If you are looking for a fruit and nut cake that is easy to make and is an alcohol-free version of a traditionally served cake for the holidays, then this recipe fits the bill perfectly. Made with wholesome ingredients, this Spiced Fruit and Nut Cake flawlessly complements the festive verve as the candied fruits look like embedded jewels that make it incredibly joyful!
Christmas is here, and as we warmly embrace the vacation season, lighting up and decorating our homes and streets, holding exuberant festival celebrations, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the festive cheer!
Among this celebratory ambient, the aroma of a freshly baked cake is all that we truly crave. Isn’t it?
So, here I bring you a recipe of the most fruity and nutty, sweet and spiced, richly flavored Fruit Cake that’s going to make your holidays special!
What is spiced fruit and nut cake
Fruit cakes are commonly served during holidays and form a significant part of the festivities. These cakes are loaded with tons of dried fruits and nuts and just enough batter to hold it all together.
What makes these cakes unique is the incredible flavor rendered from the dried fruits soaked in a good dose of fruit juice. This way, they are naturally sweetened and exceptionally moist besides a balanced flavor that can make any cake lover drool over them instantly.
Christmas would surely be incomplete without a rich, delicious, moist, and full-flavored Fruit and Nut cake.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Vegan vegan spiced fruit and nut cake
This Spiced Fruit and Nut Cake deserves no introduction. You fall in love with this cake as —
- It’s a no-fuss recipe: easy and fun.
- It is the moistest and most luscious fruit cake EVER, with perfectly balanced flavors.
- It can be made with or without alcohol.
- It completely enthralls any fruit lover.
- Makes an ideal gift for friends and loved ones who enjoy gourmet treats or nuts.
In a nutshell, this cake is a popular indulgence during Christmas merrymakings and is loved for its exquisite combination of nuts, dried fruits, and candied fruits.
Ingredient list for spiced fruit and nut cake
Cake flour — Cake flour is the primary component of this recipe and is an excellent alternative to all-purpose flour. It has a low protein concentration which impacts the flour’s gluten quantity. When using cake flour, the cake comes out lighter and softer.
Salt — A pinch of salt helps perk up the flavors of other ingredients in the cake.
Baking powder and Baking soda — These are essentially added as the leavening agents to bring out the desired rise in the cake. They help the cake to become airy, light, and fluffy.
Sugar — Brown sugar is added as the sweetening agent that also brings about the caramel flavor in our cake. It also lends a subtle brown hue that white sugar does not bring.
Oil — Oil is used to bring the required moistness to the cake. It works as an excellent replacement for butter.
Buttermilk — A must for this recipe as it creates a slightly acidic batter that reacts with baking soda to form a beautifully moist and tender crumb. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make it at home by combining 1½ cups of plant-based milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir it well and let it rest for 15 minutes. There you have it – your very own homemade buttermilk.
Orange zest — Fresh orange zest is added to our cake for flavor and instant appeal.
Vanilla Essence — Vanilla essence lends a lovely flavor to our cake besides adding to its richness.
Spices — Cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, and allspice are added to the cake to lift its flavor.
Dried nuts and candied fruits — The ones that create magic in this cake are dried apricots, cashews, almonds, dried berries, dried mango, and Maraschino cherries.
Apple juice — Used for soaking the nuts and dried fruits. The addition of orange juice will make the cake fragrant, yummy, and delicious.
How to make spiced fruit and nut cake
Soak the fruits — Combine the candied fruits, peels, and dry nuts in a mixing bowl. Pour orange juice and make sure the fruits are completely immersed in the liquid. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the fruit soak overnight in the juice to soften.
Protip — Soaking dried fruits in juice makes them more succulent and flavourful. You can soak the dried fruits for 2 days (if you choose to soak them in juice). This will make the fruits absorb the flavors abundantly.
Drain the juice — By the following day, the fruits and nuts would have soaked in a lot of orange juice and would have swollen and doubled in size. Drain the soaked fruits through a sieve and set them aside.
Preheat the oven — Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch springform baking pan with parchment paper and then spray with a non-stick spray. Set it aside.
Combine dry ingredients — Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, allspice, cardamom powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
Coat the soaked fruits — The saturated fruits tend to sink in the batter as they are laden with juice, making them heavy. To prevent this, you need to go through a bit of steps. After you drain off the soaked fruits, toss them with some flour.
The dry coating that forms on the fruits and nuts will keep them from sinking to the bottom, and they will stay suspended in the batter. This is an essential step, so do not omit it. This will prevent the sinking of fruits and nuts in the batter.
Assemble wet ingredients — Add the sugar and the oil to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix it with a balloon whisk on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla essence and lemon zest to this mixture and mix until combined.
Prepare the batter — Add your dry ingredients to the oil+ sugar mix and mix. Add the vegan buttermilk slowly and mix until everything is well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl.
Do not over-mix your batter. Now, add the flour-coated dried nuts and fruits to the batter. Fold the nuts and fruits into the batter.
Bake the cake — Pour the batter into the prepared greased 8-inch pan and bake.
Cover with foil halfway during baking — To prevent excessive browning, cover the cake with a foil sheet halfway during the baking time. This allows restricted and just sufficient heat to bake the cake.
Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes or until the toothpick inserted, comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10- 12 minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.
Garnish — Simplicity is the key! Although this fruit cake looks just amazing, being straightforward, you can go creative and have fun decorating it according to your preference.
I have decorated my cake with toasted nuts to give it a festive flair. You can garnish the cake in many different ways, like —
- Cover with ganache
- Brush with a shiny glaze
- Garnish with a fruit jam or marmalade
- Adorn with a fruity glaze
- Deck up with butter-cream
- Dust some icing sugar over it
- Or simply brush it with alcohol or juice to render the cake a distinct flavor.
Expert Tips and Variations
Soaking fruits for an enticing flavor — Soaking the dried fruits overnight is recommended to get the juiciest fruits laden with flavors. Soaking them makes them plump as they absorb up all the juice. Do not omit this step as it is necessary to lend a delicious flavor and also help moisten the cake.
The color of the juice affects the color of the cake — The juice you choose to soak your dried fruits will affect the color of the cake. I have used the lighter color juice as I wanted the bright colors of the dried fruits to shine through. Depending entirely on your preference, you can use other non-alcoholic fruit juices like
- Apple juice
- Cranberry juice
- Cherry juice, or even
- Grape juice. Since all these juices are dark in color, you may end up with a cake that is rich brown in color.
Adding the dried fruits to the batter — Always drain the soaked dried fruits and fold them into the batter only the next day.
Substitute brown sugar with white sugar — I have used brown sugar to make our spiced fruit and nuts cake that brings about a beautiful brown color. You can replace brown sugar with the same quantity of white sugar. There will not be much difference in the taste, though there may be a variation in the color.
Soaking in alcohol — If you are soaking the dried fruits and nuts in alcohol, you can soak them for 3- 4 days or even more days to rehydrate them perfectly.
Adding to the Christmas fervor — To spice up the cake and add a dash of Christmas zeal, I have added orange zest, cinnamon powder, allspice, cardamom, and vanilla essence. You can feel free to experiment with flavorings and add nutmeg powder or ginger powder to it.
Precautions while baking — Always line the pan with parchment paper and shortening as it prevents the cake from drying out due to the long baking time.
Preferences for baking — You can bake the cake in a 2-loaf pan instead of a round cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Please keep a watch over the cake as the baking time may vary depending on the type of the oven.
Do not fill the baking pan till the brim — Make sure to fill 2/3 of the pan with the cake batter. This is because the batter expands while baking, and we need to leave some room for that to happen.
Precautions when un-molding — This cake is heavily packed with candied fruits and dried nuts, and as such, it is liable to break if un-molded when hot. So, let it cool completely before you decide to un-mold it.
Cutting instructions — Since the cake is dense, it is suggested that you use a serrated knife for an easy cut-through.
Let me know what you think
Try this classic holiday treat that’s more than a delight for fruit lovers! It is one of the hot favorites during Christmas celebrations and is an integral part of the merriments.
Once you give it a try, I am sure this velvety-textured fully flavored delicious cake jammed with fruits and nuts is all set to become a major hit among your family and guests.
Should you make this Vegan Spiced Fruit and nut cake, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
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Spiced Fruit And Nut Cake
CANDIED FRUITS AND NUTS
CAKE DRY INGREDIENTS
SOAK THE FRUITS
- Combine the candied fruits, peels, and dry nuts in a mixing bowl.
- Pour orange juice over the fruits.
- Make sure the fruits are completely immersed in the liquid.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the fruit soak overnight in the juice to soften.
DRAIN THE FRUIT
- By the following day, the fruits and nuts would have soaked in a lot of orange juice and would have swollen and doubled in size.
- Drain the soaked fruits through a sieve and set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and then spray with a non-stick spray. Set it aside.
COAT THE SOAKED FRUITS
- After you drain off the soaked fruits, toss them with some flour. The dry coating that forms on the fruits and nuts will keep them from sinking to the bottom, and they will stay suspended in the batter.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, allspice, cardamom powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Set it aside.
- Add the sugar and the oil to the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix it with a balloon whisk on medium speed until combined.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add Vanilla essence.
- Add lemon zest to this mixture and mix until combined.
- Add your dry ingredients to the oil+ sugar mix and mix.
- Add the vegan buttermilk slowly and mix until everything is well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl.
- Do not over-mix your batter.
- Now, add the flour-coated dried nuts and fruits to the batter.
- Fold the nuts and fruits into the batter.
BAKE THE CAKE
- Pour the batter into the prepared greased 8-inch pan and bake.
- To prevent excessive browning, cover the cake with a foil sheet halfway during the baking time.
- Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes or until the toothpick inserted, comes out clean.
- Let it cool in the pan for 10- 12 minutes.
- Peel the parchment paper and transfer the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Garnish your cake and enjoy!
Frequently asked questionsWhat other dry fruits can I add to my Fruit and Nut Cake? This cake is a kind of fruit bread embedded with fruits, nuts, and just perfectly spiced and makes for a complete meal cake. You can experiment with many different fruits and still end up with a yummy cake every time. Some other great options include –
- Brandy- This is my number 1 choice.
- Dark Rum
- Ameretto- This is my another favorite