Sunday, December 15, 2019

5 Traditional Christmas Fruit Cakes Vegan-ized

When I was a young married woman, eons ago, the making of the Christmas cake (or "fruit cake," the recipes also interchangeable with "wedding cake") was still a big tradition in many families.

The recipe ingredients included a lot of dried fruits-- some that looked and tasted not anything like the original fresh fruits-- and the usual feasting culprits: sugar, dairy, eggs and alcohol.  The preparation that went into the cakes generally involved a lot of soaking (in alcohol) that could extend to many days.  With all the ingredients in, your typical fruit cake was dense and heavy enough to be used as a door-stop, if need be.

There were "light" and "dark" fruit cakes in my family.  The light cakes probably used less soaked fruits and were baked for a shorter period of time?  The dark cakes had a slightly bitter, burnt taste.  I preferred the light cakes that my Auntie Geneva baked every year and sent out.  They were sweeter and tended to have exotic fruits (i.e., exotic to our traditional recipes) like dried apricots in them.

But none of those fruit cakes has a particularly fond place in my memory.  I baked several myself over those novice years, and they were expensive little bricks, basically.  Unhealthy, too.

The vegan Christmas cakes I have chosen to review have some features of the original cakes I knew, but of course they also do NOT contain eggs or dairy (or suet or whatever other animal product folks thought was necessary to make the cake "rich.")  Just the removal of the animal products is enough to make the cakes more easily digested, and cerainly, over the long term, eliminating animal products such as dairy and eggs from your diet will reduce your risk of getting cancer, etc.


1. Chocolate Fruit Cake - with only 4 ingredients!
To get this very easy recipe for chocolate fruit cake, go to the Southern In-law site HERE

This cake was developed by a serious chocolate lover.  There is no added sugar, no alcohol, and of course, no eggs or dairy.  It also does not contain any added oils or fats, and NO gluten!

You would have to look pretty hard to find a fruit cake (well, any cake) to satisfy so many diet sensitivity issues.

Kristy, who put this recipe out there, is coeliac, so we know that she has to be very careful about avoiding any ingredients that can spark a serious digestive upset.  She can not tolerate the usual dried citrus peel, for example, and uses cranberries in lieu.  I know there are a lot of us cranberry lovers who find even just this part of the recipe intriguing!

If you were drawn by the chocolatey promise of this fruit cake and plan to give it a try, I'd love to hear your comments below the article!

2.  Naturally-sweetened Christmas Fruit Cake

             Find the recipe for this naturally-sweetened cake at Strength and Sunshine

Here is another cake designed by a coeliac baker to share with all other folks who have issues with gluten.  The recipe uses apple juice and erythritol for sweetening.  She does allow for any powdered sweetener of liking (some folks have issues with erythritol).  Like Recipe #1 above, this recipe does not contain alcohol, although it does call for "rum extract"-- that would be up to the baker, I guess.

Did you give this recipe a try, or do you plan to?  I would love to hear about it in your comments below the article!!

3. Easy Peasy 3-Ingredient Fruit Cake

This is the easiest-to-make Christmas vegan fruit cake so far. @ Wendy's Kitchen Table
This particular 3-ingredient fruit cake was certainly the easiest-to-make of all the cake recipes I looked at.  Besides the original 3 ingredients (self-raising flour, dried fruit, orange juice+ water) you can play around with additional ingredients of your liking.  This cake reminds me a little of Panettone (Italian Christmas bread) idea.  Maybe more like a large muffin?  If you give it a try, please let me know and we will publish your "review" here!  (please comment below)

4. Vegan Jamaican Christmas Cake

       Find this delicious spicy, Jamaican traditional-veganized cake recipe @ Healthier Steps

This recipe for vegan Jamaican Christmas Cake has all the bells and whistles for someone who is desirous of eating healthy over the holiday, while not wishing to pass up any of the yummy desserts that others are enjoying-- gluten-free, NO alcohol, and, of course, no eggs, dairy or animal proteins or fats.  Michelle Blackwood, the author of Healthier Steps, substitutes grape juice for alcohol in this recipe! And then there are the wonderful spices from the Caribbean added in just the right measures to fill your kitchen with heavenly aroma as the cake bakes and cools.  

If you try this, I would be ever so grateful if you took a few minutes to comment on what you thought of this particular recipe for vegan Christmas cake.  (comment below)

5. Steamed Butternut Squash Fruit and Nut Pudding

Steamed Butternut Squash Fruit Pudding is such a delish Christmas dessert! @Veggie School 
The above steamed pudding is technically NOT a cake, I know.  But I decided to include a vegan, gluten-free Christmas pudding when I went looking for a picture of the Unbaked Fruit Cake from my old, dog-eared copy of "Eat for Strength" cookbook from the Seventh-day Adventist Uchee Pines health community.  The recipe for the unbaked fruit cake is a combination of  4 cups of raisins, dates and other dried fruits soaked in 3/4 cup of water and 1 cup of fruit juice, and then a cup of whole wheat bread crumbs and 1 cup of nuts and/or seeds are combined and pressed down in a loaf pan before putting it in the fridge to set.  But NO recipe and no picture.  Lots of recipes for an old graham-wafer-marshmallow mash called "unbaked Christmas fruit cake" but it wasn't vegan.

Sooo... the last cake is this delightful Christmas pudding that I really love, and you probably would too.  This is contributed by Wyona Hertwig who conducted many many vegetarian / vegan Seventh-day Adventist "cooking schools".  This recipe, simple and tasty, is found HERE.  Please enjoy!

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