Figgy Walnut Loaf
I remember being so disappointed when I heard that William and Kate were going to have a fruit cake at the royal wedding. The cool new young royals should have a cake to fit – not something stuffy and old fashioned and full of raisins.
Cut to me at their age and I love anything on the fruit cake spectrum.
Lena Dunham describes the Welsh cake as “like a pancake f***** a scone.” Well, this loaf is like tea brack f***** panforte. Dense, fruity, crunchy, chewy, totally delicious.
I adapted this recipe from Honey and Co’s walnut, orange and fig loaf. I wanted it to be more substantial – sweet enough to feel like a treat but also filling and nourishing – so I added more nuts, more fruit and coarse wholemeal flour. It keeps well for a few days and is especially nice if you toast a slice and slather it with cold, salted butter.
200g dried figs, cut into 4 pieces
juice and zest of one orange
1 eating apple – Braeburn or Gala is best
30ml sunflower oil
75g caster sugar
75g soft dark brown sugar
100g coarse wholemeal flour
130g self raising flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp Demerara sugar, for sprinkling on top, optional
Zest and juice the orange over the dried figs, set aside to absorb.
Toast the walnuts in an 150°C oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and chop roughly. Set aside.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grate the apple into a large bowl. Add the sunflower oil, egg and sugars. Stir well to combine. Add the flours, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt, followed by the chopped walnuts, figs and the orange juice they were soaking in. Once all is well combined pour into the prepared loaf tin, sprinkle with Demerara sugar, if using, and bake for 50 to 70 minutes – timing will depend on your oven. Once it is dark brown, firm to the touch all over and a cocktail stick inserted comes out clean it’s done. Cool completely before slicing.