Except by some miracle it is not YUCK but very much YUMMMMMM. I know, I know, I can hardly believe it either.
I created this recipe for a healthy cooking class that is part of a series I’m teaching with local Charlottesville nonprofit, Full Circle. My mission: to create some healthy recipes that are also allergen conscious and good for picky eaters (and quick to make for busy parents). My fruit cake idea came about when I knew I wanted to make a Sweet & Spicy Stuffed Chicken dish, and I knew I could make extra fruit stuffing for use in a cake.
Could have been either totally brilliant or a total disaster. As it turns out…it was at first a disaster. I tried the recipe out hours before the class and it didn’t work.
The cake exploded in my oven, burned on the top and stayed raw in the center. Instead of panicking, I just went with it. I put it in for longer, completely burned the top and the whole thing fell apart when I inverted it. It was a true Julia Child moment. But then I tasted it…and it was amazing.
At this point the pastry chef in me knew that i just needed to refine the recipe. I lessened the amount of sugar to keep the batter from burning (or at least having the appearance of burning), I moved from the loaf model to the muffin model, thus making it easier to monitor cook time (meaning since this is such a quick-cooking batter I could ensure that the inside and outside would both be done before overcooking) and I changed around the order in which I mixed things. This not only made the process easier (ahem, one bowl!) but I also found that the texture changed for the better.
All in all, I am in love with this recipe and have made it three times now in the last two days. Yep, I’m that in love with it.
Here’s the recipe! Make these mini fruit cakes (or get in the spirit and call them “figgy puddings”) for your next holiday event. They also taste *incredibly* a lot like Glorious Morning Muffins if you’ve ever had some. My favorite part is the fact that their depth of flavor is so rich and spicy (think cloves, ginger, allspice, cinnamon) however there is literally no spice flavor added AT ALL. Now start blowing everyone’s mind and make these for the special people in your life.
Also, if you’re feeling crafty, grab some twine, 3″ square parchment sheets (just cut ’em) and wrap these little guys up stuffed with a sprig of rosemary on the side. Now this is a great host/hostess gift for the morning after.
Whole Wheat Fruit Cake
Yield 18 muffins
This delicious (and healthy) cake is not your ordinary fruit cake! Using whole wheat and leftover dried fruit from our recipe above means that prep for this dessert is less time-consuming. Recipe can be used to make a cake or muffins and can be made well in-advance and frozen.
With neither booze nor scary died "fruitcake fruit" added, this cake will please every palate.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups re-hydrated dried fruit mixture
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
a heaping 1/2 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt (or a nondairy substitute--Tofutti sour cream or coconut milk yogurt both work!)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Boil 1 quart water and add to a large bowl filled with the dried fruit. Allow to sit for 20 minutes to re-hydrate fruit.
Add fruit to the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth with small chunks remaining. Set aside.
Combine in a bowl the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, oil and sour cream/yogurt, stirring to combine.
Pour fruit mixture into flour mixture, making sure to stir rapidly (with your wooden spoon) to combine.
When mixture is thoroughly combined, pour into a well-oiled (and parchment-lined) loaf pan, scatter with walnuts or pecans on top if desired and bake for 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can bake these little delicacies in a muffin tin, which is my preferred method. Make sure to only fill muffin moulds up 2/3rds of the way and for baking: muffins take substantially less time, more like 15-20 minutes.
Once the loaf is browned on top and a skewer comes out with only a few moist bits attached to its end, allow to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then use the dull side of a knife to loosen it from its baking pan and invert onto a cooling rack to continue cooling. For muffins, invert pan and tap abruptly to loosen muffins and allow them to fall out easily.
For fruit mixture, use an equal combo of any fruit you like. I used apricots, figs, raisins, prunes and cranberries.
Pssst...if you have leftover batter, go ahead and make it in a loaf pan!
Courses dessert, breakfast