RECIPE | Festive vegan fruit cake

Made without butter or eggs, this Christmas cake is suitable for those dietary restrictions. Because it's boozy, it needs 10 days for the flavours to mature

26 November 2017 - 00:00 By Hein van Tonder
Vegan fruit cake.
Vegan fruit cake.
Image: Hein van Tonder

Makes: 1 cake


150g dried pitted prunes, chopped

500g prepacked dried fruit cake mix

100g raisins

100g sultanas

200g glacé cherries

175g coconut oil

300g dark muscovado sugar

150ml coffee liqueur

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

30ml (2 tbsp) cacao

10ml (2 tsp) mixed spice

5ml (1 tsp) instant espresso powder

2.5ml (½ tsp) salt

45ml (3 tbsp) flax meal

110ml water

175g flour

100g ground almonds

100g apple sauce

100g mixed nuts of your choice, roughly chopped (optional)

5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

100ml brandy, rum or amaretto

Extra brandy or rum for brushing


1. Place fruit, oil, sugar, liqueur, zest and juice, cacao, mixed spice, espresso powder and salt in a saucepan and slowly bring to boil while stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes, then let cool to room temperature.

2. Pre-heat oven to 150°C.

3. Line sides and bottom of a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper. Double line the sides with more paper, making sure the paper edges are about 3cm higher than the tin.

4. In a large bowl, mix flax meal and water then let stand to thicken for a few minutes.

5. Add fruit, flour, almonds, apple sauce, nuts (if using) and baking powder to the flax mixture and mix well.

6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 2 hours until cake is firm and the top is shiny. Start testing when it's about 1h 45min in by inserting a cake tester into the middle. Do not worry if there is a slight bit of moist batter attached to the tester. If still too raw, return to oven for another 15 minutes and test again. Cover the top with foil so the cake does not become too dark on top.

7. When cooked, remove from the oven and pierce some holes with the cake tester. Pour brandy, rum or amaretto carefully over the hot cake. 

8. Cool completely before removing from the tin. 

9. Wrap the cake tightly in foil and let rest for 10 days in an airtight container, brushing with extra brandy every few days until serving.