The Simple Lunchbox: Festive Christmas Muffins

The time of year has arrived where indulgence creeps in wherever it can. A tin of shortbread in the lunchroom at work, delicious homemade treats from a lovely neighbour who knows you too well, Christmas parties and family gatherings. It’s also the time of year for another favourite indulgence – Christmas cake. Traditional fruitcakes are often laden with added sugar, white flour and lashings of a festive tipple. Our version loses none of the Christmas cheer, and definitely none of the flavour.

Whilst there is still quite a bit of sugar in this recipe, all of it comes from the dried fruit, with no added sweetener. You can pull back on the fruit a little if you prefer and add in some more nuts. The cake base is made from almond meal which keeps the cake tender, and is a fantastic gluten free option and a punch of protein, along with the added nuts for texture, and fresh eggs.

We’ve made these Christmas Muffins in a mini silicon Bundt pan (available at specialty kitchen stores or online), but they work perfectly well in a normal muffin or mini muffin pan. This recipe is a great option for Christmas functions and gifts, and they freeze well.

Serves: 14 (approx. in mini Bundt pans) Prep: 15 mins Cooking Time: 1 hour


1 large mixing bowl 1 mixing spoon 2 mini Bundt trays (6 hole), or a muffin tray Skewer


500g mixed dried fruit of your choice (raisins, cranberries, apricots, sultanas, goji berries) 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp orange zest Juice from one orange ¼ cup extra virgin olive or macadamia oil 3 eggs 2 cups almond meal 50g pecans or walnuts 50g pistachio nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease or line muffin tray if required.

  2. In a bowl, combine the dried fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, zest, juice, oil and eggs.

  3. Add the almond meal, pecans and pistachios and stir to combine.

  4. Spoon your batter into your prepared trays.

  5. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Check that a skewer comes out clean. If not, place back in the oven and cook for up to 20 minutes extra with the top covered to prevent burning.

  6. Allow to cool in the trays. The cakes will keep well in the fridge for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

For more recipes, head over to The Simple Lunchbox

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