Gluten Free Fruit Cake

Fruit cakes are traditionally winter, Christmassy cakes for a cold weather. I never make them for Christmas in our Australian hot summers. It’s winter now in Melbourne, it’s still cold, so it is a perfect time to have this moist, rich cake full of preserved goodness of dried fruits.

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I use my sultana cake recipe for batter ingredients, with only one difference. Regular sugar in sultana cake recipe is replaced by the mixture of equal quantities of white and brown sugar. In our family we do not like our cakes excessively sweet, which often happens with fruit cakes if the predominant dried fruit is sweet sultanas. I like to add dried fruits and berries with sour and tart flavours. That is why I use dried raisins of two types, where the green ones have a sour overtone. I also use apricots and sour cherries. Sour cherries are hard to get, and they are quite expensive in Australia. But they give the distinct flavour to the cake, and though I might be tempted to replace them with cranberries, I never do it. The resulting taste of the cake is not the same without sour cherries. It is an easy cake to make, the main difficulty is to combine dried fruits evenly in the batter.

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Ingredients:

  • 150g raisins
  • 50g green raisins
  • 200g diced dried apricots
  • 100g dried sour cherries (can be replaced by dried cranberries)
  • 100g diced pitted prunes (can be replaced by dried figs)
  • 100g mixed orange and lemon peel (I use my own mixture of orange and lemon peel, but commercial mixed peel is absolutely fine to use)
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g granulated white sugar
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 100g rice flour
  • 150g almond meal
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tea spoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 tea spoon vanilla bean extract
  • 1 tea spoon of gluten free baking powder

Preparation:

  • prepare and weigh all ingredients
  • butter and dust with white sugar  fluted tube Bundt cake pan, refrigerate cake pan
  • mix dry ingredients – rice flour, almond meal and baking powder, sift dry ingredients, set aside
  • dice apricots and prunes
  • use table spoon of rice flour to separate diced pieces of apricots and prunes
  • cover both types of raisins with boiling water, let them soak for 15 min
  • drain raisins, rinse with cold water and dry them on paper towel
  • dry sour cherries if they have any liquid around them
  • mix all dried fruits and berries, trying to achieve an even spread of each ingredient in the mix, separate any clusters formed
  • beat butter with the mix of all sugars (white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar) until pale and completely combined (it works best when the butter is soft)
  • add vanilla bean extract
  • when still beating add eggs, one at a time (I have found out that it was easier for me to do using hand-held mixer)
  • add and fold dry ingredients into the mixture of butter, sugar and eggs
  • add dried fruit mix to the batter, make sure that all dried fruit pieces are distributed evenly in cake batter

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  • spoon cake batter into the fluted cake pan, try to make sure that no air bubbles or cavities are left
  • make the surface of the batter as flat as possible using silicon spatula dipped in cold water
  • push any individual raisins appearing on the surface inside cake batter, left on the surface they will burn and give a bitter taste to the cake
  • bake the cake in preheated 170 C fan forced oven for the first 20 min, reduce the temperature to 150 C and bake for another 45-55 min (it might be necessary to cover the pan with foil to avoid burning of the cake surface at the later stage of baking)
  • let the cake rest in the pan for 3-5 min, transfer the cake to a wire rack

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  • I like to put the cake back to the oven at a very low temperature of 120 C on a wire rack to dry the crust and make it hard, it is not necessary, however
  • let the cake rest for at least it gets completely cool, or better for 24-30 hours at room temperature
  • dust with icing sugar and enjoy the slice

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For such a dense and heavy cake batter, it is a surprisingly moist, but not heavy cake. The cake is soft, but not crumbly if cut after 24 hours rest period. It does not dry out in time and the flavours are only getting better. Because it is not overly sweet cake, individual flavours of all dried fruits and berries come through. Brown sugar gives the cake a distinct caramel overtone. For me this cake does not need any extras to be served with. It is the best on its own. Compared to my sultana cake, this fruit cake is not as dry and also has a touch softer texture. I do not add any spices or do not use alcohol to soak raisins, but it is a matter of personal preferences in our family. To my taste, those two with their intensity overshadow individual flavours of dried fruits and berries. Use the best butter you can, it also makes the difference to the cake taste.

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On a careful inspection of the cake, it becomes obvious, that I did not manage to press the batter hard enough to avoid air bubbles on the surface of the cake, as well as inside the cake. This has no effect on the taste of the cake, but proves my point, that with this type of dense and heavy cake batter, it is necessary to take the time when transferring batter to a cake pan. Any cake tin or pan can be used to bake this cake, but Bundt type or any ring type pans, plain or fluted, provide easier baking process with shorter time in the oven. They also reduce possibilities of burning cake exterior, while the middle of the cake is not fully baked.

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The density of cake batter prevents dried fruits to concentrate at the bottom of the cake pan and keeps them evenly spread in the cake. The flexibility of this recipe allows to pick and choose any dried fruits or berries to add to your cake, as well as to add any extra flavours your family likes, including spices, essences or soaking sultanas, raisins, cranberries and figs overnight in alcohol of your choice.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Gluten Free Fruit Cake

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