Recipe: A wonderful, wintry fruit & nut cake from Janet
Delicious, vegan & gluten-free!
This cake contains just dried fruit and nuts, nothing else, no gluten, no dairy and no eggs. So it is great for vegans and any gluten or dairy sensitivities.
I have always loved fruit cakes any time of the year, but especially at this festive time, and it is always my favourite food at this time of the year.
I love it after Christmas when it can be appreciated and taken out on a winter picnic - the best way to enjoy it!
it is a fabulous cake to make and this is inspired by living in Mallorca and buying their fig and almond slices that are just rich in fruit and nuts, as well as a pudding a friend showed me of soaking dates in coffee and cardamom and mixing with yoghurt. So this brings those two lovely ideas together.
As with all recipes it can be played with, using different nuts, or vary the dried fruits, or use different teas like Japanese green bancha tea, or a good Earl Grey if you are not a coffee drinker. I have also made it with dandelion coffee which is a great alternative. Enjoy it your way!
100g raisins or sultanas
350ml strong coffee or tea
4 cardamom seeds crushed
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp vanilla essence
Zest of a lemon
180g almonds chopped
Creating this wonderful cake
Begin by turning on the oven to 180oC. Prepare a cake tin of about 10” with baking paper.
Begin by toasting 185g hazelnuts in the oven for 8 minutes, then turning the oven down to 150oC or gas mark 2. Let the nuts cool a little before putting in a clean tea towel and rubbing the skins off. Most of them will come off, but it's ok to have some still with the skin on. Put them in a blender and grind them till just fine - not too much that they turn to oil. With the rest of the hazelnuts chop in half and they will go on the top to decorate.
Make some strong coffee up to 180ml and add the crushed cardamom seeds. Chop the apricots and figs into small slices and put in a bowl with the raisins and add 1 cup of the coffee with the seeds. Put the rest of the coffee in a small pan with the dates and bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes or until there is no liquid left. Blend with the ground cardamom, mixed spice, lemon zest and vanilla essence.
Drain the soaking fruit and put in a bowl with the date purée and ground hazelnuts and mix all together. Roughly chop the almonds and add to the mix and put it all into the tin. Place the cut hazelnuts around the edge cut side up. Put into the oven and bake for 1 hour till it is set and a tooth pick comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
This is so delicious as a cake to go with a morning coffee, or in the wintry afternoons with a cup of tea. My favourite is to take it out on a long wild walk, finding a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a piece with a little goat’s cheese or other fragrant crumbly cheese. A simple feast all the better for being out in the fresh cold air, taking in some beautiful wild land, feeling the wind on my skin and snuggled under a big warm coat. Loving the sweet rich flavours balanced with the clean tartness of the cheese. Perfection!
It can keep in a cool place in an air tight container for 1 week or in the fridge for 2 weeks, though I am sure it won't last that long...!
Coffee photo by Kaboompics.com from Pexels