Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Boozy Vegan Christmas Fruit Cake

Happy First Snow day in Korea! :) I was walking around outside yesterday and thought my face was gonna freeze off. Brr~ I hate winter weather, but I admit that I do love the holiday season. It just makes me want to round up all my family members and close friends, and give them a big bear hug. This time of the year also brings up so many good childhood memories of when my family lived in England/Edinburgh, and West Africa... . Some of my favorite Christmas memories took place in the UK, where we'd have Christmas crackers, chocolate advent calendars, and ofcourse, the stodgy Christmas fruit cake with marzipan on top.

For the longest time, I didn't enjoy Christmas fruit cake at all because it was just too dense and... fruity. I had a prejudice against it because it just seemed like something for old fogies. I guess shriveled up dried fruit with a hint of bitter rum just isn't something a kid craves. But now that I'm grown up and want to indulge in some old-school traditions, I've come to appreciate this classic dessert in a new way.

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To start, I checked out various vegan fruit cake recipes online and then adjusted them according to what I have and the size I wanted. Traditionally, you're supposed to bake the cake, wrap it up and store it in a tin container while "feeding" it with alcohol for a few weeks until it is good and fermented with rum. And then before serving, you top it with a blanket of marzipan. Phew! That's just more time and work than I'm willing to put into cake, so I called it 'done' after the first step. hehe. To anyone who does the whole shebang, my hat's off to you! :)

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For the alcohol, I originally wanted to use rum, but couldn't find it on short-notice so I just went with whiskey instead, which turned out fine. I actually didn't use much alcohol compared to certain fruit cakes I've had in the past. I remember one year when my parents were living in Wales, my mom made her first real fruit cake, with all the works. So several weeks later on Christmas day, we finally cut into it and it was so boozy, you could definitely get a little buzz going from one slice! Mine on the other hand, isn't that strong at all, but you can feel a teeny bit of warmth down your throat when you bite into a fruit piece that has been plumpified with the whiskey. :P

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My first cake was tasty but a bit lacking in the fruit department, so for my second go, I increased the amount and variety of fruit to get this:

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I think this one strikes a good ratio between cake and fruit- just enough to get the pretty stained glass window effect. Even still, it had less than most of the other recipes I checked out! I actually don't like it when fruit cake gets too bogged down with so much fruit that it's as heavy as a brick and just tooooo sugary sweet.

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Instead of marzipan, I just decorated on top with blanched whole almonds.

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Boozy Christmas Fruit Cake
Makes 1 medium cake
advance preparation required

1/4 cup rum or whiskey
3/4 - 1 cup total of dried fruit. I used the following:

  • raisins
  • sultanas
  • dried tart cherries
  • dried apricots
  • dried cranberries
  • caramelized orange peel
  • tropical dried fruit mix (papaya, mango, pineapple bits)
125g all purpose flour (1 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp brown rice vinegar
45ml canola oil
80g sugar (3/8 cup)
2 tsp soy bean flour
2Tbs blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
handful of blanched almonds.

1. Soak dried fruit in the whisky for at least 24 hours, stirring every so often so that all the pieces get softened.
2. When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F or 175C. Prepare your baking pan by lining it with paper or some oil and a light dusting of flour.
3. Sift the flour, spices, and baking powder together.
4. In a separate bowl, add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle for a few minutes (essentially making buttermilk). Add soy bean flour, oil, sugar, molasses, extracts, and whisk well.
5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated, and then add the soaked dried fruit and almonds. Be careful not to overmix.
6. Pour into your prepared baking pan, and decorate with more almonds. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until it is looks nice and dark on the top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Careful not to poke it too many times, or you might push all the fruit down to the bottom! :P

*I usually measure everything in grams for accuracy and consistency's sake, but I've tried to include volume measurements on the side.

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Moist, sweet, and has a lot of depth of flavor. Mmm~ tastes like Christmas. Cheers! (Gunbae!)

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Here's a tiny, single-serving cake I made with some leftover batter. :)

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Oh, do you like the rudolph card? I got it in the mail yesterday, from my unnie. First Christmas card of the year. :) xo

Happy Holidays, friends!

Ps. For those in Korea, this fruitcake is available on my bakeshop site. Order soon to get yours in time for Christmas!