Of course, when I say “sugar-free” what I mean is “no added sugar”. There will always be sugar from the dried fruit. This cake uses spelt and wholemeal flour, dried fruit of various kinds, eggs, spices and beer as the liquid.
The full list of ingredients is;
450g mixed dried fruit
150g pitted prunes
1 small glass of orange liqueur
225g chopped dates
50g chopped walnuts
25g pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons of Chinese five spice powder (or you could use garam masala or ordinary mixed spice)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
125g wholemeal flour
125g spelt flour
330ml beer (any kind will do, but avoid using a dry stout)
2 beaten eggs
the rind of one orange, plus the juice
100ml sunflower oil
200ml warm water
You will also need a large spring-mould cake tin, which you will need to butter and line with greaseproof paper.
Chop the prunes and mix into the dried fruits (except the dates). Soak in the orange liqueur and orange juice.
Chop the orange rind.
Melt the chopped dates in the warm water, slowly mixing all the time, over low heat until it becomes a purée. Mix with the soaked dried fruits. Let the mixture stand in a cool place for an hour or so.
Mix the two flours, baking powder and the five spice, add the orange rind, the pumpkin seeds and the chopped nuts.
Mix the flour mixture with the dates and dried fruits, together with the eggs and sunflower oil. Pour in the beer and beat well until everything comes together. You are looking for a fairly runny batter here.
Pour the cake mixture in the prepared cake tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 50 mins. Check with a skewer. If it comes out clean, then the cake will be ready. If the mixture still sticks to the skewer, turn the heat down to 140C and cook for a further 20 minutes. Check again with the skewer. If it is still sticky. Turn the oven off and leave the cake for another 20 minutes, checking every five minutes.
Let cool for about 1 hour and then release the cake from the spring-mould. Resist cutting the cake until the following day. It will be better after a nice long rest.
This will keep for at least a week.