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Healthy Fruitcake with Chocolate and Meringue (Gluten-Free, No Sugar)

A healthy holiday fruitcake with a twist: a layer of rich chocolate shortcrust, a vibrant and flavorful nut, fruit, and chocolate filling, enveloped in a light and airy meringue. This fruitcake with chocolate and meringue is gluten-free, lectin-free, and low in sugar compared to other classic fruitcakes and made with only wholesome, healthy ingredients. It tastes and smells like holidays.

Is fruitcake healthy?

A classic fruit cake is far from healthy. Fruitcakes are made with a lot of sweetened dry fruits, sugar, and all-purpose flour, and a serving can have impressive amounts of sugar.

How much sugar is in a classic fruitcake?

One serving of a classic, homemade fruitcake has about 79 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber; that’s about 75 grams of sugar, or 15 teaspoons of sugar, in just one serving.

A generous serving of this fruitcake with chocolate and meringue has 16 grams of carbohydrates and 2.2 grams of fiber, that’s about 14 grams of sugar or 2.8 teaspoons.

While not entirely innocent, it is a holiday treat and a much better option than any other fruitcake.

How to make a low-sugar fruit mix for a fruitcake

Dry fruits can be great if they are consumed in minimal amounts. But a fruitcake has a ton of high-sugar dry fruits on top of the added sugar in the cake batter. Plus, conventional dry fruits are laden with added sugar and syrups, which makes matters even worse.

A conventional fruitcake is a sugar bomb.

To solve this problem, I created a mix that is low in sugar and high in nutrients and healthy fats. I kept the high-sugar dried fruits such as dates, figs, and apricots to a minimum, just enough to give some natural sweetness to the cake and to create that sticky texture.

I added lots of low-sugar dried, unsweetened fruits such as berries and freeze-dried raspberries. Fortunately, these are becoming increasingly available as we become more aware of the enormous amount of sugar added to all foods. I linked below a few options I found on Amazon.

For a little crunch, healthy fats, and extra nutrients, I used a mix of nuts: pistachios, blanched almonds, pecans, and walnuts (any combination of these can be used).

And for extra JOY, I added dark chocolate (90% cacao).

This is the fruitcake mix in a nutshell (check the Ingredients paragraph and recipe card for exact quantities, but feel free to use whatever you have available):

  • Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, blanched almonds, pecans
  • Just a few sticky, naturally high-sugar dry fruits: dates, figs, apricots
  • Lots of dry, unsweetened, low-sugar fruits: aronia berries, cranberries, mulberries, etc
  • Freeze-dried fruits: raspberries
  • Dark chocolate (90% cacao)
  • Flavors: orange zest, pure almond extract (alternatively, you can use rum)
  • Spices: our Holiday Warming Spice Mix (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, licorice powder, allspice, Sumatra long pepper, tonka beans) and ginger

To be clear, there is no such thing as a 100% sugar-free fruitcake. Fruits have natural sugars and especially dry fruits. But, by making a smart nut and fruit mix, as explained above, we can create a fruitcake that is naturally sweet, a great occasional treat that tastes delicious without wreaking havoc on your blood sugar.

All the ingredients for the fruitcake mix

Three layers of goodness

This chocolate and meringue healthy fruit cake is made of three layers:

  1. The chocolate shortcrust – a rich, moist bottom layer that holds everything together.
  2. The mix of nuts, fruits, and chocolate – falls through the meringue and sits on top of the shortcrust.
  3. The meringue – is airy and light, dry but not hard, and envelops everything without adding extra bulk.

The dominant flavors of this fruitcake are the warming spices and the almond extract. If you don’t like the marzipan flavor, you can soak some of the dry fruits in rum. But not the freeze-dried ones, as they will become mushy.

A fruitcake slice

Complete list of ingredients:

For the chocolate shortcrust:

  • 50 grams almond flour
  • 50 grams cassava flour
  • 50 grams chestnut flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 grams cacao
  • 2 tablespoons inulin powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • zest of one organic orange
  • 40 ml cold milk (almond, hemp, tigernut milk, or A2 milk)
  • 2 egg yolks (save the egg whites)
  • 145 grams cold, unsalted French butter

NOTE on the flour mix: If you can’t have one of the flours I used, you can use any mix of two (total 150 grams).

For the filling:

  • 300 grams nut and fruit mix made of 30g pistachios, 30g walnuts, 30g blanched almonds, 30g apricots, 80g Medjool dates, 30g dry aronia berries, 20g freeze-dried raspberries, 50g dark chocolate
  • 50 grams tapioca flour/starch
  • 2 teaspoons warming spices (use my holiday warming spice mix or a mix of warming spices: cinnamon, allspice, licorice, cloves, star anise, cardamom, tonka beans)
  • zest of 2 organic oranges
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (careful not to add more as it will become too strong!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 whole eggs + 2 egg white saved from the chocolate layer
  • 2 tablespoons monk fruit or another sweetener
The ingredients for the fruitcake filling
The ingredients for the fruitcake chocolate shortcrust

How to make a healthier fruitcake, step by step

Make the chocolate layer

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (saving the two egg whites), in the listed order, then grate the cold butter straight from the refrigerator and add it to the bowl. Mix with the hands just enough to make a dough, but don’t overmix.
  • Form a ball, flatten it into an 8×8 inch square on a plastic wrap, wrap it around and place it in the refrigerator for one hour.


The cold butter has been grated and added to the mixing bowl
The dough for the chocolate layer has been shaped into a ball
The dough has been flatten and wrapped

Prepare the filling, assemble the cake and bake

  • Make the dry nuts and fruit mix. Roughly chop the nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, blanched almonds) and the bigger dry fruits, the dark chocolate, and add them to a mixing bowl. Add the smaller fruits, whole (unsweetened aronia berries, cherries, cranberries, dry frozen raspberries), add the spices and flavors, salt, and tapioca, and mix well so all the pieces are coated in the tapioca flour. If bigger pieces get stuck into clusters, separate them.
  • After one hour has passed, take the dough out of the fridge. Line an 8×8 inch square baking sheet/pan with parchment paper, flip the dough onto the baking sheet and spread it out with your fingers to cover the entire pan (if it doesn’t fit already), and push it up the edges for about 1/2 inch or less. Cover the dough with plastic and put it back in the fridge for another 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
The dry nuts and fruit mix in a mixing bowl
The dry nuts and fruit mix have been coated in the tapioca flour
The dough has been transferred to a baking sheet
  • Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites, add the yolks to a big mixing bowl, mix it with the sweetener, and beat it until creamy. Beat the 5 egg whites in a bowl until stiff.
  • Slowly incorporate the egg whites into the egg yolks, gently folding them in with a spatula. Then add the nut and fruit mix, folding them in until they are evenly distributed (don’t overmix).
  • Take the baking pan out of the fridge, add the filling on top of the dough, level with a spatula, and bake for 10 minutes at 350F/180C. Then turn the heat down to 320F/160C and bake for 35 more minutes (maybe a few minutes less if your oven runs hot).
The egg yolks and egg whites have been separated in two bowls
The nut and fruit mix are being added to the eggs
The filling is added on top of the dough
  • When it is done, take the baking sheet out, and let it rest, at room temperature, in the baking sheet, for about 6 hours or overnight until the meringue dries.
A slice of the fruitcake
  • Pop it in the fridge for an hour or two before you slice it.
  • Slice and serve.
More slices of the healthy fruitcake on a cutting board

How to store and serve this healthy fruitcake

Surprisingly this fruitcake can be frozen, and it keeps the texture when thawed. So feel free to prepare it in advance. Otherwise, it can be stored in the fridge for about three days.

This healthy fruitcake with chocolate and meringue is the perfect holiday treat. Serve it with tea, coffee, or a matcha latte with homemade tigernut milk.

Two slices of healthy fruitcake served with a matcha latte in a glass

More healthy holiday sweet treats:

My inspiration

I was motivated to create a healthier version of a fruitcake when one of my most prolific readers, Lorenza, asked me if I had a healthy fruit cake recipe. At first, I thought it was impossible, but it turned out that anything can have a healthier version.

The technique I used to create this cake was inspired by a couple of Romanian food bloggers called Savori Urbane.

*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.

Healthy Fruitcake with Chocolate and Meringue (Gluten-Free, No Sugar)

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By Claudia Curici, Health Coach Serves: 16
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 45

A healthy holiday fruitcake with a twist: a layer of rich chocolate shortcrust, a vibrant and flavorful nut, fruit, and chocolate filling, enveloped in a light and airy meringue. This fruitcake with chocolate and meringue is gluten-free, lectin-free, and low in sugar compared to other classic fruitcakes and made with only wholesome, healthy ingredients. It tastes and smells like holidays.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE SHORTCRUST:
  • 50 grams almond flour
  • 50 grams cassava flour
  • 50 grams chestnut flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 grams cacao
  • 2 tablespoons inulin powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • zest of one organic orange
  • 40 ml cold milk (almond, hemp, tigernut milk, or A2 milk)
  • 2 egg yolks (save the egg whites)
  • 145 grams cold, unsalted French butter
  • FOR THE TOP LAYER (FILLING):
  • 300 grams nuts and fruit mix made of 30g pistachios, 30g walnuts, 30g blanched almonds, 30g apricots, 80g Medjool dates, 30g dry aronia berries, 20g freeze-dried raspberries, 50g dark chocolate
  • 50 grams tapioca flour/starch
  • 2 teaspoons warming spices (use my holiday warming spice mix or a mix of warming spices: cinnamon, allspice, licorice, cloves, star anise, cardamom, tonka beans)
  • zest of 2 organic oranges
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (careful not to add more as it will become too strong!), which can be replaced with rum (read notes)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 whole eggs + 2 egg white saved from the chocolate layer
  • 2 tablespoons monk fruit or another sweetener

Instructions

1

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE SHORTCRUST:

2

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (saving the two egg whites), in the listed order, then grate the cold butter straight from the refrigerator and add it to the bowl. Mix with the hands just enough to make a dough, but don't overmix. Form a ball, then flatten it into an 8x8 inch square on a plastic wrap, wrap it around and place it in the refrigerator for one hour.

3

PREPARE THE FILLING:

4

Make the dry nut and fruit mix. Roughly chop the nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, blanched almonds) and the bigger dry fruits, the dark chocolate, and add them to a mixing bowl. Add the smaller fruits, whole (unsweetened aronia berries, cherries, cranberries, freeze-dried raspberries), add the spices and flavors, salt, and tapioca, and mix well so all the pieces are coated in the tapioca flour. If bigger pieces get stuck into clusters, separate them.

5

After one hour has passed, take the dough out of the fridge. Line an 8x8 inch square baking sheet/pan with parchment paper, flip the dough onto the baking sheet and spread it out with your fingers to cover the entire pan (if it doesn't fit already), and push it up the edges for about 1/2 inch or less. Cover the dough with plastic and put it back in the fridge for another 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

6

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.

7

Separate the yolks from the whites, add the yolks to a big mixing bowl, mix it with the sweetener, and beat it until creamy. Beat the 5 egg whites in a bowl until stiff.

8

Slowly incorporate the egg whites into the egg yolks, gently folding them in with a spatula. Then add the nut and fruit mix, folding them in until they are evenly distributed (don't overmix).

9

Take the baking pan out of the fridge, add the filling on top of the dough, level with a spatula, and bake for 10 minutes at 350F/180C. Then turn the heat down to 320F/160C and bake for 35 more minutes (maybe a few minutes less if your oven runs hot).

10

When it is done, take the baking sheet out, and let it rest, at room temperature, in the baking sheet, for about 6 hours or overnight until the meringue dries. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or two before slicing it.

11

Slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Notes

You need an 8x8-inch baking pan with tall walls or something similar that can fit this quantity. This recipe is made for a metal sheet, I haven't tested it with a ceramic or glass dish, so times might differ. If you can't have any of the three flours I used, use a mix of the remaining two to make 150 grams mix. Feel free to adapt your nut and fruit mix depending on what you find available, keeping the proportions described in the post (just a few high-sugar fruits, lots of dried unsweetened berries, and nuts). If you don't like the almond flavor (marzipan-like), feel free to use rum by lightly soaking some of the dry fruits. But don't use too much liquid, and don't soak the freeze-fried fruits, as they'll become mushy. For example, I would only soak the dry aronia berries and discard the liquid when I add them to the mix. Surprisingly this fruitcake can be frozen, and it keeps the texture when thawed. So feel free to prepare it in advance. Otherwise, it can be stored in the fridge for about three days.

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