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Thursday, December 18, 2008

LAST-MINUTE, LOWFAT VEGAN FRUITCAKE IN WINTER WONDERLAND

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                                          Fruitcake I made yesterday.

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 some 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 not full of eggs, butter or, 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!




Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S LOW-FAT VEGAN CARROT FRUITCAKE

BOILED MIXTURE:
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)

DRY INGREDIENTS:
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.

Servings: 36
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.






Happy Baking!

17 comments:

Melanie said...

Wow, that actually looks appetizing, although the idea of fruitcake just stirs up memories of stagnant, musky air of an old relative's home, and a gag reflex. Since I'm stuck in this snowglobe with you with baking items in my pantry, I think I'll go for it! Thanks!

Bronwyn said...

hmmm I think I'm going to make the biscotti from the last post YUMMM!!!
It makes me smile that your snow pics look like the ones on my blog - rustic island home, unexpected snow, prayer flags...(:
xo
Bronwyn

ps on a different topic, how would you make a vegan roux? (like for gumbo?) just sub marg for butter, or do you have any special suggestions? Gumbo is our traditional xmas eve dish, & we want to accommodate our vegan guests...

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Bronwyn! Yes, you can make your roux with Earth Balance, which is a non-hydrogenated, cold-pressed, goof-tasting spread you can get at Thrifty's or Edible Island (most vegans I know use that instead of butter), OR you can use olive oil.

I have 2 vegan gumbo recipes I can email you to use for ideas for "veganizing" your own recipe. I use browned flour instead of roux, to use less fat, but you can substitute roux for the browned flour if you wish.

Cheers!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

oops! I meant "GOOD-tasting spread", not "goof-tasting spread"!

julie hasson said...

Hi Bryanna! Your fruitcake looks wonderful. Perfect for the holiday season.

We've got a ton of snow here too, and we're supposed to get quite a bit more this week. Stay warm, and happy holidays!!

Gina said...

The fruitcake actually sounds yummy...I'm one of those people who likes fruitcake - at least I liked my grandmother's! Vegan gumbo sounds wonderful - could you post the recipe? Or email? Thanks for your wonderful recipes!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Julie! Yongkie sent some pictures-- you guys have almost as much as we do! Happy holidays to you, too!

Gina, I will post the gumbo recipe soon!

Spice Island Vegan said...

Wow looks pretty, the snow and the fruitcake! I am in sunny California. :-) We are going to Laguna Beach for xmas eve to see a play and to Palm Springs this weekend. Yongkie and Julie can't leave their house in snowy Portland, too. Happy Holidays to you and Brian!

Debbie

Jessica said...

I tried this recipe and posted a photo on my blog. It turned out really well and I'll be visiting your site again!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Glad you like it, Jessica! Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

Wow, delicious! I just found out I'm allergic to dairy, including eggs. So I googled vegan fruitcake and came across this site. Thank you!

Kathy said...

I just tried this recipe...cake is in the oven. Can't wait to see how it turns out! :)

Abby Laks said...

Hello there
I would like to try this fruitcake. Can I use 1/2 cup grated carrot and anothe
r 1/2 cup of grated red apples. Is it possible to macerate the rest of the dried fruits with orange juice and the rest of the grated apple, carrot, raisins, sugar, orange juice and melted butter bring to boil.


Thanks

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

You never know til you try, Abby!

Abby Laks said...

Thank you

Abby Laks said...

Can I use intant oats grind into powder. Thank you.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Abby, I don't honestly know-- you'll have to experiment. If you are GF, a GF flour mix might be better. If you make all the other changes you suggested above as well I don't know how it will turn out. You will have to experiment with a smaller version of the recipe and see how it works out because, basically, you are creating a new recipe.