Did you know December is National Fruit Cake Month? Ever since I’ve become a food blogger I have discovered that almost every day of the year (or at least every month) has a theme in relation to food. Chocolate cake day, Chiffon cake day, Good Nutrition month, and the list goes on. But instead of discarding these celebrations as pointless and arbitrary, I find this to be a fantastic way to remember those foods that we sometimes leave covered in dust at the back of our memories. The best diet is one that offers a large array of foods and nutrients, and remembering to cook all kinds of different dishes thanks to these celebrations does just that.
It is also a happy coincidence (or perhaps it was done on purpose), that Fruit Cake day coincides with the holidays, since it’s at this time of the year that most fruit cakes have always been prepared. In Peru, for example, people devour Paneton (the Peruvian name for the Italian Panettone), day in and day out throughout December. This cake/bread is full of raisins and all kinds of candied fruits. In England, the tradition is eating mince meat pies, which were originally made with meat, but now are just a super sweet (and incredibly addictive) mix of dried fruits soaked in liquor.
A fruity dessert is always a great choice to end your holiday banquet with a bang. So for this Christmas, I have chosen a recipe I love, and -listen to this-, I’ve made it gluten-free! There are so many people out there with a gluten intolerance or allergy (a lot of them don’t even know it), that everyone will benefit by going gluten-free for at least one course, after all that heavy eating.
The truth is, it’s actually quite easy to turn a cake gluten-free. Granted, the texture is not the same as a regular cake, but some would say it’s even better. By replacing the regular flour this cake usually calls for, with cooked quinoa and amaranth, what came out of the oven was a creamy cake, with a texture similar to that of bread pudding, or even flan. Everyone raved about it. And this was actually the product of an accident, (but now I think it was meant to be); my initial idea was to use quinoa flour instead of regular flour, but when I couldn’t find the package I would’ve sworn I had in the pantry, I used the leftover amaranth and quinoa I had made for breakfast, which was already cooked. Sometimes the best things come out of the most unexpected places.
What I loved the most about this cake (other than the texture and the fact that it’s gluten-free), is the deep Sherry flavor in every bite. It is quite low in sugar, so the Holland House Sherry cooking wine I used really shines through. I’m a big fan of using cooking wines in my food, and this was no exception. And everything came together beautifully when I finished it off with a huge dollop of whipped cream, and some nuts and raisins soaked in even more Sherry. Vanilla ice cream would be another great option.
200ml Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
150ml thick natural yogurt
150ml olive oil
1 cup almond flour
11/2 cup cooked quinoa and amaranth (half of each, or just quinoa).
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
Soak the raisins in the Sherry for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven at 350F.
Grease and flour a non-stick baking pan that is about 9 inches in diameter.
Mix the yogurt, oil and eggs in a bowl, and beat with a fork until everything is blended together.
In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients, and the cooked quinoa to the egg mixture. Add half of the soaking raisins. Mix everything well.
Transfer the mixture to the pan, and cook for 40 minutes.
The cake is ready when a knife or fork inserted in the middle comes out clean. It should be golden on top, but don’t let it burn.
Take out of the oven, pinch everywhere with a fork, and pour the Sherry where the raisins have been soaking all over the cake.
Heat in a cooling rack. When cool, pass a knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan.
When it’s cool enough to handle, cover the pan with a large plate, and quickly turn upside down. Then turn it upside down again, to get the golden side on top.
Serve with whipped cream, the rest of the soaked raisins, and some chopped nuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Disclosure: We thank Mizkan for their sponsorship.