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Healthy Christmas cake

Serves: 12
Prep: 20
Cook: 50

    If you’re not a lover of traditional fruitcakes, this is for you! It isn’t sickly sweet and it’s full of the more delicious fruits. Celebrate the season and stay healthy at the same time. Think tangy apricots, and the seeded texture and sweetness of figs.

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    • 3 free-range eggs
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • zest of 1 whole orange
    • 1/2 cup orange juice (from about 1 juiced orange)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cassia
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
    • 600 g dried apricots, figs and raisins (use equal amounts of each), chopped
    • 1 cup almond meal
    • 1 cup plain wholemeal flour
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly broken up or chopped 20 blanched almonds
    • 1 tablespoon apricot jam


    1. Grease a round 18-centimetre (7-inch) baking tin or rectangular 13 x 23-centimetre (5 x 9-inch) loaf pan with a small amount of olive oil, then line with parchment (baking) paper, leaving some overhang so you can easily lift the cake from the tin when baked. The paper will stick to the tin as it has been greased. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (350°F).
    2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, oil, zest and juice, and stir in spices and vanilla extract.
    3. Coarsely chop dried fruits and add to mixture, together with almond meal, flour and walnuts. Fold until well combined so there are no clumps of fruit.
    4. Transfer mixture into the baking tin, packing it down so there are no air pockets. Level the surface with the back of a spoon. Make a gentle hollow in the middle to prevent the cake from peaking. Press almonds on top into a pattern and bake for 50–55 minutes until cooked. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent raisins from burning. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle, which should come out fairly dry.
    5. Remove cake from oven but leave in tin for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a rack, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely before slicing. Warm jam and brush over the top for a glaze. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 weeks or freeze. Note: Refrigerating the cake will dry it out and should only be done under humid conditions.


    • New Zealand dried apricots have a tangier flavour than Turkish dried apricots. Greek dried white figs are moist and delicious!

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