Wednesday 16 February 2011

Celebrating my 4th Blog Anniversary with Fruity Orange Tea Loaf GF

Wow I can’t believe it's been 4 years today since I started my little blog. At the time I don’t think I would ever have imagined I’d still be blogging 4 years later. I’m pleased to say I get just as much, if not more, out of blogging now that I did when it was all new and exciting. Blogging has opened my eyes to the recipes, cuisines, cultures and weird and wonderful ingredients there are available out there in the world. It has encouraged and enabled me to make dishes I would probably never have attempted or even heard of if I had not discovered blogging. You, the readers and other bloggers are mostly to thank for this – so thank you! Ok, enough of the Oscar impersonations!

One of my life’s little pleasures is always having some sort of sweet treat after lunch. I’m a firm believer that a little bit of what you fancy does you good! Sometimes I crave slices of rich and indulgent cake, while other times a simple pot of yoghurt fits the bill perfectly. Recently I’ve been after something sweet, yet simple and homely. Nothing too elaborate or fussy and this fruity orange tea loaf is perfect for just such a craving.

I recently received an email from a family friend who said she had been advised to follow a wheat free diet. She had bought a gluten free fruity cake when out for the day and enjoyed it so much she wanted a recipe to make her own. She described a moist, richly fruited loaf cake and identified the fruits it contained. She asked if I had a recipe. I didn’t, but never one to pass up a challenge I told her I’d see what I could do and this moist, fruity, lightly spiced tea loaf is the result.

The ingredients list she gave me included fruit juice, but no oil or butter. Based on this I decided that the bread was probably similar to a tea loaf – where fruits are soaked overnight in strong tea before being baked into a cake, with the extra tea used as the liquid/binding agent. I decided to use a mix of dried fruits and soak them in fresh orange juice to achieve a similar result. This worked brilliantly and resulted in extremely plump and juicy fruits and really enhanced their flavour.

The batter is very soft and wet, but it has a long slow bake in the oven which allows a thick, slightly chewy sticky crust to form, while keeping the inside lovely and moist. The batter looks as though it’s going to overflow from the tin, but it doesn’t rise much due to its high fruit to batter ratio, so there were no oven disasters.

Despite being densely fruited, the cake itself is not in the least bit dense. It’s soft and springy and actually makes a ‘squish’ sound as you take a bite through all the succulent fruit. It’s a delicious way to have a bit of ‘me time’ snuggled on a comfy chair, tearing off little bits with your fingers. Plus, with no added fat there’s no need to feel guilty about it either.

Fruity Orange Tea Loaf GF
Ingredients100g dates – stones removed (if pre-chopped make sure they are dusted in rice flour, not wheat flour)
100g sultanas
100g raisins
50g dried apricots
275ml fresh orange juice
150ml water
50g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp mixed spice
Zest of 1 lemon
250g gluten free self raising flour
20g ground almonds
½ tsp gluten free baking powder

MethodChop the dates and dried apricots into pieces the size of a large raisins and add them to a bowl along with the sultanas and raisins.
Measure the orange juice and water into a small saucepan and heat until steaming. It does not need to simmer or boil. Pour the hot juice over the dried fruit, stir briefly and then cover the top tightly with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for at least 10-12 hours.
The next day, the fruit will be very plump and juicy looking. Some of the fruit juice will still remain in the bowl which is fine.
Grease a loaf tin, approx 10x20cm, and pre-heat the oven to 150C and line the base and up the two longest sides with a long strip of greaseproof paper.
Stir the sugar, mixed spice and lemon zest into the soaking fruit. Stir until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
Add the eggs and mix well until they are evenly combined.
Scatter the flour, almonds and baking powder over the surface of the mixture. Use a large spatula or wooden spoon to beat the flour into the fruit mix, starting in the centre and working your way out towards the edge until everything is well incorporated (it will be a very wet mix).
Pour the batter into the prepared tin (it will reach the top) and bake for 1 hour and 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean (it may still be sticky if you hit a raisin).
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve in thick slices. I like it just as it is but it can be served with butter if that’s your thing.
Keeps well for 3-4 days wrapped in clingfilm and tastes great lightly toasted under the grill (don’t put it in a toaster!)


Abitofafoodie said...

Ooh - I've made a cake similar to this once before and it was absolutely delicious. I think it was called 'Molly Cake' for some reason. I remember it as being wonderfully sticky and moist and rather good spread with a little butter too (though this reduces the healthy factor!).

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Congratulations! Very impressive to still be sticking at it. This cake looks lovely and I love your descriptions. Some me time with a piece of fruit cake would be perfect right about now.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Congratulations on your four years blogsoversary and may there be many more Katie! :D What a lovely, thoughtful cake and I do love soft, squishy fruit cakes! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy fourth anniversary! That fruit cake looks like it packs in lots of fruity goodness! YUM!

Caroline said...

Congratulations! I'm just working on year number one and I really hope that four years later I'm as dedicated to my blog as I am now (though I wouldn't complain if my photography improved!) I love loaf cakes with dried fruits - granted I'm one of those people that makes a ton of fruitcakes for Christmas - mostly because I love them. I'm sure this would be delicious!

Chele said...

Happy 4th blog anniversary - quite remarkable! Love how moist and tender this laof looks. Yum!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Like Antonia said - I have also made Molly cake which I think is very similar. Looks lovely and moist. Happy blogiversary

Jocie's Mom said...

I think your tea cake is a lovely way to ring in year 4! Looks delicious. I'v never made anything like it but I'll definitely give this a try.


vans shoes said...

I first time heard about this recipe.It looks so nice.I likes to test new flavors of food dishes.You share delicious dish with us.

Kelly-Jane said...

Happy blogiversarry :)

Monica H said...

The texture looks wonderful. I couldn't believe it's gluten free. And I'm mighty impressed you came up with this all by yourself. you rock!

Monica H said...

oh and happy 4th blog anniversary! I'm so glad to be following you and wish you many more years of success.

Caroline said...

Congratulations on four years of inspiring blogging - I know that whenever I see a new post pop up here that it's going to be well worth reading!

Your tea loaf looks delicious Katie - really moist and yum. I love a good teabread, especially spread with butter ;-)

Nic said...

What a great cake, perfect for a blog birthday! Happy 4th anniversary!

Brownieville Girl said...

Congratulations on four wonderful years of blogging.

Great idea to soak the fruit in orange juice - the cake looks deliciously moist.

Unknown said...

Happy Blogoversary Katie!! The cake looks delicious, I love fruit cake!

Elle said...

Happy Blog Anniversary (a little late)! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog...I like your soft spoken style a lot.
This loaf looks wonderful! I'm going to make for me and one to send to my Mom to enjoy with her afternoon tea.

oneordinaryday said...

Best wishes on 4 years!! That's a big milestone!

Choclette said...

Congratulations - four years is some going. Have always enjoyed your blog, so hope you keep going for a good while to come. The tea loaf looks really moist and succulent - yum.

Bizzy said...

This would be a new texture to us, I think. It sounds delicious being sticky and moist.

Bizzy said...

This would be a new texture to us, I think. It sounds delicious being sticky and moist.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Happy blog anniversary, Katie! Four years, wow! Here's to many more!