Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake

By Published On: 2 Dec '20Last Updated: 14 Jan '22

Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake is a mildly sweet, healthy and easy to make Christmas cake without butter.  Enjoy this festive cake and add it to your Christmas baking.

I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas and I love this homemade Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake, which is really delicious but without the use of butter, it also makes it slightly healthier than other Christmas cakes!

Christmas for me is a time to make Christmas wreaths, put up a Christmas tree, decorate my house with garlands and bows, make traditional Christmas sweets (kuswar) and spend time with family. It is also a time, I jot down a list of sweets I love to make. The interesting thing is, very often I end up making only the first 4 or 6 items from my list. The rest of the items get moved to the next year on the top of the list. Many of you would relate to this, I am sure:) This year for me what topped the list is the Fruit and Nut Cake. I love this homemade Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake because it is the easiest ever cake to make. I love the combination of nuts, dried and candied or glace fruits. I was unable to make this cake for many years as I had difficulty obtaining the glace fruits for this recipe. I was able to buy only the mixed glace cherries for a few years in a row but not the glace/candied pineapple, apricots, figs and mangoes. I guess I left it too late and the shops had run out of these glace fruits. This year I made it a point to visit The Nut Shop in the Strand Arcade in Sydney in time, where I was finally able to buy a 375g pack of mixed glace fruit and made this cake. Check out their full range of fruit and nuts on They take online orders too. For those Sydneysiders, make sure you get in early to avoid disappointment as the lady at the counter mentioned to me that last year a lot of people were disappointed that they could not buy the mixed glace fruit as they had run out of them very quickly.

This cake is adapted from the Australian Gas Cooking School leaflet which I found just at the right time. I was holding on to this leaflet for several years in my Christmas collection of recipes and I am so thrilled that I finally made it this year. This is an excellent recipe as it is not sweet. It has just enough flour to hold the fruits and the nuts together. What I love most about this cake is that it is not greasy as it is made without butter or even oil. The ingredients just bind together with the flour and the eggs. This is a perfect cake for my husband and son as they do not like the rich mixed fruit cake. It is a winner with them as they have a mildly sweet cake to eat at the Christmas dinner table when the rest enjoy the mixed fruit cake.

Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake

Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
Carnival Fruit and Nut Cake is an excellent, mildly sweet and easy to make cake.  It has nuts, such as Brazil nuts and walnuts along with lots of dried and candied fruits such as dates, raisins, red and green glace cherries, glace apricots and glace pineapple.  This healthy cake is made without butter and all the ingredients are held together only with flour and beaten eggs.  Add this cake to your home-baking Christmas tradition and enjoy every mouthful of this festive cake.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian
Servings 15


  • 1 cup brazil nuts halved
  • ½ cup dates halved
  • ¾ cup walnuts halved
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup red and green glace cherries
  • ½ cup chopped glace apricots
  • ¼ cup chopped glace pineapple
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
  • cup brandy or sherry


  • Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  • Grease and line the base and sides of a 9 inch x 4 inch loaf pan with vegetable oil or melted butter. If you are using a silicon loaf pan, use the same size pan. Spray the silicon pan with non-stick vegetable spray. It is not necessary to line the silicon pan.
  • In a large bowl, using your hands combine the nuts, fruits and sugar making sure the raisins are well separated if they are stuck together. Sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt over the fruit and nut mixture. Add the desiccated coconut. Combine well using your hands.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla extract and brandy until light and creamy (about 3 minutes) and fold into fruit mixture. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Press mixture down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1 hour. Check if the centre of the cake is cooked with the skewer test. The skewer should come clean with just a few moist crumbs. If the cake is undercooked, cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked when tested.
  • Remove from oven and set aside in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on a cooling rack with the right side up until completely cool. To store, first wrap in two layers of cling wrap. Then wrap it in two layers of foil. Store in a cake tin in a cool and dry place for two to three weeks or in the refrigerator for two months. This cake cuts best after two days. Use a serrated knife and make thin slices. You may cut each slice into triangles if you prefer as shown in the photo.


I spray the silicon pan with vegetable spray as it makes it easy to clean the pan. You may omit this step if you do not wish to do so. Silicone bakeware is also dishwasher safe.
As this cake has no butter or oil, it is important to use very fresh dried fruits and nuts for a moist cake. My dried fruits were very moist at the time I purchased them and I used them within a couple of days of buying them to make this cake.  Also ensure the spices are fresh.
If the cake is stored in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before cutting the cake.
Keyword Fruit and nut cake, cake, festive cake, Christmas cake
Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

My Favourites

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating