Dec
26

Fruit Cake

by Olya

I was meaning to make Fruit Cake for quite some time and even did my research on ingredients and different versions of it, but never came around till now. I must say ingredient list can look intimidating at first. So one needs to be in the right mood to tackle the challenge.

For a while I wanted to make Fruit Cake but never came around to it until now.  I have been busy doing my research on ingredients and different ways of making it.   I must say ingredient list can look intimidating at first. So one needs to be in the right mood to tackle the challenge.

With the Holidays at the door, my willingness to get on with the job had a boost. Fruit Cake is one of those desserts that appeal to us during Xmas and New Year because it is rich and satisfying and looks very festive.

Another undeniable advantage of investing time and efforts in making it is that Fruit Cake (especially raw vegan version of it) had very long shelf-life:  ingredients like nuts and dried fruits are your pantry ingredients that, when kept cool, stay in good condition for quite some time.

Generally, Fruit Cake is a mixture of fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold them together. Traditional, non vegan, non raw version of it, when wrapped in cloth and foil, saturated with alcoholic liquors regularly, and kept in tightly closed tins, may be kept for months or even years.

I haven’t searched for raw vegan recipes of Fruit Cake so I wouldn’t be able to tell if there are any recipes out there. Using my own instincts and culinary experience and my understanding of the basics, I was certain that I could come up with a recipe on my own.
I used my favorite nuts and dried fruits in it. The beauty of the cake is that by using different nuts and dried fruits you can get numerous versions of the dish. Just bear in mind the necessity of having at least 4 tastes (salty, sweet, sour, spicy) present in the dish, and I am sure you will have fun experimenting.

To make it more nutritional I have used super food ingredients: flax seeds and hemp seeds. I have ground them myself, but you can buy those seeds already powdered.  In addition to nutritional benefits, those ingredients have practical usage: hemp seeds add oiliness and a nutty flavor, and flax seeds bind ingredients together.

As for spices, I used a rather traditional mixture of spices that are associated with the Holidays: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. I also used anise star to poach figs and apricots. Of course it goes without saying that to keep in the spirit of everything-fresh-in-raw-food, I grind my own spices (except for cinnamon in most cases) to use them fresh and fragrant.
You don’t have to poach figs and apricots. I have poached figs and apricots since they are quite hard when dried and I wanted them to be little pockets of moist, tasty, and bursting with flavors of aromatic wine and spices bits that you find throughout the cake.

I used reduced Gewurtzraminer wine, to get rid of alcohol and condense wonderful aromatics that this grape variety has. Traditional Fruit Cake is made with infusion of Bourbon.

I also used sage. I just love sage: it is one of my favorite herbs. In this particular dish, sage brings it to a new level, adding savory quality and complexity.

The final result:

Dried fruits part

Black Mission Figs, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Kalamata Figs, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Apricots, 1 cup, poached in Gewurtzraminer and Rum with anise star and cloves, diced finely

Prunes, 1 cup, diced finely

Cranberries (version that is sweetened with apple juice), 1 cup

Raisins (mix of dark and golden), 1 cup

Batter part

Dates

Walnuts, 3 and ½ cups, soaked for at least 5 hours

Orange juice, 1 cup

Nama Shoyu, ¼ cup

Lemon juice, ½ cup

Agave, ¼ cup

Golden flax seeds meal, ½ cup

Hemp seeds meal, ½ cup

Spices and Herb part

Orange zest, 3 tsp

Lemon zest, 2 tsp

Orange essential oil, 10 drops

Vanilla extract, 1 tsp

Cinnamon, 2 Tsp

Nutmeg, 1 tsp

Allspice, 1 tsp

Cloves, ½ tsp

Ginger, powdered, 1 tsp

Nut part

Hazelnuts, chopped, 1 cup

Brazil nuts, chopped, 1 cup

Optional

Poppy seeds, ½ cup

Hazelnut oil, ¼ cup

Sage, fresh, minced, 2 Tsp

Cashew Glaze

Cashew sour cream, ½ cup

Coconut oil, melted, 2Tsp

Raspberry Glaze

Raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed, 1 cup

Coconut oil, melted, ½ cup

Lemon juice, 2 Tsp

Agave syrup, 2 Tsp

Pumpkin pie spice mix, 1 tsp

Start by poaching figs and apricots in advance. Reduce 1 cup of wine and ½ cup of rum to ½ cup all together by boiling them. Add a couple of anise star, 4-5 cloves and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add dried fruits, turn off the heat, close the lid and let them sit in the liquid for one hour or so, gently pressing them down from time to time.

To make batter mix all ingredients, except for walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds meal in Vita-Mix until smooth. Put walnuts and date mixture in a food processor, blend until it is almost smooth, leaving it a bit chunky. Mix walnut-date mixture with flax seeds and hemp seeds meal in a big bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add chopped nuts, dried fruits, poppy seeds, hazelnut oil and sage.

Line bundt cake mold with plastic and fill it up with the Fruit Cake mixture.

Dehydrate for about 5 hours at 135°F. Flip over straight on a dehydrator shelf, peel off the plastic, and dehydrate for another 12 hours at 105°F.The cake should be dry to the touch.

Decorate with the glaze and lemon zest.

Enjoy!

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