Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rich Tea Cake #12WksXmasTreats

I've been dragging my heels a bit today with all the stuff I have going on at co-op (I devised a new material that is - surprise - food related and it's keeping me busy!) so I'll have to keep this short. In fact, the amount of time it takes to whip this dense, fruit and nut fruitcake after the fruit is soaked (which you can even do the night before), is roughly the amount of time I have to sit at my computer today - 30 minutes.

However, I promise you that this loaf will last a lot longer in the freezer than it takes to make... that is, if it makes it to the freezer! I know there's a lot of stigma around the Christmas fruitcake (and gosh knows I've made my share - including a 5 pound monster!), but this one is way less door-stoppy, stodgy and sickly sweet than most of them and there isn't a single candied peel in sight. Even my typically fruitcake-adverse mom tucked into a piece of this with a cup of tea and declared it yummy, with delicate hints of spice from the Earl Grey piggybacking on the stronger cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg, crunch from a slew of walnuts, almonds and seeds, and a rich natural sweetness from maple syrup and the dried fruit.

I would never suggest cloaking this in marzipan like a standard fruitcake, either - not only is it far too sweet and domineering a flavour in general (even at the best of times), it's heavy. One of the secrets behind this loaf is while it is dense with stuff, the batter itself is incredibly tender because of the spelt flour and tenderizing orange juice. Marzipan on top? Say hello to a pile of crumbs and nuts all over your countertop!

The original recipe was found in one of my recent favourite baking books - The Vegan Baker - and I only slightly modified it to use what I had on hand (and I urge you to do the same!). With no refined flour or sugar, no eggs and no dairy, but all the taste of the season, it's one holiday gift you won't have returned to the store!

We're 4 months into the  12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted at Meal Planning Magic already! Is your freezer starting to fill up? Mine is!

Rich Tea Cake
Makes one 9x5" loaf, 12 slices
1/2 cup prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup diced dates
1/3 cup Craisins
1/3 cup diced figs
1 1/2 cups strong-brewed Earl Grey tea, hot
3 tbsp maple syrup
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ginger
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup slivered almonds
  1. Combine the prunes, raisins, dates, Craisins, figs, tea, syrup, orange juice and orange zest in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
  3. Add oil to the bowl of fruit, then mix in the dry ingredients until blended.
  4. Fold in the seeds and nuts.
  5. Spread in the pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until tests done.
  6. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 263.2
Total Fat: 12.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 12.3 mg
Total Carbs: 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g
Protein: 5.0 g

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