I was on the hunt for a fruit-flavored cake recipe that was three things:
- Stupidly simple –
- Vegan –
- Absolutely delicious –
I found a few recipes that hit two out of three, but none that checked all three off my list. So what did I do? I did what I do and I wrote one. But in order to write a cake recipe, you need to know a little cake science and do some dissecting.
So what parts are there to a traditional cake recipe? In no particular order: the flavor, the substance, the liquid, the leavening agent, the sweetener, the fat, and the binder.
I wanted my fruit flavored cakes to taste like.. well.. fruit. And what tastes more like fruit than fruit? So that definitely needed to be my first ingredient. And it just so happens that fruit purée not only makes an epic flavor base, but also an amazing egg replacer for binding AND oil substitute. And it’s juicy. Bam. Why haven’t I been doing this all along?!
So the fruit does the job of four cake recipe components: flavor, liquid, binder, and fat [replacer].
Then you need your substance – the bulk of the cake. That’s your flour.
And you need leavening to give the cake rise – that’s when the batter creates millions of tiny bubbles within itself and the cake puffs up, becoming a sponge instead of a hockey puck. Traditional cakes do this in a variety of ways: usually eggs filling with steam and the addition of a bit of baking powder. This cake does it with a chemical reaction of acid + base. Think back to elementary school volcanoes made with vinegar and baking soda. That’s what we are doing here, but with citric acid instead of vinegar.
For sweetness I normally use Zulka unrefined granulated sugar, but any granulated sugar will work. It also works wonderfully with coconut sugar, and for a no-sugar-added cake granulated stevia works amazingly! Just keep in mind that fruits contain natural sugars, and most flours are high in carbs which can cause sugar spikes – so while this cake made with stevia will be more diabetic-friendly than most other cakes out there, it still isn’t something that can be eaten in excess without glycemic consequences.
So with the realization of how many jobs fruit purée can do and an understanding of what other components need to be addressed, this cake can be made with, at the bare minimum, four ingredients. FOUR! And it’s DELICIOUS made with only four ingredients!
So if you’re dealing with food allergies and need something base-line basic, I’ve got you! This can be made with just an acidic fruit purée, sugar, baking soda, and flour – omit everything else and follow the steps the same way. Do you need it to be gluten-free? Use your favorite cup for cup gluten-free flour and add a teaspoon of baking powder (results may vary based on the brand or mix of gluten-free flour you use, so please test yours).
So you may be asking – why in the world would you add more stuff to it if it’s delicious with just those four??
With just those four ingredients, the cake is stupidly simple, vegan, and absolutely delicious. BUT – sometimes I make showstopper cakes that need to hold up well with lots of layers, can be carved, can be crumb coated and frosted with ease, and some people really like extra flavor on top of the natural fruit, as well as a pop of color – so I made a few additions to make those things happen.
Flax helps the cake to be more sturdy and less crumbly, salt balances the sweetness, and the kool-aid powder adds extra flavor, color, and citric acid to react with our baking soda for more lift. If you use it, choose the same flavor as your fruit purée or a complimentary flavor (peach-mango with mango purée, for instance). If you’re using a fruit that isn’t very acidic (blueberries, for instance) you need the extra boost of acidity – so if you don’t want to use KoolAid powder, use a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice instead).
So far I’ve made this recipe with strawberry, mango, peach, kiwi, dragonfruit, pineapple, raspberry, and blueberry. If you want to try another flavor, or even combine them, go for it and let me know what you did!
And finally, keep in mind that this cake, because it is made of mostly fruit, will be more dense than your traditional light and fluffy birthday cake style cake. To avoid it being any more dense than necessary make sure to gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together rather than stirring (so you don’t develop the gluten and make the cake chewy and bready). You can also add extra flour, up to a cup, to lighten it up a bit. But remember that the more flour you add, the less the fruit flavor and color will come through.
This recipe is great for cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and even pancakes! It can be doubled, tripled, halved, or quartered and still works great. Try it with my quick and easy ganache or my easiest buttercream ever.
Take a look at my video here to watch how I whip up the batter in less than ten minutes, and please subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to know about new tutorials I put up:
- 2.5 cups fruit purée (540g)
- 2 cups sugar (400g)
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 5 tablespoons hot water
- 3.5 cups flour (440g)
- 2 teaspoons baking SODA (bicarb)
- 1 packet of KoolAid or other acid-based unsweetened drink powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C) and prepare your cake pans (I like to use nonstick spray and a parchment paper circle inside the bottom).
- Prepare your flax eggs by mixing the ground flax and hot water in a small bowl or cup (1 tbsp of flax + 2.5 tbsp water = one flax egg - so you’re making two eggs here. Also, using hot water speeds up the process). Set aside.
- Add your flour, baking soda, salt, and KoolAid powder to a medium mixing bowl. Sift or whisk if you’d like.
- Add your fruit purée and sugar to a large mixing bowl.
- Add your flax egg to the fruit/sugar once it’s goopy - after about ten minutes.
- Pour your dry ingredients into the wet, and fold them together using a silicone spatula until the batter doesn’t have any dry bits. Don’t stir! Fold!
- Pour the batter into your prepared pans.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Cupcakes take about 17 minutes)
- Proceed as usual and enjoy your cake!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 8mg Sodium: 153mg Carbohydrates: 33g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 18g Protein: 2g