Vegan spiced fruit and nut cake, for those bare cupboard days

Whew, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe on here – you’ll all be thinking I’ve gone books-only! But in the spirit of Bake Off, which returns next week (although let’s be honest, it’s mainly because I have nothing better to do than bake and write all day), I thought I’d share the recipe for the easy peasy fruit and nut cake that I made today. This is a recipe adapted from war time when rationing was in full swing, so uses very basic ingredients rather than anything too expensive, like butter. The recipe I actually adapted it from called it “bare cupboard cake.”

The best bit is that it’s vegan as well so able to be shared with even more people!


Vegan Spiced Fruit and Nut Cake


200g sugar (I used caster and light muscovado, half and half, but it’s totally your choice)
250g self-raising flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
350ml water
100g raisins (or other dried fruit of your choice)
75g pecans, broken into smaller bits (again, you can use any nuts you like)

Icing sugar (sorry, I didn’t measure this as I tend to do icing by eye – , there should be enough icing, when made up, to cover the whole cake, while retaining a thin but opaque look)
Cinnamon sugar (you can buy this ready-made, but if you don’t have it, you can mix 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon)


1. Preheat oven to 180°c, and grease and line a rectangular baking tin.
2. Mix sugar, oil, fruit, nuts, spices, salt and water in a large pan (I also added some cinnamon raki that my dad bright back from Crete, but I don’t expect that this is a common thing to have lying around!)
3. Place over medium heat, stirring gently. Bring to the boil and leave for 5 minutes.
4. Leave fruit and nut syrup to cool as you mix together flour and bicarbonate of soda.
5. Once syrup has cooled, beat in the flour mixture, ensuring it’s all fully incorporated.
6. Pour into baking tin and bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the cake is a rich, chestnut brown and a skewer comes out clean.
7. Make up icing with icing sugar and water, adding a dash of the cinnamon sugar.
8. Once the cake is cool, top with the lovely runny icing and sprinkle over cinnamon sugar .
9. Cut into portions of your choosing and enjoy!


What I love about this cake is that it’s so quick and easy, yet has a lovely, moist texture and warm taste to rival most other types of spice-based cake – my parents both mistook it for the much richer gingerbread that I like to bake around Christmas! It’s incredibly versatile and there’s so much potential to experiment with different combinations of fruit, nuts and spices.

Yummy for everyone!


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