Recipe: The Athlete’s Fruitcake


I’ve always thought that fruitcake gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s comprised mostly of unnaturally colored things, has a clawing sweetness, and is a completely strange combination of flavors and textures. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that fruitcake really is one of those amazing nutrient dense foods for the endurance athlete. Maybe not alongside a great big meal, but definitely the next day when you go for a long hike or bike ride.

Most recipes out there are complicated and have way too many ingredients. Here’s my take on a simple and more healthy version. Only add fruits and nuts that you actually like eating. We’ve skipped the rum, candied neon bits, and kept the sugar to a minimum.

Athlete’s Fruitcake Recipe

The night before, place 1.5 cups of your favorite combination of dried fruits and nuts in a large bowl, cover in orange juice and let soak overnight in fridge. (Trail mix works well).

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees

2. In a large bowl whisk together

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cane sugar

3. Then blend in one of the following items at a time

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour (gluten-free baking mix works well)
  • 2 cups approx trail mix soaked, and excess juice strained out
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade

4. Line the bottom of 6” or 8″ cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Pour in batter and bake on center rack for approximately 90 minutes, until a knife poked into center comes out clean.

Don’t forget the velvet bow!

Makes 8 servings, at approx. 200 calories each.

Looking for more recipes like this for endurance athletes? Check out The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes. And as an extra bonus, watch this holiday video from the guys at Skratch Labs introducing their new Hot Apples & Cinnamon Drink Mix… 

About the Author

Biju Thomas

Biju Thomas is a lifelong cyclist and self-taught chef based in Boulder, Colo. With Dr. Allen Lim, Biju is co-author of the popular Feed Zone Cookbook series for athletes, and co-founder of Boulder-based hydration and nutrition company Skratch Labs. Biju regularly cooks and eats with the best athletes in the world from cyclists, triathletes, and runners to climbers and race car drivers. Follow Biju throughout the year on Instagram and Twitter @bijuthechef and at

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