This fat free fruit cake is made using applesauce to ensure that the cake remains moist and delicious. There's no butter or oil in the recipe. There's also plenty of natural sweetness from the dried fruit, so there's no added sugar. It almost sounds too good to be true, but honestly, it's so delicious that it's hard to believe how healthy it is!
Why make this fat free fruit cake?
If you need to cut down on the fat in your diet, or just want an easy way to trim a few calories, then this fat free fruit cake is for you. It certainly doesn't taste like 'diet' food as it's got a lovely texture and flavour. It's a great everyday fruit cake, and transports really well for healthy snacking. You might also like this fat-free courgette and apple cake recipe.
Fat free recipes are often loaded with sugar to make up for the absence of butter. But applesauce provides plenty of moistness and sweetness, so there's no added sugar required at all. It tastes like a proper cake, not a tea loaf that you'd spread with butter!
This is also a really quick and easy fruit cake recipe. There's no creaming or rubbing in, the ingredients are simply mixed together in one bowl. Pile the mixture into a tin, and you're good to go.
Gluten free fruit cake
It's also simple to use this recipe for a gluten free fruit cake if you want. I make it using a standard supermarket gluten free plain flour blend, and it comes out perfectly. However, if you don't need it to be gluten free, just use ordinary plain flour.
Dried fruit. I usually use mixed dried fruit, but if you prefer, you could make up your own mix with your favourite dried fruits. If you want to add fruits such as dried apricots or prunes, chop them into pieces about the same size as the rest of the dried fruit. Or you could also just go with one type of fruit such as sultanas or raisins.
Orange juice. You'll need a small amount of liquid to soak the dried fruit which helps to make it especially juicy and flavoursome. You could either use the juice from an orange or tangerine, made up to 100ml with water, or use a ready made fruit juice such as orange or apple. Or if you don't have any fruit juice, you can also use strong tea. Although it sounds a little strange, dried fruit soaked in tea takes on a lovely flavour. I have used rooibos tea as that is what I often drink, but you could also just use regular black tea.
Spices. The spices in this fruit cake are an important part of the flavour. Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg combine to make a lovely flavour which really complements the dried fruit. You could use a spoonful of mixed spice instead if you prefer.
Applesauce is the magic ingredient which allows you make the recipe fat free. You'll need unsweetened applesauce for this recipe. If necessary, you could quickly make 100ml applesauce by simmering 1 large apple with a splash of water for 10 minutes.
Eggs bind the mixture together and provide texture to the cake.
Flour. This recipe uses a combination of plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder to provide some rise. You can use either regular plain flour, or a standard gluten free flour mix. If you're making a gluten free fruit cake, remember to check that the baking powder is gluten free. Many are, but sometimes there are traces of wheat. If you've only got self raising flour, then omit the baking powder.
Nuts: You can add about 50 g of chopped nuts to the mixture if liked. You could also add some flaked almonds to the top of the cake.
Alcohol: if you want to make the cake a little more special, you could replace half of the soaking liquid with alcohol. Either brandy or a flavoured liquor would be nice. As you bring the liquid to the boil, some of the alcohol content will be reduced.
How to make fat free fruit cake
Pop the dried fruit into a pan, and add the fruit juice or tea and spices. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat, and cover with a lid. Leave to cool slightly whilst you make the rest of the cake. Using this method to soak the dried fruit before baking will help to add more moistness to the finished cake.
Prepare the cake tin which will make the baked cake easier to remove. Grease the sides of the tin, and line the base of the tin with a piece of baking paper.
You can make the cake mixture by hand, but I find it easier with a handheld electric whisk. (A food processor is not an ideal option as the blade will chop the dried fruit.) Whisk the eggs for a couple of minutes, then add the applesauce and whisk for a couple of minutes more.
Tip in the flour and the baking powder, and mix until all the flour has blended in. Then add the dried fruit. If there's still a little of the soaking liquid in the pan, add that too. Then give everything a final mix.
Add the mixture to the prepared tin. I usually make a small dip in the top of the mixture, as it will rise up. Bake at 160 degrees for 40 minutes. The baked cake should be nut brown and firm to the touch.
Leave the fruit cake cooling in the tin until you can comfortably touch it, then remove from the tin to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Frequently asked questions
This amount of cake mixture will fill a loaf tin which is approximately 18 x 10cm. This is what is often called a 1 lb or 450 g loaf tin.
Yes. If you want to make a larger cake, then use either a 2 lb loaf tin (21 x 11cm), or bake the cake in a round 23 cm springform tin. You'll need to cook the cake for about an 1 hr.
Check it's cooked by inserting a skewer - it should come out clean.
This cake is so delicious that you could also use it for a celebration cake. But it won't keep for months like a traditional recipe. You'll either need to make it in the week before Christmas, or bake it in advance, wrap well in foil, and store in the freezer. You could also decorate the top of the cake with dried fruits and nuts to make it look more festive.
This fruit cake recipe uses a very quick process to soak the fruit. Bringing the liquid up the boil means that the liquid is absorbed into the fruit more rapidly. It only take a few minutes, and means that the cake is more moist. This is especially important as there is no fat in the recipe.
I've never tried making this recipe eggless, so I don't know if it will work without the egg. If you do try using an egg replacer such as flaxseed, please let me (and other readers) know how it goes in the comments below.
If you are looking for a no added sugar fruit cake that does have butter, then you might like this sugar free fruit cake recipe.
Other low fat recipes you might like
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Fat Free Fruit Cake
- 375 g mixed dried fruit
- 100 ml orange juice or juice of 1 orange made up to 100 ml
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 medium eggs
- 100 ml unsweetened applesauce
- 150 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Add the dried fruit to a pan along with the fruit juice and spices. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat, cover and leave to cool slightly.
- Prepare the cake tin by lightly greasing it, and adding a piece of baking paper to the base of the tin. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
- Whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the applesauce and continue to whisk for a couple of minutes. You can whisk the mixture by hand, or with an electric whisk.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix until thoroughly blended. Add the dried fruit along with any remaining juices and mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the mixture out.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. The baked cake will be firm to the touch, and nut brown.
- As soon as the cake is cool enough to touch, remove from the tin and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack
- There are a few options to soak the fruit. Either squeeze the juice from a fresh orange (or tangerine) and make up to 100 ml with water. Or you could use a ready squeezed juice such as orange or apple. Or if you prefer, you could use tea - either regular black tea, or rooibos. You could also replace half of the soaking liquid with alcohol.
- Use mixed spice instead of individual spices if you prefer.
- If you don't want to use ready mixed dried fruit, make your own mix with fruits such as sultanas, prunes, figs or apricots. Cut any larger fruits into small pieces. Add about 50 g of chopped nuts too if you'd like.
- If you want a gluten free fruit cake, use a regular gluten free blend of plain flour. Remember to check that your baking powder is gluten free too.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.