Gluten Free Julekake

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint ofcardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

Earlier this month We asked our Facebook readers what recipes they wanted to see this holiday season. One reader mentioned an old family favorite that her grandmother used to make, a Scandinavian Christmas bread called julekage or julekake (depending on the region). This recipe had been a part of their holiday celebrations for years but she hadn’t had much success making it gluten free.

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

In case you’re like us and have no idea how to pronounce julekake, here’s a link to the audio 🙂 

We had never heard of julekake, let alone gluten free julekake, but we really wanted to help restore this family Christmas tradition so our reader sent over a copy of the recipe and we went to work making it gluten free. 

We made a few tweaks that we normally make to gluten free yeast breads, including reducing the amount of flour to make a wetter dough. Gluten free flours soak up more moisture, especially while baking, which can yield a final product that is dense and gritty. And no one likes that! 

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

Tips for converting a yeast bread recipe:

If you’re making a traditional yeast bread recipe gluten free, start by reducing the flour by 3/4 cup and add a little more if needed to make a very sticky dough. Shape the dough by dusting only the outside with a little gluten free flour or starch, or by using wet or oiled hands. 

Allow the gluten free dough to rise only once (after you have shaped it) then bake. If you allow the dough to rise, punch it down, then shape it, it will lose some its rise and won’t be as fluffy as you would like. This is actually one thing we love about gluten free baking, because it really cuts down on the prep time!

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

What if I don’t like candied fruit?

No worries, some people love it, some people don’t! There are some substitutions listed in the recipe notes below, so you can use one of those or invent your own!

A quick note on the candied fruit: the package I found at my local grocery store was not labelled gluten free, but their website does say that it is gluten free. I linked to it on Amazon below.

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

Gluten free julekake is a great beginner recipe…

…because it is SO simple and easy to make. You probably have everything you need, minus the candied fruit. As stated above, feel free to substitute it for something that is more appealing or something you already have on hand. 

While this is traditionally a Christmas recipe, you can make it any time! Our favorite way to enjoy it is toasted with a bit of butter and we can’t wait to try some variations, like Cranberry Orange or White Chocolate Pecan. 
Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

The cardamom in this recipe is perfectly subtle, which is the way cardamom should be. 

We have tried to make the easy simple and easy to follow, but leave a comment below if you have a question and we are happy to answer. Enjoy! XOXO Celeste and the Life After Wheat team

MAKING THIS RECIPE?? Snap a photo and tag @LifeAfterWheat on Social, then come back and leave a comment and/or rate the recipe!

 

Yield: 1 Loaf

Gluten Free Julekake (Scandinavian Christmas Bread)

Gluten Free Julekake is a beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This bread is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

A beautiful Norwegian Christmas bread studded with raisins and candied fruits with a subtle hint of cardamom. This gluten free julekake is light, fluffy, and SO easy to make!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

BREAD

GLAZE - optional

  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 T cream

Instructions

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, toss candied fruit, raisins, and 1 T flour. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, measure gluten free flour by stirring the flour, scooping into measuring cup, and leveling off.
  4. Add yeast, sugar, salt (on opposite side of bowl as yeast), cardamom, and powdered milk. No need to mix yet.
  5. Add eggs, butter, and water and mix on medium-low for 1-2 minutes until the dough is smooth. It should be quite sticky.
  6. Add the fruit and mix on low until evenly distributed.
  7. You can spread the dough into your prepared pan and use wet hands to round it, OR if you want a more rustic look like you see in the photos, you can dust your countertop with a tablespoon or two of gluten free flour, lightly coat the dough with it, and shape into a round. Do not work the flour into the dough, just use it on the outside so you can shape it.
  8. Allow the dough to rise in a warm location until almost double in size. I heat the oven to 120 degrees F, turn it off, and put the pan in. Check after 20-30 minutes to see if it's ready to bake.
  9. Once dough has almost doubled inside, preheat oven to 350 (remove bread from oven first if it was rising there).
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until top is browned and sounds hollow when you knock on it.
  11. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then finish cooling completely on a wire rack.
  12. Slice the bread and serve. Traditionally, Julekake is traditionally served with marmalade or geitost, which is a brown, slightly sweet goat cheese.
  13. You can also prepare a simple glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and cream, and pouring over the top of your cooled loaf. Sprinkle with additional candied fruit for garnish if you wish.
  14. This bread is best served the day you bake it, but you can keep it in a plastic bag for several days after and serve it toasted with gietost or butter. We really enjoy it toasted 🙂

Notes

GLUTEN FREE FLOUR

  1. We used Better Batter all-purpose gluten free flour for this recipe. It performs well with just about any recipe and is especially good for yeast breads. GF Jules should also work.
  2. We do not recommend using Bob's Red Mill or Pillsbury for this recipe.

FRUIT OPTIONS

  • Not everyone likes candied fruit, we get it. Feel free to substitute extra raisins for the candied fruit, or do the following in place of both raisins and candied fruit:
  • Currants
  • Dried cranberries and chopped pecans (try drizzling melted white chocolate over the loaf after it has cooled!)
  • Chocolate Chips

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 6gCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Jules Shepard
    December 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I love trying traditional foods and although I’m not a huge fan of candied fruit I’m willing to give it a try here! Looks absolutely lovely and worth the effort!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 19, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      This is the only time I’ve liked candied fruit in anything 🙂 I’m excited to try some other variations though! -Celeste

  • Reply
    Nicole Dawson
    December 18, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    This bread does look so light and although I’m not one for candied fruit either, I love the idea of using Cranberry and Orange.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 19, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      If you try it, let me know how you like it Nicole! Merry Christmas 🙂 -Celeste

  • Reply
    Noelle
    April 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    This recipe was great, it ended up very light just how I like it 🙂

  • Reply
    Loretta M Hulsey
    April 18, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    So you do not use your flour blend to make this bread?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      April 19, 2019 at 10:38 am

      I haven’t tried it with my flour mix recipe, but I bet it would work as that blend works well in bread recipes.

  • Reply
    Jen
    December 6, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I just wanted to say I had bookmarked this last holiday season but never got to it, so it was first on my list this year. It was SO GOOD! It’s easy to make for an impressive result. I used some diced candied fruit that I happened to have bought for something else but never used. I liked it a lot, although my husband said he’d prefer just raisins or maybe some other kind of dried fruit. I might add some orange zest next time too, as I think that would be really lovely. Thank you for a fantastic recipe I’m sure I’ll make many times!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Love the idea of orange zest! I’m so glad you got to try it this year, thanks for the comment! XO Celeste

  • Reply
    Anne Bathurst
    December 10, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Hi Celeste, I was wondering if this bread would freeze well? Also, would the 1:1 GF flour, sold at the Bulk Barn, work for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 10, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      I don’t recommend Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 for yeast recipes, gfJules works the best! And it will freeze well.

      • Reply
        Anne Bathurst
        December 11, 2020 at 1:12 pm

        Thanks! I appreciate your advice. Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    Elisabeth Wilson
    December 10, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you so much! I have fond memories of baking julekake with my grandfather and my mom and I haven’t been able to have it for years. I had the same experience as the woman you mention in the blog, it didn’t translate well with gluten free flour. So excited to try this!
    Has anyone tried it with King Arthur Flour’s measure for measure flour?

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      December 12, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      Yay! So glad you found it!

  • Reply
    Justine
    December 31, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! My son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just before the holidays. (Yay, 2020!) Our whole family was sad that I can no longer make my Grandmother’s German Stollen for Christmas morning. I looked around and landed on this recipe. Even though it’s for Julekake, I made a few modifications to make it as close to Grandma’s stollen as possible. I omitted the cardamom and then added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. I also used the bread flour recipe from the blog letthemeatgfcake.com. It was perfect! Not only was it easier to make, since it only need one rise and I didn’t have to hand knead it, but my family said they couldn’t tell the difference between this one and Grandma’s! You have no idea how happy I am! So much of our holiday traditions had to abruptly change, and we are all a little sad about it, but this really helped Christmas feel like Christmas this year! Thank you.

    • Reply
      thereislifeafterwheat@gmail.com
      January 2, 2021 at 6:07 pm

      Love that you all were able to enjoy a family favorite recipe, thank you for sharing Justine!

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