Nutrition, Recipes

Fabulous Fruitcake (and healthy alternatives to use in cooking)

June 1, 2015
Healthy Christmas Cake

If you’re a health conscious foodie like me, you’ll want to have your cake and eat it – no shame in that!

Maybe you’ve already ‘been there done that’ when it comes to substituting healthier versions of naughty ingredients to make your fav treats? Maybe you’re just starting out, whatever the case, it can be done!

My healthy foodie journey began years ago – thanks in large part to my dad who was recovering from prostate cancer at the time – I wanted to make him something delicious but healthy.

My dad has a sweet tooth, a BIG one! Most of my childhood was witnessing dad eating scones, cakes, muffins, slices and – his absolute ultimate favourite: the moist, super sweet Aussie Christmas fruit cake.

A week after he was discharged from hospital, I decided to make this delightfully delish treat for him – only this time, it was going to be a healthy fruit cake!

I was on a mission to help him recover and decided to look into all the beneficial foods he could feed on to assist his insides to repair.

I swapped the flour for almond meal, the glace cherries for dried organic strawberries and blueberries; I bought pesticide free organic apricots (side note: real versions of dried apricots are supposed to resemble dark, wilted discs…makes me shudder to think what’s in the bright orange, perfectly round ‘dried apricots’ sold in the supermarkets?). Instead of the alcohol, I used some vanilla bean powder and I added a little cinnamon and ginger to add a little spice.

What resulted were rave reviews from dad.

Oh! And I didn’t tell him it was a healthier version – I just presented it on a plate with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (in place of his fav icecream) and he loved it. Well, ok, he did ask if I had changed the recipe (he noticed the glace cherries were missing!). When I told him it was a completely different, more ‘clean’ version of his favourite, he was really impressed and now that cake has become a staple at Christmastime – yippee! And if you are in Australia – you can have the cake in Winter too… Christmas in July – double yippee!

From that moment on, I was hooked on the experimenting – no baked good was too difficult to healthify! Since that time I’ve tackled bread, muffins, milks – all sorts of foods and drinks in the pursuit of finding a healthier, tastier versions to enjoy.

So, without further ado, I share with you my very first clean eating sweet treat recipe – the beloved sugar-free fruitcake…

Why not make it to share with a loved one soon? Don’t tell them it’s healthy, just make, bake and test it out… Bon appetit!

Sugar Free Fruitcake

healthy christmas cake mixture

You need:

  • 700g chopped dried fruit (organic is best but pricey! Places like Costco are perfect to buy this type of thing in bulk. I like to use raisins, goji berries, chopped dates, currants, chopped apricot)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 eggs (organic is best)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds (for decoration – or whatever you prefer)
  • Cake tin lined with baking paper (I use a standard 20cm round cake tin with a removable bottom for easy extraction!)

You do:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into lined cake tin and decorate with extra nuts, seeds, and dried fruit – get creative!
  4. Bake for 30 mins or until cake tester/skewer comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and leave to cook for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool further.

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  • Reply Jamie Cotter Craig June 20, 2015 at 4:17 am

    The reason behind you doing this could not be a better one. It is so important to help those that are sick into recovery in every way possible but really that saying ” You are what you eat” is so true. Why temp fate!

    • Reply Danielle Shine June 25, 2015 at 1:13 am

      Thank you so much for your comment Jamie, it means the world to me if people truly benefit from what I am sharing. Stay tuned for more health-supporting, tasty meals (plus more free yoga, yipeeee!) :)

  • Reply How to Manage Your Sweet Sugar Cravings - Danielle Shine July 1, 2015 at 6:31 am

    […] my dad was recovering from prostate cancer, I began exploring more natural, sweet options for him to munch on…the struggle was real, but I got there in the end!  It began with my […]

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