Simple fruit cake

Some days, a slice of cake and cup of tea is the only thing that will hit the spot! And whilst I do love all sorts of cakes, a simple, a simple, light fruit cake is still one of my favourites. Unfortunately, they can be laden with lots of butter and sugar, particularly the ones available in the shops. So home made is the option to go for. And this is a good one as it ticks all the ‘free from’ boxes whilst still being utterly delicious.

This fruit cake can be made:

  • fat and oil free
  • gluten free
  • nut and soya free
  • low in added sugar

The type of dried fruit you use is up to you. I’ve tried a few options – dried mixed fruit leftover from Christmas, just with sultanas and finally a mix of raisins and chopped dates, which I think is my favourite. If you have a selection of bits and bobs hanging around in the bottom of the cupboard, it’s a great way to use these up, which of course reduces food waste too (most important).

If you are completely oil and fat free, you can omit the olive oil and just use extra soya milk (or whichever dairy-free milk you use if you are soya free). It’s imperative though that you line the cake tin with non-stick baking paper, otherwise half your cake may get left behind in the tin. Which is a big disappointment!

Soya milk is always the best milk to use when baking plant-based cakes as it has a similar fat and protein structure to dairy milk. Soya milk also curdles better, making ‘buttermilk’ which helps create more bubbles and therefore a lighter cake (check out this post to find out more).

If you cannot tolerate soya though, oat milk is next best. Try to avoid nut milks as they are heavier, which will make your cake heavier and less likely to rise. Ultimately, though, use whatever you can tolerate or have to hand. Your cake will still taste gorgeous, even if it’s a little dense.

The recipe gives you enough for a 2lb loaf cake or to fill a 18cm round cake tin. You should get between 8-10 slices. If you want something bigger, just increase the ingredients by a half. You’ll also need to increase the baking time, but take care that the outside of the cake doesn’t get overdone.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – and the cake of course! If you give it a go, do let me know how you get on.

Simple fruit cake

A tasty and light fruit cake that's lower in added sugar and can be fat free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Cake
Servings 18 slices


  • 18cm round cake tin OR 2lb loaf tin
  • non-stick baking paper
  • 2 large bowls


  • 270 grams whole-wheat self raising flour or self raising gluten free flour mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder gluten free if needed
  • 1 lemon rind grated and juice
  • pinch salt
  • 60 grams coconut sugar can be omitted if necessary but nicer with!
  • 300 grams dried fruit of choice
  • 270 ml soya milk or dairy-free milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60 ml olive oil or extra dairy-free milk if oil free


  • Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC/335ºF/Gas 3. Line a 18cm round cake tin OR 2lb loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the lemon rind and coconut sugar and stir well to combine. Add the dried mixed fruit to the bowl and stir again.
  • In a separate bowl or jug, measure out the soya milk or dairy free milk of choice. Add the lemon juice and allow it to curdle for a minute or so. Add the olive oil (if using) or top up with extra dairy free milk if you are oil free.
  • Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir well and rapidly to combine, scrapping all the flour off the bottom of the bowl as you go. The mix will be thick but should drop off the spoon. If it seems to dry, add a little extra dairy-free milk, but take care not to make it soggy.
  • Swiftly spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and gently smooth the top. Tap the tin on the work top a couple of times and place in the oven immediately.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Check to see if the cake is baked in the middle with a skewer - if it comes out clean it's done. If not, pop it back in the oven for a couple of minutes but take care not to over bake.
  • Once you're happy it's cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to settle in the tin for 5 minutes. Tip out onto a cooling rack, peel off the non-stick baking paper and leave to fully cool.
  • Store in an air-tight tin for up to 4 days.
Keyword low fat, low sugar, OMS friendly, plant-based cake, vegan cake

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