Virtuous Cake


Virtuous Cake

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Potentially Gluten-Free and Nut-Free with no Added Fat or Sugar

And you can’t get much more virtuous than that!

It’s quite a few years now since I first made this ‘virtuous’ cake. I’ve made it regularly ever since and particularly at this time of year: you don’t want to over-indulge so soon after Christmas but you feel in need of a bit of something. Well, I do anyway!

Recently, I’ve given it a bit of a makeover so now it’s possibly even more virtuous than before but still as delicious as ever.

Perfect for this time of year, the cake has no added fat or sugar and is a real pick-me-up with a nice hot cup of tea if you are feeling a bit feeble. Don’t skimp on the cinnamon as that’s one of the ingredients that make it feel so reviving.*

I’ve worked out some extra allergy friendly versions as well.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Potentially Gluten-Free

The recipe is a useful one in that it is suitable for vegetarian, vegan and non-dairy diets. It also works well with gluten free flour.

Nut Allergy Note

You can make the cake with ground almonds or desiccated coconut: the 2 versions are subtly different but both good. Coconut allergies are comparatively rare so the coconut version may be suitable for some people with nut allergies but always check individual cases. If coconut is not suitable, try substituting oatmeal.

  • 150ml freshly made hot tea: an everyday Indian brew or Earl Grey
  • 225g dried stoned dates, chopped
  • 175g raisins or sultanas (or a mixture)
  • 75g plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder (most are naturally gluten-free but check the label if it’s an issue)
  • 75g wholemeal flour (or buckwheat flour for GF)
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 50g ground almonds or desiccated coconut
  • 175g ready-to-eat dried apricot, chopped
  • 225g grated dessert apple

Pour the tea over the dates, raisins and sultanas in a roomy saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Take the pan off the heat and cover with a close fitting lid to retain the flavour and moisture. Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) or equivalent

Grease a round loose bottomed 20cm cake tin (or a silicone cake mould)

Once the mixture is cool, add the baking powder to the plain flour and sieve over the top, (you can do this in the saucepan and save yourself some washing up). Stir thoroughly.

Add the wholemeal flour and cinnamon and stir to combine. Stir in the ground almonds or desiccated coconut and chopped apricots.

Add the apple and mix everything together thoroughly. The mixture will look a bit sludgy but don’t worry; the fruit will meld the unpromising-looking mix together in the heat of the oven.

Spoon into the prepared tin, smoothing the top with the back of a moistened tablespoon. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Leave in the tin for a few moments to settle before transferring to a cooling rack.

Eat warm or cold. It’s even good served as a pudding: warm with custard (steady!) or thick yoghurt. Once cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin, for up to a week.

Cinnamon Note

Incidentally, you may be interested to know that apparently, cinnamon can help relieve a blocked nose, ease muscle and joint pain and kill certain types of bacteria. There you are you see: this cake is practically medicine!