What a joy, I can have my cake and eat it!  This is my adaptation of a vegan Molly cake.

It seems highly apt to me that the first blog on Manifest Health’s newly updated website should be for a cake. I fear my priorities are slipping gloriously!

I’m not a vegan but I discovered this sumptuous cake when I needed to find an alternative to the normal overly rich Christmas Cake, and it’s now a family staple whenever there is a celebration in my house…and with the newly launched website a celebration is so definitely in order.

This delicious cake doesn’t load on empty calories or cholesterol, it is moist, sweet and very fruity yet contains no refined sugar or fat. This cake is also free of eggs and dairy products (including milk) which means it’s suitable for most people to share. Teamed up with a glass of something healthy, a finger thick slice of this cake is perfect and its not full of all that sugary fatty richness that can swamp and bloat us.

I adapted the typical Molly cake recipe because my family are not keen on too much spice in anything sweet (especially if it is cinnamon or clove) and my family are also pretty clear about the dried fruit they will not eat; any dried fruit that is chewy or has seeds or minute pips is also an instant turn off.

treasure-chest-molly-cakeThe photos of this cake that I have seen make this cake look like an anaemic malt loaf, so I played around with contrasting colours for the fruit to achieve the affect I was looking for. I love Love LOVE gemstones, stained glass, and jewels and so my food always uses as many rainbow colours I can pack in. I wanted the first cut to reveal a treasure chest of jewels.

You can see by the picture I took of my last version of my adapted Molly cake that I think I succeeded!

Special occasion cakes need to be even more out of the ordinary so you can pep up the surface of the cake with a bit of imaginative decoration – how about using a sugarfree apricot jam glaze and sticking whole almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped apricots or dried cranberries and cherries onto it. Get creative.

Ingredients

  • 250 g stoned dates, roughly chopped
  • 300 ml water
  • 85 g plain flour
  • 85 g wholemeal plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 450g/500g mixed dried fruit
    • I used a blend of my own – 100g roughly chopped pitted prunes, 100g roughly chopped figs, 100g giant golden sultanas, 80g Cranberry and Cherry Blend, 80g roughly chopped dried apricot
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 80 ml orange juice
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) Orange zest

Supposed to serve 8 – 10 but I got plenty more slices than that from this recipe.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the chopped dates in a saucepan, then add the water. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Sieve the plain flour, wholemeal flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the mixed spice and ground almonds.
  3. Once cooled, pour the wet date mixture into the dry mix, then add the dried fruit, orange zest and the orange juice. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a greaseproof paper-lined loaf tin, or divide it between 6 smaller tins. Bake for 40-45 minutes if making one large loaf, or 30 minutes for the mini mollies. A skewer stuck in the centre of the cake should come out clean. It did with mine.
  5. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Decorate as you wish!
  6. TIP   I’d wait for at least 24hours before eating the cake. I don’t know if it can be frozen – my cakes never last long enough for me to find out!