Friday, October 1, 2010

Fruity Vegan Coffee Cake

I'm moving in 25 days, so the race is on to eat up everything in my cupboards before I go. When I left Nashville, I remember Yuri and I did our best to finish two half-finished half-gallons of ice cream, sitting on the wall to wall carpet in the furniture-less room, using plastic spoons. Fortunately I have much less food left over this time around, but what I do have is jars and jars of different flavors of honey and jam, as well as some baking staples and a monster bag of raisins.
What I'll do with the raisins I have yet to figure out, but most of my flour, white sugar, and olive oil were conveniently dispatched by this vegan coffee cake. As I used water and the liquid from the preserves rather than the soy milk specified in the original recipe, it turned out more pastry than cakelike, something like a superthick fruit cobbler. Not that that's really a problem. It's extremely moist, rich, and sweet, and even cut into small squares each piece is quite filling. The flavor of the olive oil is subtle, but it's definitely there, giving the cake a little exotic je ne sais quois. Any flavor of preserves, jam, or fresh or dried fruit would probably do just as well, but dates or the figs I use probably go especially well with the olive oil. I'd try making it again to use up some of those raisins... but I've sold my cake pan and oven.

2.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup syrup from fruit preserves
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vinegar (or lemon juice)
2 tsp vanilla

1 jar fruit preserves (approx. 2 cups)
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180C/350 F. Line a baking dish with foil. The smaller the dish, the taller your cake will turn out. I used a 9 x 9 square dish, and the batter rose in the oven to fill it perfectly.

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl, mixing well. In another bowl or measuring cup, stir together liquid ingredients. Add liquid to dry and stir to make a thick batter. Pour half the batter into the prepared dish. Spoon the fruit preserves evenly over the batter. Pour the remaining batter on top of the fruit and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for 80-100 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. You may need to tent with foil to prevent the top becoming too brown.

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