Adrian’s recipe for gluten and dairy free boozy fruit cake

adrian cockcroft
4 min readDec 19, 2022

This is a synthesis of several recipes that I’ve modified over the years. I usually make a cake for the holidays.

Growing up my mother made what she called a Dundee Cake, a round fruit cake with almonds on top. She would make it a month before, and soak brandy into it. My version avoids wheat and dairy, I use honey rather than sugar and I soak the fruit in spirits before I make it, then it’s good to eat a few days later. I made one today to go with Xmas dinner.

Start the day before you want to bake, with a bowl that has a cover. Fill it with a few cups of chopped dates and whatever fruit you have, I used dates, golden raisins and blueberries, and added spiced rum and brandy this year. Add some orange zest, a splash of orange juice, or some orange flavor booze as well. Shake it up a bit and leave in the fridge overnight. I eyeball the amounts, but it’s something like: 1 cup raisins, 1 cup dates, 1 cup other fruit, 1 cup some mix of brandy, rum or sherry. The idea is that the raisins soak up the booze. If it seems too wet after a day, add some more fruit or leave it another day to soak it up. More fruit and booze doesn’t hurt.

The next day, mix in a cup or so of walnuts or pecans or macadamia nuts or whatever you have lying around. It should look like this, the liquid has soaked in:

Bowl of mixed fruit and nuts

Next put a sieve on top of a large bowl, and add all the dry ingredients: 1 1/4 cups of almond flour, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Then sieve it all into the bowl together. The almond flour will need to be helped through with the back of a spoon. Here’s what that looks like:

Bowl of sieved dry ingredients

The liquid ingredients can be combined in a measuring jug, starting with coconut oil. It’s waxy at room temp, so put some in, microwave the jug for 30sec to get it to melt down, then you can see if you have too little or two much. Get it to around 1/3 cup level. Then add 1/3 cup of honey to get to the 2/3 cup level, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and stir it all together.

Measuring jug with melted coconut oil

Crack two eggs into the flour, mix them in a bit then add the oil and honey from the jug and blend it together. I used an electric beater to mix it, but it’s easy to do by hand. Once it’s all combined, add the boozy fruit and nut and mix in with a spoon.

Set the oven for 300F, line a round or rectangular baking tin with parchment paper, and spoon the mixture in. Smooth it out and add almonds to the top in whatever pattern you like. I did it in rows to make it easier to slice:

Cover the tin with foil and put in the oven for 1hr 15min. Then take off the foil and give it another 5 min to brown the top. Check it’s cooked with a skewer, which shouldn’t be goopy when you pull it out. If you made it extra wet it may take a bit longer.

Gave it an extra 5 minutes after taking off the foil. Let it cool for a while.

I turned it out onto a platter, and covered with foil to leave it for a few days to mature. The moisture comes out of the fruit and makes it taste better.

I mostly put this here to make it easier to remember the recipe for next time, as I have to look up a couple of places that I combine to get the spices and cooking time and temp right.



adrian cockcroft

Work: Technology strategy advisor, Partner at (ex Amazon Sustainability, AWS, Battery Ventures, Netflix, eBay, Sun Microsystems, CCL)