Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tropical Teacake - a #RecipeRedux

I was excited when I saw the theme for this month's #RecipeRedux event - cooking with tea! Our pantry has one of the most packed tea shelves I've ever seen - from run of the mill Orange Pekoe to imported green, flavoured white, green and black looseleaf and an array of herbal selections too. Rather than being hoarders, our household simply drinks a lot of it - at least 2 cups per person daily, if not more - and I (being the foodie) also like to cook and bake with it. Recently I discovered the allure of cooking brown rice in genmaicha - the resulting nutty, "popcorn" flavour is unmatched! Then today I spotted this gem on Rachael Ray, which I would totally be making if I a) ate meat and b) wasn't terrified of frying!

My favourite things to make with tea, though, are still of the baked variety.  From cookies (including biscotti) to cake and even bagels, I'm game to try it in almost anything. That said, it's hard to overly improve on something as fabulous as the Rich Tea Cake from The Vegan Baker, but a variation doesn't have to mean improvement - simply a difference! With a change of tea as my inspiration, I took the loaf-cake to the tropics - packing it with candied ginger, apricots, macadamia nuts, dates, cranberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds and raisins. Without any refined flour or sugar, the vegan recipe is really able to stand on its own flavour-wise and each element is distinct while still part of the larger whole. It's a perfect snack to have with, well, tea - any time of day. For our family this found a spot on the plate after spicy sandwiches, soup or grilled burgers (with or without a scoop of frozen yoghurt for good measure).

Tropical Tea Cake

Tropical Teacake
Makes one 9x5" loaf, 12 slices
¼ cup diced figs
⅓ cup raisins
½ cup diced dates
⅓ cup Craisins
4 dried apricots, diced
¼ cup diced candied ginger
1 ½ cups strong-brewed tropical-flavoured tea (I used Peach-Mango), hot
3 tbsp agave nectar
⅓ cup pineapple juice
⅓ cup melted coconut oil (pick one with flavour, like Gold Label from Tropical Traditions)
1 ½ cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp ginger
⅔ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
⅔ cup chopped macadamia nuts
½ cup slivered almonds
  1. Combine the figs, raisins, dates, Craisins, apricots, ginger, tea, agave and pineapple juice. 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 carefully turn out onto a rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 302.4
Total Fat: 16.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 22.1 mg
Total Carbs: 32.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Protein: 5.1 g

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