Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fruit, Nut and Veg Cake

This cake is full of so many good things it could almost be called virtuous. Well I say almost, as it also contains its fair share of naughtiness too. Dried mixed vine fruit and peel, soaked in sherry until plump, toasty and biscuity walnuts and hazelnuts, sweet carrots, warm and earthy spices and caramelly muscovado sugar come together in a scrumptious symphony of flavours, aromas and textures. It's also dairy free, so a great one if you have an allergy or intolerance. Basically there's no reason not to make it, so what are you waiting for?

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus soaking time)
Baking time: 60-65 Mins
200g Dried Mixed Vine Fruit and Peel
2.5tbsp Sherry
100g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
100g Ground Hazelnuts
100g Chopped Walnuts
1tsp Mixed Spice
1tsp Cinnamon
175ml Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
200g Grated Carrot

We begin with the fruit. Place the dried fruit into an airtight container and drizzle over the sherry. Seal and leave for several hours (ideally overnight) until the fruit has become plump and juicy.

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3, grease a 20cm deep loose bottomed baking tin and line with baking paper. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts, walnuts and spices, then mix together with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl beat the eggs into the oil and vanilla with a fork or small whisk. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to a batter. Tip in the fruit and soaking liquid, along with the grated carrot and fold through until evenly combined. Spoon the cake batter into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 60-65 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is cooked remove from the oven, leave in the tin for around 15 minutes, then carefully turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. That's it, you're all done. Time to sample the fruits (and nuts and veg) of your labour.

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