Friday 14 May 2010

Fat free cake - tea loaf

Regular readers will know that my colleagues generally benefit from the baking I talk about on this blog. Notable exceptions are the various breads I make, which are for me and a few cakes I make for myself (and guard jealously) plus a few I make for family and friends. Now, at the moment, some of my colleagues are on diets, trying to lose a little weight before summer comes (oh, wait, didn't we have summer that lovely week in the middle of April - are they being overly optimistic in thinking that we'll see the sun again?!?) and short sleeved tops are the order of the day.

I am a firm believer of everything in moderation (although I suppose this may change as I get older and my metabolism slows down - not looking forward to that one little bit, and making the most of being able to eat cake while I can!) but if you are taking Alli, as my colleagues are, then the fat content really does have to come right down! (Please note, I am not advertising this product, why would I? take it and you can't eat most of what I blog about!!!)

However, as one colleague said wistfully 'I just really like cake though....'. So this one's for those on low fat diets. I should clarify though - this is not low calorie cake, it's stuffed full (literally!) of dried fruit, which while relatively good for you, is also packed full of sugar....

I've been making this cake for quite a long time now, ever since Delia Smith first published it in her How to Cook Book 1 in 1998. It requires a little forethought to soak the dried fruit overnight, but is otherwise easy as anything - just mix and bake! The original recipe is here and I make it pretty much as written, and it really does take quite a long time to cook. The actual cake mixture part looks a little dry in my photos, but this isn't apparent when eating the cake as the juiciness of the fruit is the thing you taste. I think the cake batter is essentially there to stick the dried fruit together! Speaking of dried fruit - glace cherries are not specified in the recipe, but I always put them in because I love their texture and the way they brighten up the cake. I usually add around 110g, i.e. substitute them for the pecans. I don't tend to soak the cherries with the rest of the dried fruit because they don't need plumping up, they're already juicy. I also don't wash off the sugar syrup that collects around them. For a lighter cake batter I would, to prevent them sinking, but here it just isn't a problem. You can use any combination of dried fruit that adds up to about 900g/2lb. I usually add more raisins and fewer sultanas than specifed, stick to the amount of currants given, use the mixed peel and sub glace cherries for the pecans.

The eagle eyed will note that there is no mixed peel this time - I was unsure whether colleagues would like it or not, so chose to leave it out. Incidentally this is the recipe in which I discovered that I do like dried peel after all. I should qualify that statement - I abhor the mixed dried peel that comes in little pots ready chopped from the supermarket, instead, the stuff I like comes whole and is a completely different thing in taste and texture. Where the former is bitter and hard, the latter is sweet, juicy and deliciously chewy. If you've only had the former and not cut up your own, do try it and taste the difference between them.
Well, this mixture makes a lot of cake, but this apparently wasn't a problem at all for my colleagues who quickly polished off both loaves! I'm always pleased when people enjoy the baking I do so much, it's very gratifying! If, however, you don't have obliging colleagues to eat this up quickly, it will keep well for quite a number of days. Although all the pictures here show the cake 'au naturel', my preferred way of eating it is with a generous spreading of butter. This negates the fact that the recipe is low fat, and therefore brings life, the universe and everything back into balance. After all, what is cake without fat.......!!!

As a side note, lots of my colleagues remarked on the cherries while eating this 'Ooooh, I've got a really big cherry in my slice...' I think a cherry cake must surely be on the baking horizon!

For the pedants, clearly this is not entirely fat free, but the fat contained in the egg yolk and a little milk is very little in the scheme of things.


Johanna GGG said...

those photos of the cake look beautiful - never tried this one but always mean to - by the way I made your ginger apple cake and my mum adored it!

Lucie said...

This looks such a moist and very tasty cake - I make something very similar and it is such a firm favourite.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

I don't think it looks dry at all! I'm astonished how few ingredients there are in the cake though - as you say, it looks like they're just there to hold the fruit together! Delicious...

Chele said...

I will be trying this one out for sure. Looks great and I love the idea of being on a diet and being able to eat cake at the same time

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love fruit cake! I should make it more often. It definitely doesn't look dry!

arista said...

It looks lovely. I just made a 'fat free' apple cake (well - it's got no butter just like yours!)

The Caked Crusader said...

I always substitute extra sultanas for the mixed peel - I've tried, but I just can't like it!
Lovely looking loaf - I love this sort of thing!

Katie said...

I love these kind of cakes, they are so jam packed with fruits and yet quite healthy. You must be a goddess to your work mates

Caroline said...

Johanna - I'm so pleased your mum liked the cake!

Lucie - these type of tea loaves are always well received aren't they!

Celia - I always think there should be more ingredients, but there aren't!

Chele - mmm, diet cake!

Foodycat - I can definitely recommend this Delia recipe - better with butter though!

Arista - I like the look of your apple flan - it looks really juicy and tender.

CC - I was the same about mixed peel until I chopped my own, but each to their own!

Katie - if only my work colleagues were young males rather than married mothers!


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