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Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake (Grain-free!)

Breakfast or dessert?

That’s one of my favorite questions for baked goods, and one that isn’t asked nearly enough in the popular culture.

Cardamom cranberry Christmas cake

Healthy Breakfast Treats for School Party

Coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, and mass-produced muffins are automatically delegated to breakfast, when in fact they surely deserve to be dessert based on their sugar percentage. That’s why I was nervous when I saw that my daughter’s 5th-grade class Christmas party was from 8-9:00 a.m. What are they going to eat at that hour?

For most people, the answer would be doughnuts, pastries, and “because it’s a special occasion” the same cookies and candy they would bring to an afternoon party. Sigh.

If I was in charge – and I actually volunteered to do it but only if I didn’t have to work with anyone and serve sugar (“problem parent,” I know!) – I would serve some fresh fruit and this recipe.

Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake grain free and delicious

When I ask the question, “Breakfast or dessert?” it’s usually to see if something which is nourishing enough for breakfast – like these apple squares – would also be decadent enough for dessert. This cake fits the bill for both, and it gives you an excuse to buy cranberries when they go on sale after Christmas.

The best part is that it doesn’t even need the cranberries; it’s the almond and cardamom (and, I’ll admit, the chocolate chips) that make it something special.

RELATED: The Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake grain free and delicious

The recipe is a spin-off of the black bean brownies from my eBook about beans, made more like a blondie and with festive spices.

If you love cardamom, you could totally double it, and if you’re not a fan, the almond flavoring does a wonderful job on its own. No almond for you? Just add a bit more vanilla and enjoy the cardamom. The cranberries make it pretty, and if you do use them, add some orange zest, lemon zest or lemon juice to, you know, brighten them up. Winking smile

Your kids CAN make their own healthy breakfast!

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Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake (Grain-free!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 16 pcs 1x
  • Category: Dessert


Super quick to throw together – just use beans leftover from making another meal. Gluten-free, grain-free and healthy enough to serve for breakfast yet decadent enough for a holiday dessert!


Units Scale
  • 1 3/4 c. cooked white beans (navy, Great Northern)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. honey or 3/4 c. sucanat
  • 1/4 c. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. dried, ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. lemon or orange zest, optional
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

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  1. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Put everything but the chocolate chips and cranberries into a food processor, and process until absolutely smooth. Do a few extra seconds so rogue bean skins won’t freak people out! 😉
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries (or you can sprinkle both on top in the pan).
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (less with honey, more with sucanat).
  5. The cake will bounce back in the center and a toothpick or butter knife will come out clean.
  6. Serve warm and store in the refrigerator if keeping more than a day or two; this cake is very moist.


Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake Nutrition Info


  • Serving Size: 1 square
  • Calories: 119
  • Sugar: 11.6g
  • Sodium: 36g
  • Fat: 5.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 2.6g
  • Cholesterol: 32mg
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Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake grain free and delicious

The best way to make sure you remember to make this cake – which is so easy it only takes 10 minutes while you’re making dinner – is to link it as a “prep note” in Plan to Eat with another recipe using white beans, like this white sauce that we had over rice last week. You can use prep notes for things like “soak beans” or “thaw meat” but this would be a cool technique too, to remind yourself to make connected recipes that use the same ingredients.

Make it Easier with your Pressure Cooker

I LOVE bean based dishes because a bag of beans is SO incredibly affordable. Gone are the days of having to soak and then boil dried beans, now I rely on my Instant Pot to keep a dish like this quick to make. My no soak method is perfect when you forget to soak them or decide last minute to make this cake.

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Can you Make this Breakfast/Dessert Egg-Free?

I’d been wanting to try “gelatin (use the coupon KS10 for 10% off!) eggs” in something since I read other bloggers successfully using gelatin as an egg substitute. I finally tried it when our 1yo was allergic eggs but also hadn’t had grains or legumes before age 1. Most grain-free baked goods with coconut flour can’t be made with egg substitutes because there are too many eggs involved, but I thought this one might be a likely candidate that Gabe could actually eat.

Unfortunately, I was wrong:

gelatin egg attempt on white bean cake fail

My kids called it bean pudding, and it was actually delicious (Gabe couldn’t get enough) but it was pretty ugly! After cooling, it did “gel” up and could be picked up with your hands, but I’m not sure it was a successful experiment. I used this method of gelatin eggs but might be curious to see if this version that includes heating the gelatin would behave any differently.

I’d say, just make this one:

Grain Free Cardamom Christmas Cake
Share this one with a friend – maybe they’ll make it for you!
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

10 thoughts on “Cardamom Cranberry Christmas Cake (Grain-free!)”

  1. I made this cake for dessert at a Christmas dinner but added 1 tbsp. of coconut flour to the batter when it looked very thin. Since I haven’t made the recipe as was printed, I can’t be sure, but suspect the added flour gave the cake more “body” or firmness. It was delicious and I am making again for another Christmas event. Thank you for this great recipe!

  2. so when you say cooked beans – I can just use beans out of the can, right? This looks wonderful and is PERFECT for Christmas morning! so excited to try this!

  3. If cranberries have been frozen, can they will be soft when thawed out. Di you think they will still work in this recipe?

  4. I didn’t waste a moment in trying this one out last night. The verdict: delicious, with thumbs-up from my family. They declared it a “keeper”, and no one suspected beans in the ingredients.

  5. Oh my goodness! I cannot wait to try this!!!!! Do you think raisins work in place of the cranberries?

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