First Holiday Bake - Vegan Light Fruit Cake

light fruit and nut vegan cake in pan
Vegan Light Fruit Christmas Cake - Recipe by Harini P

Today my sister turns a year older (I am not giving away her age here lest I am beaten up the next time we meet!). I wish I could share this cake with her but then I can't, so better still - I am just having another piece in her name! Some things will never change. Here's a recap through the years.

We are three of us. My sister P, is older than I am. It always showed in her responsible acts and me being the younger one showed up too:). I remember when I was 9 and she 11. Our school was a good 8kms. from home and we used to travel by the school bus. Once it rained heavily and the school closed in two hours. We missed the bus for some reason. She and I had to walk all the way home. When we reached the gate my mother got a shock because P was carrying two bags and trudging home whereas I was skipping along behind with two empty water bottles - isn't that some deal? Now, don't you take her to be all goody-goody. The very next scene I take you to will tell you what I mean. We had long hair reaching upto our knees and these were worn in two tight plaits. When we got into a fight it was pretty nasty. I remember twirling around the room, the two of us holding the other's plait and pulling it along. We gave our parents quite a remarkable training in parenting and were rightly awarded the title 'mongoose and snake' by a few aunts who thought their children were better brought up (but we knew they were like us too - only more discreet!). Growing up into fine(?) young ladies was another experience altogether. She decided our heroes and I would faithfully follow suite fighting over the same idol (and they never even knew we existed!). She had to endure my painful nagging when her friends showed up and I never gave up being the sweet sister when they were around. We hated sharing our rooms and cupboards until she stayed back for her studies while we moved on. We never speak of it but I think she knew that the empty spaces she created were never filled. With my younger sister it was a different relationship as she is a whole generation behind me and we grew closer only as she came up to high school which was much later. Now the age gap is bridged with all of us beyond 30! We meet up every year and have a great time. We bring books brought over the year and exchange them when we meet. We sing together like we used to sing when we were kids (me doing the male vocals, she the female and the younger one joining in the 'chorus'). There is something about sisters that cannot be replicated in any other relationship. We hardly have time to remember the good things as the naughty stuff is still going on, and when we meet we are still the 'powerpuff girls'. Our daughters gang up together and try titling us 'the three little (big) pigs', but the wolves on the prowl just shut them up:).

light vegan fruit and nut cake

Have a big bite of this cake and don't you forget to sing the 'happy birthday song' for my sister!

The cake is not the soft and porous kind served on birthdays nor does it have cream but I would rather have a firm teacake any day than a creamy one. It is full of flavours - of cinnamon, apple and guava. The dry fruits mulled in apple juice give a great taste in every bite. It makes a good option for vegan Christmas cakes especially if you are in favour of healthy, vegan desserts. This time I used coconut oil instead of vegan butter and all purpose flour instead of my preferred combination of whole wheat pastry flour, APF and corn flour.

Dish: Vegan Light Fruit Cake
Source: Recipe developed by Harini P
Yield: Makes 16 squares (nearly 2 inches each)


For the marinated fruit:
Packaged apple juice (I used Real) - 1/2 cup
2 tbsps each of kismis, black raisins, chopped almonds, chopped pistachios, chopped walnuts and chopped apricots.
1 stick cinnamon and 1 petal of star anise.
In a bowl mix the above together and place in the refrigerator for two to five days before making the cake. This will allow the flavours to be drawn into the juice and the fruit. You may add fruits of your choice. These were readily available with me.

light vegan fruit and nut cake

For the cake:
All purpose flour - 2 cups
Baking powder - 2tsps.
Salt - 1/8tsp.
Coconut oil - 3/4 cup
Pulp removed from two large, ripe guavas after deseeding
Sugar - 3/4 cup (More if you have a sweet tooth)
Soy milk - 1/2 cup (1/4 cup extra if needed)


Prepare a square 8" tin. I used non-stick but greased and floured all the same!

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. Cel. or 350 deg. F.

De-seed the ripe guavas before removing the pulp and place in a mixer/blender alongwith coconut oil and sugar else the seeds will prove irritating. Blend till smooth. It should now yield about 400g of mixture. Set aside.

Stir the baking powder into the flour and add salt. Place all three in a big container. Close and give it a good shake to aerate the flour and mix them uniformly. I read this in some blog long back and it always works. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

Add the fruits and residual juice if any into the flour and stir till evenly distributed and well coated. Now add the guava butter and stir well. Add the soy milk and stir further till you get a thick batter. It will be sticky, not flowing.

Pour into the prepared tin and smoothen adding a tbsp. of extra soymilk, with your fingers. The surface will not be very smooth as the dough isn't of pourable consistency.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 to 40minutes till the top is golden brown. It may crack on the surface a little which is fine.

Cool for about 10 minutes before removing as it is crumbly while still hot and will firm as it cools. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dusting of fine sugar. Best eaten a day later as the flavours draw out well.

I used guava only because my husband brought many of these and they were ripening at a very fast pace. The guava flavor really smells nice and it is the first time I have had a dessert with them! Soft, fleshy pears should make a good alternative, I guess.

The cake will not rise too much. The finished cake itself is just over an inch high, but it is moist thanks to all the juice in it! A drizzle of maple syrup renders it even better.

This is my submission to Divya's (of Dil Se...) event - Show me your cake.

Happy Birthday, P!

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