


Comments Adored

  1. This looks really good. Fruitcake gets such a bad wrap LOL If everybody had a piece of this I think they’d change their mind! We have been having such great recipes at our Gluten Free Fridays parties! I really appreciate you being part of the link up and part of the community! :)

    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)
    I hope to see you again this week!

    See you next week!

    Cindy from

  2. That looks lovely! I found you from Gluten Free Friday!

  3. Hi Jen! I’m featuring your Fruitcake on my site’s AFW today. I can’t wait to make it for my family. I”m sure it’ll be a big hit! You can find the feature here, and it has also been pinned & featured on FB:

    Thanks for always sharing with us at AFW!

    • Thank you Michelle! I’m honored to be featured – and of all things to be featured in – FRUITCAKE! I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do. I’ve already made three batches and am wondering if I should make just one more…

      Have a very Merry Christmas


  4. Every Christmas I crave fruitcake. I know this is something a lot of people loath but for me it was something I looked forward to. This recipe sounds incredible, way better than the traditional with the candied fruit. I’ll be running out to stock up on the ingredients tomorrow. Thanks

    • Thanks Nancy! My family loves this recipe – thanks to Barbara at Baileys Mills B&B. It’s great with coffee or tea for breakfast or dessert. Let me know if you try and how it went. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    • This recipe was wonderful! Just wondering on your grain free experiment, did you replace the gf flour with almond flour? And if so, which brand? I’m trying to go grain free and it seems like almond flour should work, but hate to waste all those great ingredients.

      • Hey Nancy-

        I did try with almond flour (from Honeyville) but it just didn’t work. It crumbled apart. Believe me, I hated to waste the ingredients too! We’re mostly grain free, but since it was a holiday treat, I decided to allow gluten free flour. I couldn’t taste a difference or notice a difference in texture than the full-on gluten version.

        So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Oh my! Fruitcake!
    Look how you made this one so perfect, Dear!
    I love the output and the presentation.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. I just made this fruitcake on the weekend and it is FANTASTIC!! I love a good, homemade fruit cake, but haven’t been able to enjoy it since going GF about 6 years ago. I followed the recipe closely, but added dried figs, some chopped chocolate and almonds. They cakes turned out exactly like the pictures you posted. I love when that happens!
    Thank you, thank you. Andrea

    • Andrea – You just made my day!!! I feel like I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I love fruitcake because it’s gotten such a bad reputation over the years, but I love it with the dried fruit. I LOVE figs – but my intestines can’t handle the tiny seeds. :( Sounds great with the chocolate and almonds. So glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for the encouragement.


  7. What are the dimensions of your “mini loaf” pans? This mixture would make a dozen of my mini loaf pans, and the next size up I have, only makes 2.

    • Hey Judy!

      My mini loaf pans are 5 3/4″ by 3 1/4″. The batter is very dense and doesn’t raise a lot, so I fill them near to the top (not quite up to the top to give some room for expansion).

      I hope that helps! Let me know if you try them. If you end up with a dozen loaves, I’d be glad to take a few off your hands…

      • I ended up using 4 of my small loaf pans, so they’re not very tall, but …. they are REALLY good. Even with my forgetting the pecans, which I saw on the counter after the pans were in the oven. Then about halfway through the bake I remembered I had some silicone mini loaf pans in the back of the cupboard.
        Worth trying a second time!

  8. Michelle Sears says:

    This looks so delicious. I miss fruitcake, but am unable to try this recipe yet. I am looking forward to it one day.

  9. This looks wonderful—but what could I substitute for the alcohol? Thank you!!

    • Hey Evelyn-

      The alcohol cooks off during baking – but if you want to substitute it, I’d use fruit juices of some kind – either apple, cherry, pineapple, or a combination.


  10. I”m vegan and tried this substituting the following for the eggs:
    1/4 cup flax seeds
    1 Tbsp. agar agar flakes
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 cup water
    Heat these ingredients over medium low hear while whisking until mixture thickens to raw egg consistency (the baking powder will foam up like a meringue – don’t allow to boil over). Fold mixture into batter in the place of eggs.
    It came out great!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Julia! I’m sure it will help a lot of people.

      Merry Christmas!

    • Yes, thank you for posting this helpful hint for egg sub!! The recipe sounds great by the way! I just ran across it while searching for a fruitcake recipe and can’t wait to try it :)

  11. fran james says:

    I’d like to try this recipe but I don’t know what Bob’s Red mill flour has in it, or what Triple Sec is. I often find USA internet recipes just assume the whole world is familiar with their brands and can buy them. Could you try to specify, for example, whether it is plain or self-raising flour? IF one brand is particularly good, give the generic substance and say that you use Brand X. Otherwise the rest of us might be justified in muttering about ‘typical American arrogance…’ If you post for the world, try to make it understandable for the world. Rant over!

    • Hi Fran,

      I’m just a mom running around trying to keep up with the worlds most beautiful strong-willed child I have ever known – while I try to share my recipes and ideas with other similarly harried moms. I’m sorry that you are offended by my recipe and my narrow American outlook.

      If I ever again have a free moment, I will be happy to go back and make the changes you have requested, but for now I’m going to go clean up the latest disaster and get started on my next batch of water kefir.

      Wishing you the very best,

      PS – Google might come in handy filling in the gaps on ingredients you’re not familiar with. I’ve used it myself with blogs originating from other countries using ingredients and measurements with which I’m not familiar.

    • Arrogant American? That’s RUDE, and actually, ignorant and arrogant! It’s super simple to google ingredients and the equivalent in your part of the world. I’m Australian and have never had any problem replicating a U.S. Recipe. Sometimes an ingredient can be hard to find but a bit of googling will help find a suitable sub. I can get all of the listed ingredients in this recipe at my local Coles in Australia. This recipe is amazing BTW :)

      • Thanks for the compliments and encouragement Aussie friend! So glad you enjoy this recipe. Not that I can have butter anymore, but in the good ole days, I LOVED this fruitcake slathered in butter.

        G’day :)

  12. I can’t wait to try this for the holidays – thank you SO much for sharing! I also appreciate your gracious response to the previous poster – very refreshing. :)

    • I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we have. I never liked fruitcake until coming across the original recipe. The dried fruit really makes it for us.


  13. Monica Barkwell says:

    Can you age this cake by brushing with liquor every week or is it best eaten right away? My experience with gf cakes is that they tend to dry out in a few days.

    • That’s a great question but I’m not sure of the answer. I tend to think the dried fruit keeps it moist but they don’t usually last very long after I make them. If you give the liquor a try please let me know how it turned out.


      • Just a quick question … I bought the ingredients, however I am a little confused over one of the products. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix is listed as one of the ingredients, I purchased Bob’s Red mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. Is this what i should have bought or is there another product by the name of “Flour Mix”? Thank you in advance for your help.

        • Great question! It is the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. I believe the ingredients are either garbanzo bean or fava flour, with potato starch and arrowroot. You got it! I hope you enjoy!

  14. Does this make a standard size loaf cake? how many servings? It sounds great, but wondering if I can make for a party … 50 people … how many loafs would I need?

    • Hey Deb-

      I’ve made this in mini loaves and also the standard 9×5 (or is it 7×5?) loaf pans with great success as well. I’ve never made it in a bundt cake form, but would imagine it would work. I would just set the timer for every 5-10 minutes and test to see if it’s done. 50 people is a LOT – and I think it would depend on whether or not they would all be eating it. Will other dessert be served? I would probably test it in a bundt cake and see how it does, then go from there. The fruitcake is nice and sweet, so a little goes a long way, but then, my family can just slice it up, slap with butter and keep on eating. I’m so sorry not to be help on how much, but there are many variables. If it’s the exclusive dessert, I’d probably do 6-10 loaves. It does freeze very well, so you could always freeze leftovers.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes.

  15. This looks FABULOUS. Do you have a tried and true substitute for the butter, aside from vegan margarine?

    • That’s a great question! I can’t cook with butter anymore either (well, not if I’m going to eat it) so I will probably try it with coconut oil or Spectrum palm shortening this time around. I haven’t tested it though, so I can’t say for sure and I know the ingredients are expensive. Maybe you could try a half recipe with a substitution and see how it goes. If you do, please come back and comment how it turned out.

      • I have replaced butter with 1/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 cup Apple purée for a dairy free friend. Instead of creaming butter and sugar I just combined wet ingredients then added to dry. Was just as delicious and have made it this way a few times now.

  16. This recipe sounds delicious! I’m wondering if it would work like traditional fruit cakes if I wrap it in cheesecloth and soak it for a while in Scotch. (That’s what my grandmother used to do with her fruit cakes and they were amazing- and surprisingly, not overly boozy.) I’ll give it a try and see what happens.

  17. I found Bob’s Red Mill biscuit and baking mix here in Canada. It lists xanthan gum in the ingredients, so should I scrape the extra 3/4 teaspoon? Excited to make this!!

  18. Second year that I have made this, it’s a great recipe. This year it produced 4 mini-loaf pans, and one regular size pan -which may be a little more than my GF/DF partner can eat (although he loves it). Has anyone tried soaking it in alcohol to keep it a little longer? How about freezing it? Thanks again for the excellent recipe!

    • I haven’t soaked it in alcohol but have had a couple of people say they were going to try it. I’ve for sure put the loaves in the freezer and they froze very well. I usually take tin foil and then put a piece of parchment on top. Then sit the loaf in the middle and wrap tightly. So glad you are enjoying the recipe!

  19. My fruit is soaking right now and I just realized I don’t have enough small loaf pans.You mentionned you made them in a bigger pan.
    Can you tell me what would the cooking time be for a regular size loaf pan?
    I think mine are 8×5 or 9×5.

    • I’m so sorry but it’s been awhile since I’ve made the fruitcake. I would start with the baking time I have in the recipe and then check it. If it still seems soft to the touch and a toothpick doesn’t come out clean, then I’d add increments of 5-10 minutes checking as you go. Sorry I can’t be more specific. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe – hope you enjoy.

  20. Hi. I just made this fruitcake with a few substitutions and it came simply delish. I used Pamelas artisan flour and psyllium husks for the xanthan, I used dates, dried cherries, currants, raisins, pecans and walnuts. For spices I only used cinnamon and nutmeg. I only used rum to soak the fruits and nuts with.
    Thank you for posting this, I can not even remember the last time I had fruit cake so this was a real treat for me. BTW I made 2 reg loaf sizes and I didn’t need any extra time baking.
    Merry Christmas!

  21. Hi,

    Ive been craving fruit cake and this recipe found me whilst I was surfing the net!

    Well woohooo Its just come out of the oven and looks fabulous and tastes great ( I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely) I didn’t use alcohol and substituted with red fruit herb tea and also I used regular light brown sugar. I made my own flour with brown rice flour ,arrowroot and cornstarch.

    As I have two huge loaves do you think it would it be possible to freeze one?
    Thank for sharing

    • So glad you are enjoying the recipe!! I’d love a piece right now with butter on it! The fruitcake actually freezes really well – so freeze it and enjoy it later.

      Thanks for the sweet comments!


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