20% off selected FREEE product ranges.

Shop all offers!

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

Makes 1 cake

Packed with mixed dried fruits this is a typical cake for Christmas and other important celebrations.

Free from Gluten, Soya, Wheat


Change Quantities:
  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 500g mixed dried fruit
  • 100g flaked or ground almonds
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy or apple juice
  • 150g FREEE Plain White Flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 125g butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 400g marzipan
  • 500g fondant icing
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • caster sugar, for dusting
  • fresh rosemary fronds
  • fresh cranberries

Gluten Free Fruit Cake 

  1. Pre-heat the oven.
  2. Line the base and sides of a 20cm/8” deep, round cake tin with a double layer of parchment or greaseproof paper.
  3. Cut a 300mm/12” square of parchment, greaseproof or brown paper, fold the corners to meet in the middle, press to make folded flaps and save for later.
  4. Measure out the cherries, chop them in half and put them into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Weigh the mixed dried fruit and almonds into the bowl.
  6. Grate the lemon, squeeze the juice and add these to the bowl.
  7. Add the brandy or fruit juice and stir to combine.
  8. Measure the flour and mixed spice into another bowl, stir to mix and set aside.
  9. Put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
  10. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before adding the next.
  11. Add the prepared flour and beat again well.
  12. Stir in the prepared fruit and almonds.
  13. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, pushing it down and smoothing the top.
  14. Place the prepared parchment paper square over the cake tin with the folded flaps pointing down to loosely cover the cake when it goes into the oven.
  15. Bake for 2-2¼ hours.
  16. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 12 hours.


  1. Warm the apricot jam and spread it over the cold cake.
  2. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll the marzipan into a 30cm/12” circle.
  3. Carefully lift the marzipan onto the cake, pressing and shaping it to cover the cake. Use your hands or a cake smoother.
  4. Trim away any excess marzipan and leave the cake for at least 12 hours for the marzipan to set.
  5. Either, proceed to the next step, or wrap the cake tightly in aluminium foil and store it in a tin until a few days before you plan to serve it.
  6. Roll the fondant icing into a large circle. Carefully lift it over the marzipan, pressing and shaping it with a cake smoother to cover the cake. Trim away any excess.
  7. To store the cake, wrap it in parchment and a double layer of tin foil before storing it in an airtight container where it will keep for several weeks.

Frosted Herbs Decoration

  1. Measure the caster sugar into a bowl and cover a large chopping board with parchment paper.
  2. Scatter the granulated sugar over the base of a saucepan and sprinkle the water evenly over the sugar.
  3. Put the saucepan over a medium heat until bubbles start to appear.
  4. Shake the pan, but do not stir, and leave it to simmer gently until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  5. Remove the pan of clear syrup from the heat.
  6. Carefully slide a few rosemary fronds into the hot syrup.
  7. Turn the herbs in the syrup so that they are fully coated.
  8. Using tongs, lift up the rosemary, one piece at a time, and allow excess syrup to drain off.
  9. Transfer the herbs to the bowl of caster sugar and turn them over so they are well covered in sugar.
  10. Lift the sugared herbs onto the parchment paper and spread out the herb leaves if required.
  11. Dust a little caster sugar over the herbs and leave them to dry.
  12. Repeat the frosting process with the cranberries.
  13. When completely dry, place the frosted rosemary and cranberry on the top of your iced cake.


20cm/8" deep, round cake tin, parchment paper or greaseproof paper or brown paper, 2 x mixing bowls, saucepan, cake smoother (optional), aluminium foil and large chopping board


150°C, Fan 130°C, 300°F, Gas 2

Cooking time

2 - 2¼ hours
Well into my 6th decade and never made a Christmas cake until 2020! This gluten free cake is magnificent. I cannot recommend it highly enough. A delight to take the time to fully embrace gadget free! Not at all heavy or over-rich. Extremely tasty. I dug out my mother's old cookery book for advice on adding brandy after cooking... wonderful! I will definitely make again next year!
By Jackie
16 Jan 2021
First time I have found a recipe that nearly matches a "normal" cake I have made for 30 years, and still have to make for the rest of the family. Instead of the lemon I used orange zest and juice, guessing the amount that equalled juice from a lemon. I replaced the apple juice with one tbsp of orange juice and one of brandy, to give a little taste. I don't normally adapt recipes but added a little black treacle (about dessert spoon) as in my normal cake, and it turned out lovely, fruity and moist. Cooked at 130c fan for about 2 hours, until it smells done and test with a skewer. Mum likes it too, also Coeliac and she doesn't normally like fruit cake. A recipe to keep along with a few other freee recipes, thankyou.
By Lorna Clayton
03 Jan 2020
This is a really good recipe and make a fantastic cake. Would be really helpful if the oven temperature was at the beginning of the recipe.
By Em
15 Dec 2020
It’s in the oven so we will see what happens. But it says pre heat oven but to what temperature. I’ve guessed at 180 so my figures are crossed
By Carrie
23 Sep 2020
Followed the instructions to the word and this cake turned out absolutely fine., if a bit crumbly. Then, as the Doves Farm FREEE plain white flour doesn't contain any Xantham Gum, I added 1/2tsp and this improved the texture. The taste is incredible! I even did the decoration, which really adds the finishing touch to what is already a great cake.
By Nigel Lorriman
09 Dec 2019
Hi made this yesterday and it turned out great but I'm wondering if it'll keep til Xmas? I wasn't organised enough to buy the marzipan yet so I thought maybe put it in the freezer?
By River Anderson
17 Nov 2019

Hi River, thanks so much for your review. This cake will keep perfectly until Christmas if you wrap it in greaseproof paper and then aluminium foil and store in an airtight container.  Remember to feel your cake using brandy and cover the cake with marzipan and icing a few days before you eat the cake. Best wishes, FREEE by Doves Farm.

By Doves Farm
18 Nov 2019
Fab recipe! Just made and cake is perfect! Definitely recommend x
By #mrschattywilson @thenortheastglutenfreefoodie
24 Oct 2017
I made this cake before Christmas, it was so lovely I had to make another! The flavour is beautiful. The only change I made was to replace the cherries with chopped apricots as we're not cherry lovers. Just super, we like it better than my old glutinous recipe. Well done DOVES FARM.
By Mrs Sue Stone
16 Jan 2017
I am about to make this cake for the first time. I'm worried about it not rising because it's just plain flour, not self raising. Any tips?
By Ms Leanne Reilly
02 Dec 2016
Can this recipe be made nut free?
By Dr Berenice Golding
27 Nov 2016
Is it necessary to add the ground almonds to this recipe
By Mrs Audrey Boardman
21 Nov 2016
Just made this cake for the first time. Lisa Spooner asks about Gluten Free Glace Cherries. Morrisons Culturefruit Glace Cherries are Gluten Free.On offer at £1 for 200g at the moment.Not sure if I did the Almonds right, it just says Almonds and I used ground without thinking.Maybe the ingredients could be a bit clearer and amended?

Hi David, Thanks for your comment. As you can see we have amended the recipe to say flaked almonds or ground almonds.

By Mr David Sweet
05 Nov 2016
Where would I buy gluten free glace cherries? This is one ingredient I miss baking with, because glace cherries generally contain gluten and I've been unable to find a brand that is gluten free.
By Mrs Lisa Spooner
16 Apr 2016
Absolutely loved this cake! I added chopped stem ginger to the dried fruit mixture. The cake was moist and delicious even after cutting. Kept well. Will be making this every Christmas from now on!
By Mrs Sheila Pinney
10 Jan 2016
Have just made this as my first ever gluten free cake, it smells incredble, nibbled a bit to try from the bottom, already delicious and hopefully better after storage. Added grated apple, cranberreies and sour cherries. Substitued cranberry juice instead of brandy as this is intended for person who doesnt indulge in alcohol, will post on final tasting after xmas
By Mrs Goldie culpin
22 Nov 2015
Made this in a square tin as a Wedding Cake. All fruit was substituted with Island Mix + dried goji & cranberries. SStandard white marzipan on home made Apricot Jam. Ready to roll white icing & got lots of pink & red roses & buds plus some silvered roses finished with a red & pink ribbon (both of them previously married so no need for white.) The bought cake was O.K. but mine was finished on the Wedding Day. Can sed a photo if you like!!
23 Apr 2015
Made this for my mum who is coeliac. Absolutely gorgeous cake lovely flavours! Only problem i had was the icing was too runny had to wait ages for it to set before i could put the ribbon on but wasn't sure what I'd done wrong as followed the instructions and used exact ingredients. Overall a beautiful cake and would definitely make it again!
By Mrs christina Russell
11 Jan 2015
Tried this recipe on the family this year as my mum and I have problems with gluten and wheat none of them realised and they all enjoyed it. I fed it with cherry brandy and it was very moist and tasty. Would definitely use this again at other times of the year also.
By Mrs Jillian Meyer
28 Dec 2014
I decided to make this cake as there were so many great reviews, however, my cake did not turn out as good as the others. I scaled it down for a 7" tin; I have done this before with cakes and they turned out fine. Not sure what happened, it's tasted very fruity but not 'cakey' enough and had a strange aftertaste. Very disappointed : ( will have to buy a cake instead now.
By Mrs Julie-Anne Malkin
20 Dec 2014
Hi, I want my cake to be alcohol free but still have the taste of the brandy. Will the alcohol evaporate during cooking while leaving the taste or is it best not to risk it?
By Mrs Lucy MacDonald
15 Dec 2014
I made this cake from a recipe published in Free from Christmas Heaven by Anthem Publishing. Unfortunately there was an error in the oven setting which showed 180 degrees not 130! I should have known you don't cook a fruit cake on 180 degrees for 2 hours! Needless to say I will use the web recipe next time!
By Mrs Helen Vallis
29 Nov 2014
Hello, I was just wondering how many weeks before Christmas people made the cake, and what this brandy feeding really entails! Can you make it and not add extra Brandy?

Dear Cassandra, you should be fine to make the cake now using Gluten Free flour but would suggest that you follow the same storage guidelines as you would a standard Christmas cake. Suggested guidelines for storing the cake would be to wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and then in double foil. Secure it all with an elastic band, then keep it in an airtight container till needed. If you like a well-brandied cake, a little 'feeding' of the cake at odd intervals (say, weekly) before Christmas will add an extra dimension to it. This is done by making small holes in the top and bottom of the cake with a darning needle, then spooning over teaspoonfuls of brandy to soak in through the holes and permeate the cake. The traditional coat of almond icing (marzipan) should be put on the cake a week before you want to ice it, to allow its oiliness to dry out. Cover the marzipan surface with a clean tea cloth and store out of the tin or container. If you have leftover slices of Christmas cake, you can freeze them for a later date. Simple wrap them securely in several layers of plastic wrap, place in an airtight container and store in the freezer. We hope you find these tips are of help. All the best from Doves Farm

By Miss cassandra oliphant
18 Nov 2014
Greetings from down under - Excellent cake. I removed the mixed peel and added cranberries and finely chopped apricots - Oh and I added the grated apple as suggested by Sheila below - it was moist and delicous and my family didn't realise it was gluten free!!!
By Mrs Susan Thelander-Bell
17 Nov 2014
Excellent cake. Good balance of fruit and nuts. Moist. I soaked the fruit overnight in brandy. I used half ground almonds and half flaked almonds. Hadn't got soft brown sugar so used 100g caster and a 25g mix of muscavado and black treacle. It won't make it to Christmas but I shall now make this fruit cake on a regular basis. Recommend.
By Mrs Pam Warwick
06 Dec 2013

See our FAQs for full details: http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/customer-service/faqs/baking-faqs/#A7

04 Oct 2013
I doubled the recipe ingredients, soaked the fruit in brandy and added a little more ... used a 23cm (9") tin and cooked it for an extra 1hr 10mins - good colour, moist, tasty - excellent result!
By Mrs Jennifer Butcher
13 Jun 2013
YUM YUM....made 2 of these cakes this xmas..first one didnt make it to xmas to get iced...2nd one i changed a little...I used ground almonds, plus extra orange juice with the brandy..4 tablespoons in all...the cake was moist and gorgeous..oh and a grated apple mixed into mix at the end ..a fabulous moist xmas cake..
By Miss sheila leonard
30 Dec 2012
Does this cake require a raising agent - baking powder, made mine and it's looking a bit flat. Thanks.

Fruit cakes do not traditionally contain a raising agent. Christmas cakes are more dense by nature but because of this last much longer than something like a sponge. This cake will stay moist for longer, especially if fed a few times with brandy or sherry in the run up to the celebration event.

By Miss Justine Steventon
05 Dec 2012
Didn't read your comments Ann-Marie till after I posted mine, which more or less answers my question - thanks.
By Mrs Rosemary Lowe
18 Nov 2012
Have just made this cake and wrapped it in grease proof paper and tinfoil, will it keep ok till Christmas and can I feed it now and again with a drop (or 2) of brandy? It smells absolutely delicious and filled the house with Christmas smells when it was cooking!
By Mrs Rosemary Lowe
18 Nov 2012
I used this as the base layer of a two tier cake for my sis-in-law's 50th. I found it to be rich and moist. I did make it a month beforehand, and fed it brandy twice. No-one knew that it was GF. Have made this several times too, just because I loved it.
By Mrs Ann-Marie Lee
05 Nov 2012
I used this recipe last year and it was a huge hit, i made a few little changes. I work in a kitchen that specializes in gluten free food and the customers loved it. I made christmas cake ice cream hmmmm
08 Oct 2012
i amde this cake simple easy to do , but found a little dry, so i removed the cherry and mixed peel and added 200g more fruit, an orange instead of lemon and soaked fruit in the brandy. perfect
By Mrs debbie mills
19 Sep 2012
I adore Christmas cakes,and (finally!) this is the perfect recipe. Kinda dry, in a good way and kept well for over 2 weeks. Make and ice this cake people!
By Ms Gertie Harte
10 Jan 2012
The first one I made was a little dry & I cheated & used ready made icing. However the 2nd one I soaked the fruit in the brandy overnight. Worked wonders...hic!!
By Miss Jane Lewis
24 Nov 2011
With this Christmas cake, there is no mention of leaving the cake to mellow, is this necessary with this recipe
By Mrs amanda pond
16 Nov 2011

Write a review


Find a recipe


Change Quantities:
  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 500g mixed dried fruit
  • 100g flaked or ground almonds
  • 1 lemon, grated rind and juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy or apple juice
  • 150g FREEE Plain White Flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 125g butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • 400g marzipan
  • 500g fondant icing
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • caster sugar, for dusting
  • fresh rosemary fronds
  • fresh cranberries

You may also like

Our Story

Going gluten free in the 70s...

Learn More
Cookie settings