In my eternal quest to make the perfect calorie free, dairy, gluten, egg, nut, carb and lust free carrot cake I’m always trying out the new trends. Like coconut flour this and carb free bread, that. I mean really… bread and carbs are synonymous so how can you begin to separate the two. Maybe some creative name changes are in order…or something.


Anyway, I’ve tried lots of different approaches to meringues and malva pudding and sadly, most fall far short to the real thing. I then momentarily give up as my all or nothing attitude takes over and I tell myself if I’m going for broke I’d better do it properly and have caramel AND custard over the malva and why not put a chocolate mousse in the meringue. Ah come on, no half measure here. If a things worth doing, for goodness sake do it properly.


Wrong…it seems if the health pundits are anything to go by. They call it adjusting and re-learning and reframing and changing your mind set and displacing pain and pleasure measures and….and all good and noble things.

So this year, with a family turned fitness freaks, and that’s doesn’t quite include me, I decided that I had to endure to the end and find the formula to a sugar free and gluten free Christmas cake.   Cos Christmas is just not Christmas without the cake.

And, I think I did just that. Yehaaa!


But let me warn you (and especially me) …all things sugar free and gluten free are not to be eaten free if you’re still calorie-carb conscious and have junk in your trunk. By sugar free I mean it does not have refined white of brown sugar in it but it does contain a whole lot of fruit (duh – fruitcake!) and is sweetened with date syrup, which may be pure and preservative free but still packs a good punch of calories and registers high on the GI and carb lists! I wont even mention the brandy here. Nope, don’t even begin to go there.

Party Pooper. I know. Sorry!


For those of you still willing to try: here it is:

500g fruit cake mix (I used 250g chopped dried apricots and 250g raisins)

1 cup date syrup

½ cup chopped dates

125g butter

1 cup apricot juice

1 teas bicarbonate of soda

½ cup brandy (plus extra for dousing afterwards)

½ cup chopped cherries (I used maraschino cherries which I’m sure do have some sugar in them)

1 cup chopped nuts

2 eggs beaten

1/3 cup ground gluten free oats (I used my coffee grinder)

1/3 cup ground flax seeds

1/3 cup ground psyllium husks

½ cup coconut flour

1 Tablespoon sugar free coco powder

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2t salt


  1. Chop nuts and cut cherries and soak both in brandy. (Can leave overnight)
  2. Put the dried fruit, date syrup, dates, butter and juice into a microwave dish and micro on high for ten minutes. Mix well. Mixture will be very runny.
  3. Add bicarb, be careful it doesn’t bubble over the dish. Stir well and set aside to cool.
  4. Add beaten eggs to cooled fruit/bicarb mixture.
  5. Add dry ingredients into above mixture and mix well.

Note: Coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture so don’t be tempted to add more if the mixture looks too wet initially.

I put my mixture into paper cupcake holders to make little cakes and cooked for about 30 minutes in a Gas Mark 3 oven or 160 degrees. You can put the mixture into a well buttered and floured cake tin but you will need to cook longer. Test to see if it is done by pushing lightly on the top of the cake, it should bounce back. You can also test using a toothpick or my best tasting method…just taste!

Once cakes are done, remove from oven and immediately pour a little brandy over them. This can be repeated at regular intervals between now and Christmas, all depends on how tipsy you want them to beeeee….Hic!

Although I adore marzipan and white icing, I think there are enough cake calories going on here and there is certainly no extra sweetness required. I will probably serve them with a dollop of whisked coconut cream and call it (a good Christmas) day. Yay!

Disclaimer:   1.  I’m a very slapgat cook so I pray these work out as well for you as they did for me.   (I’m holding thumbs here)

2.  Do not serve your Christmas cupcakes with cherry tomatoes. Don’t do that. They don’t go together.  In these pictures, the cupcakes are served with cherries!  Ok! Red cherries. Nice red plastic cherries cos I’m trying to be creative and make beautiful pictures like these food bloggers do.  But watch this space cos I’m going on a photography course….