A Case for Xmas Cake (more cake … fresh fruit! )

I’m not a fan of glacé fruit of *any* kind and I dislike traditional compressed glacé Christmas fruit cake intensely. It’s the worst! Sticky sickly sweet, weird texture, the glacé fruit has no resemblance of fruit flavour whatsoever, and yucky to eat … and barely a trace of cake. I fall firmly into the non- fruitcake group.

But. I’ve been baking this LCHF cake for Xmas for a few years now. It’s based on a friend of my parents, Kathy, who lives in South Africa. I wrote her recipe up in 1987(!) and have used it as a base since then. It’s evolved into a more keto friendly cake, still a tad high in carbs if you’re on serious keto, but fine for an annual holiday treat. I never ever made the icing though! Not a fan.

In my cake I use fresh or dried strawberries, blueberries and apricots (other fruit will do too). If using fresh, be sure to simmer off the water to about 1 ¹/² cups fruity liquid. You could also use finely chopped or grated Granny Smith apples. Be sure to keep to the exact cup quantities of the fruit though.

You’ll be boiling up fresh fruit in rooibos tea in a large pot, with butter and keto sugar added to this wet mix. Once cooled, you add almond flour and eggs, spices and a touch of brandy or whisky if you like, then bake. Adding a cup of chopped nuts, either pecans, slivered almonds or walnuts is up to you. Bake super slowly covered with tinfoil.

It’s delicious. It’s very moist. It’s cake “first” with fresh fruit and spices!

Phase 1 Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 large pot
  • 1 1/2 cups strong hot black tea, preferably rooibos
  • 1 1/2 cups keto sugar, brown is better for caramel colouring
  • 1 cup finely diced fresh strawberries (or peaches, apples or pears – dried works too)
  • 1 cup blueberries dried or fresh
  • 1/2 cup either dried or fresh apricots, diced
  • Zest of an orange
  • Juice and bits of pulp from the zested orange
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (you add it to your boiling fruits, then remove)
  • Finely chopped thumb of ginger or 1 tsp powdered
  • Bring all the fruit to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes to let the moisture cook down, let cool completely overnight, or all day

Phase 2 Dry Ingredients:

  • Add to cooled boiled pot of fruit mix:
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (or coconut flour)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tblsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp each cardamom, cloves and nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice, walnuts or pecans and 1/2 cup good brandy
  • PS… if the batter seems too runny from all the fresh fruit, add more almond flour)


  1. When your boiled fruit mix is completely cooled add the dry ingredients, but remember to remove the cinnamon stick(s). Use the pot you boiled it in, no need for a mixing bowl
  2. Add the almond flour, protein powder (or coconut flour) baking powder, spices and lightly beaten eggs
  3. Add the last few ingredients (nuts and brandy) which are entirely optional
  4. For this bake I soaked some raisins in brandy and added to the bottom of the cake pan before adding the cake batter slowly in to of the raisins, 1/2 cup raisins – just barely covered with brandy, at the start of my cake baking process. Not sure how it’s going to turn out! (It made the bottom of the cake very dark and we loved it!) I poured the batter, cup by cup, on top of the soaked raisins. The raisin addition is 100% optional too!
  5. A non- stick cake tin or well buttered one, preferably a silicone cake pan is the best
  6. Cover with foil
  7. Bake in middle of oven slowly for 2 1/2 hours at 325⁰F or until a skewer comes out clean
  8. Remove from oven, pour over 2 tsp brandy (or whisky) quickly while hot out the oven if you like
  9. Let cool and store in sealed container.
  10. It’s delicious served slightly warmed after dinner with pouring custard or whipped cream as dessert.

I hope you had a peaceful festive season.

As we step into this new decade, my heart is hopeful it will be one where our fragile planet is treated with respect and gentleness, and humanity starts paying attention. There is much at stake and we’re in this together, no matter what our affiliations are.

On a lighter note, don’t bake your kitchen implements! This happened but luckily the cake bakes at a really low temperature. I have no idea how the scissors came to be on the tray! 🥴