Paleo Christmas Fruit Cake with Swiss Meringue and Cranberry Frosting

This is truly unique Christmas fruit cake, made with grain, dairy and sweeteners free ingredients. It does not have natural unrefined sugars, any syrups or honey. The sweetness in the cake comes from fresh apples and concentrated sweet peach puree, which I make myself every year to bake this cake. I created this recipe more than a year ago and baked it several times. This year I decided to make festive looking Christmas cake with 2 types of frosting and nuts, giving the vibrant Christmas colours to the cake.

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It was my first time to try Swiss meringue recipe. My both attempts, the first with sugar, and the second with honey, worked well and provided an opportunity to create the colourful frosting for the cake, stable in texture and with sweet and tart balance in taste. Tart cranberry thick syrup, that sets fast and keeps pistachio and hazelnuts well in place, together with sweet Swiss cooked meringue, provides the necessary contrast in taste and colour and balances not overly sweet taste of the cake itself. The cake was baked for a present, no photos for the cut cake yet, I will add them later. One of the previous cakes, baked with a little different mixture of dried fruits, is shown on the photo below.

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Ingredients:

cake

  • 100g organic tart cherries (I used CeresOrganics)
  • 100g organic Turkish figs (I used BlissFruit)
  • 100g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 200g organic yellow raisins (I used Aldi brand)
  • 100g orange peel made with honey (I used my own homemade)
  • 200g peeled and cored fresh apple pieces (I used Granny Smith)
  • 300g concentrated peach puree
  • 4 large eggs ( 210-220g without shells)
  • 150g organic pumpkin seeds, ground and sifted
  • 230g almond meal, sifted (larger pieces which did not go through the sifter have to be ground and put through the sifter again)
  • 20g cinnamon powder
  • 2 tea spoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 tea spoon pure organic vanilla powder (use any source of vanilla you can tolerate)
  • 7g baking soda

You can add any spices you like for your fruit cake. You can soft dates, blended with lemon or apple juice to the consistency thick puree, instead of peach puree. The body of the cake will be more sweet with dates.

orange or apricot glaze

  • I used orange and honey glaze, which I keep when I make my own orange and honey peel
  • apricot jam can be use as glaze as well

Swiss meringue

  • 1 egg white, 35g
  • organic raw honey 65g
  • lemon juice 5-7 ml

cranberry thick syrup

  • 70g frozen cranberries
  • 100ml water
  • 70g of organic honey, honey quantity depends on its sweetness, always try the taste of the syrup and add more honey if necessary

extra

  • 100g chopped pistachios
  • 50g lightly roasted chopped hazelnuts
  • coconut oil to grease the pan

Make sure to separate small pieces of nuts, after chopping them, use coarse sieve to separate nut meal like pieces and smaller pieces, leave only larger pieces for the cake.

Preparation:

cake preparation with step by step photos can be found here. In short:

  • mix all dry ingredients
  • chop orange peel, walnuts and figs
  • use paper towel to dry dried fruit pieces if they are too wet
  • use 1 heaped teaspoon of dry ingredients mix to cover dried fruits, orange peel and nuts mix
  • blend cored and peeled apple pieces
  • add eggs to blended apples and beat them together for 6-7 min
  • add peach puree, whisk them together
  • add dry ingredients to wet
  • combine well
  • grease the tin with coconut oil
  • use some of the cake batter without dried fruit mix on the bottom of the pan, it prevents burning of dried fruits
  • leave 1 table spoon of the batter for the top of the cake
  • add dried fruit mix, use spatula to mix them in
  • spoon the batter into the pan, push the batter down to avoid cavities
  • use the reserved batter on top, so the surface of the batter does not have any dried fruits
  • bake in preheated to 160C fan forced oven for 20 minutes
  • reduce temperature to 150C, bake for another 55-60 min
  • leave the cake for 10 min in a tin
  • turn in over to wire rack, lined with baking paper
  • I leave the cake in the oven till the next day
  • use frosting on the completely cooled down cake

Swiss meringue

There are various techniques for Swiss meringue preparation, I used the one I found more practical and easy to accomplish. It worked well and fast, both with sugar (for another project) and honey. I prepared Swiss meringue, placed it in pastry bag, with both ends sealed, and stored it overnight refrigerated. There was no change in texture the next day, and it was easy to pipe on the cake.

  • prepare small sauce pan and glass bowl to fit in it to make double boiler
  • place egg white and honey into a glass bowl
  • place the bowl into a sauce pan with simmering water, the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl with egg white and honey
  • stir egg white and honey with plastic spatula or ceramic spoon until both ingredients are fully combined, it is advised to check the temperature, when the temperature reaches 65-70C, take the bowl from the sauce pan and whisk the meringue to thick and glossy texture, with the whisk attachment from a stick blender it was very quick, much quicker than in any Swiss meringue preparation I have read
  • add lemon juice in 2 goes, whisk the meringue to incorporate the juice
  • if by that time the meringue is still warm, place the bowl into a larger bowl with cold water and whisk until it reaches room, or nearly room temperature
  • Swiss meringue can be used immediately or the next day, stored refrigerated in sealed container

cranberry syrup

  • cover frozen cranberries with water in a small sauce pan and cook them until they become soft
  • blend with a stick blender and put liquid through the sieve
  • return liquid to the sauce pan, add honey and cook to reduce, until the sauce thickens, let it cool until warm, but not hot
  • I always check the texture of the syrup before I use it on the cake
  • turn empty bowl upside down, place the spoon of cranberry syrup and see how it goes down and sets, if it is too runny, continue to simmer the syrup, if it sets before reaching the bottom of the bowl, it has the right consistency
  • you can leave the syrup, it will set, to use it – reheat it again to make it more like thick liquid
  • when applying on Swiss meringue frosting, work fast and use nuts, before the syrup sets and its surface becomes dry

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  • brush the cake with orange glaze or apricot jam

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  • apply Swiss meringue as frosting, I just wanted to show that this meringue can be piped on any cakes

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My cranberry syrup was too thick, I had to apply it with a spoon and spread it with a spatula

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The cake looked very pretty with all Christmas colours present! It took some time to prepare all different ingredients for the cake, but with peach puree in the freezer from the last season it was not difficult at all.

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Happy Christmas baking!

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