Old-Time Gluten Free Fruit Cake

Updated June 24, 2017.

Old-Time Gluten Free Fruit Cake is a traditional holiday dessert we make and share every year.  For me, fruitcake tastes like festive holidays!

Variations of fruit cake recipes are found in every culture and in just about every country in the world, its origins rooted deep in ancient Rome.

Did you know dark fruitcake is also known as black fruitcake?  It’s true!

Fruit cake comes in all different colors, flavors and shapes!  There are light, white, blonde and golden fruitcakes.

Have you ever heard of fruit cake with attitude? There are deluxe, grand, supreme, regal, royal, gem and jeweled fruit cakes. On the other hand, there are rustic, cowboy, poor-mans, farmer and drunken fruit cakes.

The use of some kind of alcohol in the batter and wrapping the fruitcake in alcohol soaked linen or cheesecloth was a historical method of preservation before the invention of refrigeration.  When stored in a cool, dark and dry place, fruit cakes could be stored for months.

Alcohol infused fruit cakes vary in flavor as much as they do in color and attitude.  Try spiced rum, buttered rum, Cointreau, whiskey, bourbon, cognac and hot toddy fruitcakes.

Many cultures consume some form of fruitcake throughout the year, not just during a holiday season or on special occasions as done in the United States.

Much folklore and many cultural traditions surround fruitcake and makes for an entertaining read.

I grew up with dark fruitcake, a traditional Christmas treat in my family.

For the best flavor and nutrition, I used organic ingredients where possible in my recipe.  To make the recipe corn-free I substituted dried fruits for commercially candied fruit mixes, which are drowning in high fructose corn syrup.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake Tips & Tricks

Old-Time Gluten Free Fruit Cake is a versatile recipe.  If you prefer the traditional commercial candied fruit mix, by all means use it. Just remember to substitute equal weight for fruits and nuts; for example, if you don't like raisins, substitute an equal weight of your favorite dried fruit, such as dates or figs.

Though I used dry white wine for my Christmas gluten free fruit cake, because it’s what I keep on hand for cooking, brandy is a very flavorful alternative.  Get adventurous and use your favorite wine, fruit liqueur, bourbon or other liquor, or go non-alcoholic and use fruit juice instead.

For another flavor change-up, substitute toasted walnut halves or butternuts for pecans, or use a mix of exotic dried or candied fruits, such as papaya, mango, or banana.

Dark fruitcake tends to brown too easily.  Using greased brown paper instead of waxed paper or baking parchment prevents excess browning.

To prevent dark fruitcake from drying out, place a pan filled with hot water in the bottom of the oven while baking.

Bake dark fruit cake at low temperatures to prevent excess browning and to produce a moist product.

Baking times alter if changing pan sizes as indicated in recipe. Christmas fruit cake can be baked in cake tins, tube pans, small loaf pans, and in muffin tins.

Gluten free fruit cake is a fragile baked good; cool completely before removing it from the loaf pan so it sets up properly.

Fruitcakes take weeks to ripen to fully develop the flavors, so bake them at least a month before you need to serve them.

After a month of mellowing on the refrigerator shelf, gluten-free fruit cake can be frozen.

Glaze cakes near serving time for the freshest, best presentation.

Use a serrated bread knife with a sawing motion to cut thin slices.

Make your fruitcake gourmet by serving with a brandy sauce or hard sauce, and have small glass of brandy or port on the side.

Stale fruit cake can be freshened by warming slices in the microwave and serving with one of the sauces mentioned above, or garnish slices with Vanilla Cookie Icing.

For a moister fruit cake, substitute equal amounts of applesauce for the orange juice, as indicated in the recipe.

Gluten Free Fruit Cake

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Time:  3 to 3 1/2 hours

Servings:  2 standard loaves


  • 3 cups White Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 2 teaspoons Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried grated orange peel
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound golden raisins
  • ½ pound dried currants
  • ½ pound dates, chopped
  • ½ pound dried pineapple, chopped
  • ¼ pound dried figs, chopped
  • ¼ pound dried cherries
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free brandy flavored extract


  1. Grease 2 9x5x3 inch loaf pans with butter.
  2. Line bottom and sides of loaf pans with greased brown paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place a pan filled with hot water in bottom of oven.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, dried orange peel, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, and then set aside.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together raisins, currants, dates, pineapple, figs, cherries and pecans, and then set aside.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until frothy.
  8. Add brown sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  9. Add melted butter, orange juice, molasses, white wine and brandy extract, and then beat until well blended.
  10. Add flour mixture and beat for 3 minutes at high speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  11. Stir in fruit and nut mixture.
  12. Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pans; pans will be almost full.
  13. Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  14. If needed, cover with foil about half way through baking time to prevent excess brown.
  15. Cool completely before removing from loaf pans; gluten free fruit cakes are fragile; handle with care.
  16. Carefully peel away brown paper.
  17. Wrap fruit cakes in wine dampened cheese cloth.
  18. Overwrap with plastic wrap or foil.
  19. Let “keep” in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks so flavors blend and mellow.
  20. Remoisten cheese cloth with wine as needed, about once per week while fruit cakes ripen.
  21. To finish fruit cakes, brush tops and sides of fruit cakes with glaze.
  22. Decorate tops with pecan halves, dried whole cherries and dried pineapple pieces.
  23. Let glaze dry.
  24. Apply a second coat of glaze, brushing tops of decorations as well.
  25. Allow to dry.
  26. To serve, slice thin using a serrated bread knife.


  1. In a small saucepan stir together 1 cup cold water, 1 cup white granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons gluten-free brandy flavored extract.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Pour into a glass jar and keep in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

More Christmas Recipes You Might Enjoy

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Crinkles

Gingerbread Cookies

Grandma's Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Holiday Celebration Cookies

Holiday Chip Cookies

Peppermint Candy Sugar Cookies


Sugar Cookies

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