Since Christmas is around the corner, and fresh cranberries are on the shelves, I decided to adapt my recipe to make a fruit cake. A fruit cake heady with the aromas of spices, chockablock with dried fruit and nuts, festively adorned with Christmas colours – but without any refined sugar.
So out went the heavily sugared fruit – the candied pineapple, the preserved ginger the glacé cherries. Staples of the Indian “plum cake”. Out also the burnt caramel which gives the Indian Christmas cake, its characteristic fragrance and taste (its sugar after all.)
And out also the rum and the brandy that the fruit are macerated in, these cakes are steeped in….
I used a moist banana cake as a base, sweetened with ripe, soft bananas and a small amount of coconut sugar. And added my mixed fruit, a spice blend and loads of slow toasted nuts to add texture and crunch to the cake.
Sugar free Fruit cake
2 tea bags
1 cup of soft dates, chopped
1/2 cup prunes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of mixed peel, diced
2-3 tbsps of raisins (optional)
1 cup of mixed nuts, toasted and chopped
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tsps cinnamon powder
1 tsp clove powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Steep the teabags in a cup of boiling water.
Add all the chopped dried fruit and the cranberries into a deep sauce pan. Rinse out the mixed peel to wash off any sugar before dicing — if you want to make a sugar free cake.
Cover the fruit with the tea decoction then bring everything to a gentle boil, mashing the cranberries to form a pulp.
Set aside to cool, overnight or for a few hours.
Toast the nuts (I used a mix of chopped almonds, walnuts and pecans) and set aside to cool.
20 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and prepare an 8″ round tin.
Line it with baking parchment and spray with oil.
Mash the bananas with the coconut sugar and the spices.
Add in the beaten eggs and the oil and whisk until well combined.
Add the baking soda and powder to the wet ingredients, then fold in the flour until mixed.
Add the boiled fruit, mixing evenly through the batter. Then fold in the toasted nuts.
Pour thebatter into the prepared tin and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is done.
Cool on a wire rack, then decorate the top of the cake with additional fruit and nuts.
Enjoy a moist, flavourful and guilt free Christmas cake!
Do let me know if you try this recipe. Hashtag it #SinsationsbyRadhika if you share it on Instagram.
Merry Christmas and a wonderful new 2018 to all of you!