Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Live ~ Turn My Head
Chris Cornell ~ Never Far Away
Bonnie Raitt ~ Love Me Like A Man
Madeleine Peyroux ~ Don't Wait Too Long
Nickelback ~ Rock Star
Black Stone Cherry ~ You
The Puppini Sisters ~ Bei Mir Bist Du Schon
UB40 ~ Homely Girl
The Dead Daisies ~ Talk To Me
Elvis Presley ~ (You're The) Devil In Disguise
Skin ~ Radar Love (Live)
Lenny Kravitz ~ I Belong To You
Norah Jones ~ What Am I To You?
The Zutons ~ Remember Me

I love fruit cake and I am one of those strange people who eats the cake part of a traditional wedding cake and hands off the marzipan and icing to some willing sugar junkie. And at Christmas, my family cakes were buried under a mountain of sugary stuff so I coveted my little piece of remaining fruit cake. Thankfully there has always been someone willing to help me out when it comes to celebration fruit cakes. When I became vegan the cake I missed the most was a Dundee Cake which I always bought in for the festive season. I gave up trying to make it because I always loved my Mum's offering but when I left home I could never get it just right and so turned to the mass produced kind. I loved the sticky topping that was covered in whole almonds. The dense fruit cake underneath filled with succulent dried fruits and comforting cake. Yum! To this day I have never found a vegan version and making it has always been disappointing. Ah well...such is life. 

My lovely pal Ann feeds my cook book addiction. She does...seriously. She recently bought me The Vegan Pantry and then a couple of weeks ago she bought me a bargain cook book from a discount store...Just Flavour...and Goodness by Wendy Horne. Now its not a vegan cookbook but it is meat, dairy and gluten-free. And it only cost 49p. If I never make another dish out of this cook book I will always keep it close because of today's recipe. I didn't have to veganise it at all. We flicked through the cook book and it was the recipe that jumped out at me as the first tester. I was very excited by it and at the first opportunity I bought the ingredients and got baking. Now I will confess the first attempt...I forgot the mixed spice and I left the sultanas to soak for 2 days and I had no flaked almonds left in my stocks. Yes I was so focused on buying organic and free from nasties sultanas and dates that I forgot to check my almond supplies. Forgetting the mixed spice? I blame the pain...ahem. Anyway....yesterday Ann and I made the fruit cake take 2 and all required ingredients were added to it. Phew...

Why did I bother making it again? Well simply because its sensational. The first attempt was enjoyable but very juicy! The sultanas practically popped as you bit into them but you could tell from that botched attempt that this recipe was something special. The second attempt was perfectly fruity...great textured cake and pleasantly spiced and comforting in textures. I love this cake and its not stodgy at all. And the fact that it is vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free makes me a very happy person. 

I would be a liar if I said that I will make this every year during the festive season. That would be rubbish because I will be making this all year round and my cake tin will always have this loaf stored in it. A great recipe from an interesting cook book...

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake ~ check out the cute marzipan fruits!

The Ultimate Free-From Fruit Cake 
(Recipe from Just Flavour...and Goodness/Horne)  

450g mixed dried fruit (I used organic sultanas)
juice of 1 fresh orange
225g dates (I used organic Medjool dates)
175g gluten-free self raising flour (I used Glebe farm blend)
pinch of xanthan gum
1 tsp mixed spice
grated rind of one lemon
grated rind of one orange
4og ground almonds
flaked almonds for topping the cake

Soak the mixed dried fruit in the orange juice overnight. 

Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment and put the oven on at 160'C/GM 2/3

Put the dates into a saucepan with 275ml of water. Cook very gently until the dates are soft. 

Mash up the dates and add the soaked dried fruit, flour and xanthan gum, spice, grated rind and ground almonds. Fold together and spoon into the tin. Level the top and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours. 


Look at these adorable marzipan fruits I found.  I couldn't help myself...and I dislike marzipan intensely lol

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your upcoming weekend is a very good one and not too stress filled. I am spending time with my family and then hosting the Pals Christmas Dinner on Saturday evening. No doubt Sunday will be a major rest and recovery 


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore take no credit for it whatsoever. It is the hard work and creation of Wendy Horne and hers alone. I thank her for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~