Vegan cakes are well-known for surprising non-vegans with their yumminess and these cakes are no exception. They’re actually my favourite fruitcake ever – I couldn’t believe the lovely crumb and flavour achieved with no eggs, no dairy butter or milk and no gluten either! And they’re so light on the stomach. Yay! They’re adapted from a recipe by Bérénice Leconte who runs the popular vg pâtisserie in Paris. So you know they’ll be delish, what with being French and real pâtisserie cakes! 🙂 There’s an optional small quantity of nuts, pecan or walnut. The dried fruit (cranberries, sultanas, candied orange and lemon peel) are soaked in rum or orange juice as in traditional British Christmas fruitcakes but there’s less fruit and more batter so the cake isn’t as dense. This healthier fruitcake‘s sweetened with unrefined light muscovado sugar and made with vegan soya butter, natural soya yoghurt, cornflour and a gluten-free flour mix (Doves Farm self-raising) but you can use similar ingredients and plain all-purpose flour instead. A tiny amount of xantham gum helps bind things nicely together. And the flavourings, oh la la! The original prototypes were missing something so after various experiments the final version includes pure vanilla extract, ground cardamom and cinnamon with fresh lemon and orange zest plus juice! Finally the perfect umami flavour! Lol, not exactly umami but you know what I mean. All the prototypes have been much appreciated, like after a day hiking when we ate them all to the last crumb. They’re that kind of yummy energy food perfect for ‘an active lifestyle’ but also great for pottering around the house. 🙂 Would you like a vegan fruitcake?
There were more glacé cherries in earlier prototypes and they were brushed with apricot jam, both making the cakes a bit too sweet so I adapted for my final cakes. But as you can see the crumb and texture has always been pretty consistent and lovely. Yay!
Let’s make some. 🙂
RECIPE – quantities are for a tray of 12-14 muffins/mini cakes. Double the quantities for a loaf tin (20-22cm/7.5-8.5in).
These fruitcakes are adapted from a recipe in Bérénice Leconte’s beautiful book Pâtisserie Vegan. Mine are gluten-free and have more citrus flavours and spices. The original Cake aux fruits confits includes dried apricots with candied plum and melon so do use any of your preferred dried fruit, nuts and spices or flavourings.
1 TO 7 DAYS OR MORE BEFORE MAKING THE CAKE
Soaking fruit in rum
Dried fruit (adapt to taste or whatever you have in the kitchen)
- 70g/6 tbsp finely chopped candied orange peel (can replace some with lemon peel)
- 30g/3 tbsp sultanas (or raisins)
- 30g/3 tbsp dried cranberries or sour cherries
- 20g glacé cherries (about 4 cherries cut in half)
- 80g/ml (6 tbsp) dark rum (or less) – if you replace with freshly-squeezed orange juice only soak 1/2 day.
Follow the extremely complicated instructions (joke) in the illustration below. Cover the bowl with a piece of kitchen paper or suchlike while the fruit soak.
ON THE DAY
- grease and flour the moulds (if you don’t flour the tin your cakes will initially have a slightly crispy skin which is quite nice but they rise better in floured moulds).
- preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (fan-assisted) or 200°C/400°F (static, non-convection oven). Note: if your oven heats strongly then preheat to only 165°C/330°F (fan-assisted) or 185°C/365°F (static, non-convection oven) and bake 15 – 22 minutes.
- drain your dried fruit and stir in the nuts. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of the weighed flour and stir a few seconds very lightly just to coat the fruit (it goes sticky and gungy if you overstir).
- whisk the baking powder, cornflour, cardamom, cinnamon and a pinch of salt (oops, that’s not in the drawing) into the remaining flour to combine. This is your ‘flour mix’ in the Making and Baking illustration part 2.
Here are some little drawings:
- 15g/2 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts (about 8 pecan halves), optional: use any nuts or none
- 100g/1/2 cup + 1 tbsp gluten-free flour mix (I use Doves Farm self-raising gf) or use plain all-purpose/cake flour and add 1 extra tablespoon
- 50g/6 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch/maizena)
- 5g/1 and 3/4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder (if using standard baking powder just 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- good pinch of salt
- 100g/7 tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted vegan margarine/spread, or softened butter (option: standard unsalted butter) – I now use vegan bio-soya spread (flavour-wise it seems to work better than the olive oil one)
- 75g/1/2 cup + 1 tsp light muscovado sugar (or some other kind of sugar)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- freshly grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
- 75g/5 tbsp soya yoghurt – if using gluten-free flour add an extra 5g/1 tsp
- 1/4 tsp xantham gum
- 1/8 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice (if using standard flour use the smaller quantity first and save 1/2 tbsp for the end, if needed)
- 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Note: Please make allowances for using your own gluten-free flour mix or other kinds of flour and adjust with following bakes if necessary. Save the extra 1/2 tbsp of orange juice (or more) to add to your mixture at the end if it’s stiff (you want dropping consistency so when some mixture is lifted up with a spatula and held at an angle it drops down slowly into the bowl with a slight plop – not too runny and liquid but not so stiff that it just stays on the spatula). If your mixture is too liquid you could possibly delicately fold in a small amount of ground almonds.
Loaf cake version (made with double the quantities): bake 1 hour and 10 minutes (according to Bérénice Leconte’s recipe).
What I like about mini fruitcakes is they’re so easy to carry around and bite into to…
Eating and storing
Let’s test one as it cools on the wire rack… 😉
These fruitcakes are great eaten warm and on the same or following day. Once completely cool store at room temperature in airtight tupperware. After a few days they get a little drier but are still delicious. To moisten you can pierce several holes in a little cake and spoon over half a teaspoon orange juice or rum. Wait 10 minutes or so and eat. These cakes keep up to 5-6 days and if soaked with rum even longer!
Christmas every day
It’s not Christmas but fruitcakes are great any time of the year and their ‘le cake‘ counterparts are always very trendy in French pâtisseries. These ones are neither typically British nor French – they’re a hybrid (like me!) and less crumbly, subtly spiced, lighter, citrussy and very moreish – eaten to the last crumb! Here, have a bite and see! 🙂
So good you forget they’re glutenfree vegan fruitcakes. Which is just as it should be. I’d say they’re even yummier and lighter than the standard kind! Have another! 🙂
Bye for now dear reader! Wishing you a lovely end of the week with some happy energetic baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x