Lemon Grass, Ginger & Date & Barberry (“Agrise”) Fruitcake

Cakes | March 6, 2014 | By

140306 Fruit Cake

This is a moist, highly flavoured fruit cake that happens to be vegan and happens to contain no added pure sugar. It is loosely based on my grandmother’s wartime fruitcake recipe when eggs were hard to come by and just about anything went in to the cake – apple chunks, dried plums and even rosehips!  It freezes brilliantly and doubles up as an energy bar if you cut it into slices and store individually. I dont often use recipes with cups but this one seems to work really well.

Ingredients  (feel free to change the mix according to what your store cupboard yields)

2 cups mixed dried fruit  ( I like apricots, prunes, sultanas and “agrise”/ barberries

1 cup chopped dates covered with boiling water and a pinch of bicarbonate and pureed OR 1 cup of unsweetened apples sauce (I like the dark colour the dates give but apple sauce is faster and easier)

½ cup of crystallised ginger

1 stick of fresh lemongrass chopped very finely or dried lemongrass blitzed

1 tsp mixed spice

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamon seeds ground

2 cups water

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (it wont be bad if you use sunflower oil or any other oil as long as its good quality)

2 cups grated carrot

4 cups wholemeal flour

1 cup of ground almonds (I blitz almonds or any other nuts lurking around until a medium fine powder)

20g baking powder

1 tsp vinegar

Gadgets & Gizmos

I like fruitcakes in little loaf tins but any cake tin will do – just be careful to line with baking paper and oil so the cake eases out rather than you needing a pneumatic drill to prize it off the sides of the poor tin.


An embarrasing lack of method here. OK the date puree needs a little work but after that simply combine all ingredients together in one bowl and mix until just combined.

Spoon into the cake tins (this makes three of my little loaf tins which may not be very helpful at all… would make one deep 20cm circular tin and one brownie tray I am sure)

bake at 170C until a toothpick comes out clean…this will vary depending on your cake tin dimensions and how your oven behaves but start off with 25-30mins as a guide.

Better to leave a couple of days before eating.

Guilty pleasure: a slice of strong cheese on top of the cake.

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  1. Leave a Reply

    Lisa Reiter
    March 7, 2014

    Reblogged this on Quick and Healthy Recipes and commented:
    This sounds fabulous and I know one or two of my own blog followers are looking for fruit and nut cakes for extra energy but without added sugar.

  2. Leave a Reply

    March 7, 2014

    Where do you find Barberry’s in Bucharest. I googled it. It is an Iranian berry

    • Leave a Reply

      Rachel Sargent
      March 13, 2014

      Hi Eileen,,,right…this is quite complicated…..

      “Berberis vulgaris” or barberries are common to central southern europe/middle east. They are used a lot in Persian cuisine.

      They are correctly known in Romania as :Dracila” however like many fruits and foods (eg “nuci” or nuts) the language is not rich enough and they are known as “agrise” which is actually the correct Romanian word for “gooseberries” but is used as a kind of generic for sour berries.

      You can buy at Mega Image in the dried fruit section where they are incorrectly labelled as “agrise” but happily have Romania as their source of origin. 🙂

      I put them in my brownies and cookies. way better than cranberries as also high in a million good things and Vit C but local and less sweet.


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