If there’s one thing that I definitely can’t say no to, it’s certainly desserts. People who know me know that I will never refuse a slice of cake, a cookie or a piece of chocolate. Sweets are my weakness.
But there’s one exception to this rule. Fruit cake. You know, the traditional super dense holiday cake, filled with overly sweet candied fruits and usually made with dark rum. It’s probably the only dessert in the whole world I actually inevitably say no to. I’m not sure why, but I never liked it.
So when the lovely folks over at Patience Fruit & Co asked me to create a new, re-invented version of the traditional fruit cake using their fresh cranberries, I must admit that I was completely uninspired at first. But I was hopeful that I could manage to create something that would finally make me love fruit cakes. After a few trials, it was mission accomplished. This cake is so good, I could eat it all year long. Not too sweet, not too dense, and really flavourful. If like me, you’ve never liked fruit cakes, this one might very well make you change your mind.
My version of the traditional cake is flavoured with warming chai spices, made with whole spelt flour and is completely vegan, using binding agents like apple sauce and coconut oil. There’s a mix of dried fruits and candied citrus and cranberries.
The cashew-based orange and vanilla icing is optional, but it brings a lovely dose of sunshine and a beautiful burst of flavours that complements the cake wonderfully.
This recipe is also available today on the Patience Fruit & Co website. This Quebec-based company is one of my discoveries of the last year. They’re the biggest producer of organic cranberries in the world. Their name comes from the slow process of growing and harvesting cranberries. They believe in doing things slowly instead of rushing through them, which I can’t help but love.
Their products are all organic and truly high-quality. Give their dried cranberries a try, they are probably the best you’ll ever have. Their “artisan blend” snack mixes are really delicious too (their Moka Moments is particularly addicting).
This post was sponsored by Patience Fruit & Co. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I truly think their products are amazing. Thanks for supporting the brands who support The Green Life!
Vegan Chai Spiced Fruit Cake + Vanilla Orange Cashew Icing
- 2 organic oranges
- 1 organic lemon
- 2 cups (200 g) Patience Fruit Co fresh organic cranberries
- 1 cup (225 g) unrefined cane sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups (250 g) whole spelt flour
- 1 tsp (10 ml) baking soda
- 1/2 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
- 1 tsp (10 ml) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (5 ml) ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp (1 ml) ginger powder
- 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) ground clove
- 1/2 tsp (5 ml) sea salt
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened apple sauce
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) unrefined cane sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) melted virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) almond milk, at room temperature (or other plant-based milk)
- 2/3 cup (115 g) dried fruits of your choice (figs, apricots, currants, blueberries, etc.) chopped
Vanilla Orange Cashew Icing
- ½ cup (125 ml) raw cashews soaked for at least 3-4 hours and rinsed
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- The pods of one vanilla bean
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
For the candied fruits
Scrub and wash the citrus fruits well. With a knife, slice the ends of the oranges and lemon, and then slice the peel off. Set the flesh aside - a part of it will be used for the icing, the rest can be set aside for another use. Slice the peel into thin strips.
In a saucepan, cover the peel strips with water and bring to a boil. Drain and repeat the process a second time. This step helps remove some of the bitterness.
In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the blanched citrus peels and fresh cranberries. Simmer at low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the fruits are soaking in a thick syrup.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fruits to a cooling rack or parchment paper. Let it cool completely. Once cooled, chop the candied fruits roughly with a knife.
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 375 °F (175°C). Line a 24 x 14 cm (9,5'' x 5,5'') rectangular cake pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch of paper on each side.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
In another bowl, mix the apple sauce, sugar, coconut oil and milk.
Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the chopped candied fruits and chopped dried fruits and stir one more time.
Pour the dough into the prepared pan, and bake in the oven for 40 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the pan with the parchment paper, and let cool completely on a rack.
For the icing
Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender (or hand blender) until smooth. Taste and adjust if needed by adding more orange juice or maple syrup, to taste.
Spread the icing on top of the cooled cake, and top with extra orange zest if desired.