Panforte Italian Christmas Cake gluten-free recipe

Panforte Italian Christmas Cake gluten-free recipe
suemareep gluten-free panforte

Panforte is an Italian-style fruit cake that is originally from Sienna, Italy. I wanted to share my panforte recipe with gluten-free rice flour. Italian Panforte is a delicious treat for Christmas. My panforte recipe includes dried fruit, almonds, lemon or orange zest, honey or a vegan sweetener, sugar, cocoa powder and spices. This is an easy recipe but you need to work quickly before baking. This is a rich slice-like fruit cake that lasts for weeks and it is perfect to bake for a Christmas gift.

Takes = prep. time 20 minutes
Bakes = 40 minutes
Makes = 20 slices

Ingredients 13

  • Dried fruit, figs, dates, raisins – 250g (about 1 + 1/3 cups*)
  • Blanched almonds, toasted – 250g (1.5 cups)
  • Lemon or orange zest –1 tablespoon
  • Honey, or vegan sweetener – 150g (3/4 cup)
  • White sugar – 150g (3/4 cup)
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tablespoon
  • Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground coriander – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground ginger – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground cloves – 1/2 teaspoon  
  • Rice flour, or your choice – 150g (1 cup)
  • Water (optional) – 1-2 tablespoons


  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C/ 160˚C fan. Prepare a 23cm or 20 cm round cake tin. Greased well and line with baking paper.  The nuts can be toasted in a 180ºC/160˚C fan oven for about 10 minutes first. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC fan.)
  2. Toast the nuts and remove the seeds from the dried fruit and chop them into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a  large bowl and mix with a large wooden spoon.
  3. Gently heat the honey and sugar in a small saucepan until all the sugar is dissolved and it looks bubbly. Then quickly pour over the dried ingredients and mix quickly until no dry ingredients are visible.
  4. Spoon into your baking pan and smooth over the top. You may want to press down using a little water. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove and rest until completely cool before slicing. Sprinkle with a veil of icing sugar, before cutting and serving.

Sue Maree P. Tips

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to help mix if it's too dry.
  • Dried fruit quantity will vary depending on what you use. Always best to weigh using scales
  • Store: Panforte can be kept for several months, well wrapped, at room temperature.
  • Remove the skins on the hazelnuts and almonds
  • Toasting of the nuts is important. Just 10 minutes at 180˚C/ 160˚ fan will bring out the flavour of nuts.