Thursday, December 18, 2008
LAST-MINUTE, LOWFAT VEGAN FRUITCAKE IN WINTER WONDERLAND
It is snowing alot in the Pacific Northwest, or what we like to call"Canada's Banana Belt". Hmmmm. Look at these pics:
It's beautiful-- I'll grant you that! But it's very hard to get around in. The West Coast is not prepared for lots of snow for long periods of time. Side roads (we live on one) don't get plowed for days; snow on the sides of the roads just piles up and never gets taken away; some roads don't get sanded. Our driveway is long, steep and curvy. We walk it right now. Oh, well-- at least our pipes haven't frozen and the power is on! We are snug and warm and have lots of food. It could be worse. I just wish I didn't have to go anywhere until it goes away.
ABOUT THAT FRUITCAKE....
Yesterday I felt that I should bake something Christmasy. I've avoided baking because I'm trying to lose weight. And, also, rich desserts bother DH's digestion. So I made my fruitcake, which is pretty low in fat and made with healthful ingredients.
I didn't grow up with fruitcake, and when I first tasted it I thought it was awful--heavy, stodgy. And I've always hated candied citron! I invented my own fruit cake years ago and it is rich-tasting and moist, but minus the eggs, butter and, worse yet, suet, like many traditional recipes. I based it on an old wartime "boiled raisin" cake.
It's easy to make and you don't have to chop the dried fruit and nuts-- a time saver! I leave them whole so that, when you slice the cake, you get a "stained-glass window" effect. You can make this cake at the last minute, because it doesn't need to be stored for long periods of time to develop flavor.
This is a dark fruitcake, which I prefer, but you can make a light fruitcake by omitting the spices and using all light organic sugar instead of brown sugar and molasses. Then use light-colored or red dried fruits, like pineapple, mango, pear, apple, apricots,cherries, cranberries, etc. for the fruit.
If you like, you can wrap the cooled loaves in liquor-soaked cheesecloth inside zipper-lock plastic bags and keep them for several weeks, or skip the liquor-soaked cheesecloth, in which case they should be frozen after about 1 and 1/2 weeks.
I have been making this as my Christmas cake for many years. I hope you like it!
BRYANNA'S LOW-FAT VEGAN CARROT FRUITCAKE
1 1/2 cups water or apple juice
(Instead of 1 1/2 cups liquid, you can use 1/2 cup liquor of choice, such as rum or brandy, + 1 cup water or juice)
1 cup grated scrubbed carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup oil (for an even lower-fat cake, omit the fat and use 1/4 cup smooth, unsweetened applesauce)
1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour (regular, not pastry flour)
1/2 cup wheat germ OR oat flour (grind rolled oats in a dry blender)
1 teaspoon baking soda
DRIED FRUITS AND NUTS (for an even lower-fat cake, cut down on, or omit, the nuts, and add more dried fruit):
1 cup whole pitted mixed dried fruits (such as prunes and apricots)
1 cup whole pitted dates
1 cup dried currants (or use dried unsweetened cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup whole shelled unsalted mixed nuts
Bring the Boiled Mixture ingredients to a boil together in a medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients, then add the cooled Boiled Mixture and the dried fruits and nuts.
Mix well and spoon into two 3x6" loaf pans (fruitcake pans) and one 8x4" loaf pan, nonstick or lightly-oiled or sprayed and lined on the bottom with waxed paper or cooking parchment (or one 7-8" tube cake pan). Bake the small loaves for 45 minutes and the larger loaf for 60 minutes. Invert on racks to cool. Carefully peel off the paper.
Yield: 2/ 3x6" loaves + 1/ 8x4" loaf OR one 7-8" tube cake
Nutrition Facts (calculated using oil and nuts)
Nutrition (per serving): 124.6 calories; 33% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 92.7mg sodium; 209.7mg potassium; 19.7g carbohydrates; 2.0g fiber; 12.5g sugar; 17.6g net carbs; 2.5g protein; 2.5 points.