This wonderful recipe is from Vegan Chef Laurinda Erasmus' book BENESSERE well-being: vegan & sugar-free eating for a healthy life-style, a collection of over 500 vegan recipes, each one with colour photo.
I encountered this delicious cake in Siena, where entire shops and bakeries are dedicated to making and selling only Panforte. The Italian version was very sweet, with honey, sugar AND glucose syrup. So here is my version of this incredibly tasty cake – filled with lots of different nuts and dried fruit. Only a small amount of apple syrup is used, together with very dark (85%) vegan chocolate and aromatic vanilla-infused oil. Don’t blame yourself if you scoff this in a day or two!
125 g (¾ cup) wholemeal spelt flour
2 tbsp unsweetened pure dark cocoa powder / pure carob powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
70 g each: almonds (6 tbsp), hazelnuts (6½ tbsp), walnuts (6½ tbsp)
300 g (1½ cups) chopped mixed dried fruit, e.g. prunes, figs, sultanas, cherries, apricots
90 g vegan bitter chocolate (85%) / vegan carob buttons
2 tbsp rice syrup
1 tbsp apple / date syrup
70 g (5 tbsp + 1 tsp) vanilla-infused grapeseed / camellia tea / rice bran oil
1 tbsp apple / date syrup
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg
2 ml ground cloves
4 tsp unsweetened pure dark cocoa powder
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 1 L baking tin with non-stick baking parchment, or use a silicone dish.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the nuts and dried fruit. Stir well to combine.
3. Heat the chocolate or carob buttons with the syrups and oil in a bowl set over boiling water until molten and smooth. Pour onto the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
4. Spoon into the baking tin, pressing down to remove air pockets and level the surface. Place a sheet of tin foil over the baking tin.
5. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the tin foil for the last 5 minutes.
6. Remove the Panforte from the oven and cool in the baking tin.
7. Glaze the cake: brush the syrup all over the top. Combine the dry ingredients and sprinkle half over the top. Press down with a spoon to seal in the stickiness.
8. Remove the cooled (and now very firm) Panforte from the baking tin. Peel off the parchment. Roll the sides of the Panforte in the remaining half of the spice mixture to seal.
The cake should last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks – but not in our household! Cut the cake into 16 slices, as it is quite rich.
Recipe and photo provided by Laurinda Erasmus, from her vegan recipe book BENESSERE well-being: vegan & sugar-free eating for a healthy life-style. Quinoa Publishing. www.veganwellbeing.net