Every now and then I make the mistake of thinking that just because my friends are super fit and sporty, I should be too. And I sign up for a challenge because unless I have something I actually have to train for, I find all sorts of excuses for not finding the time. I took up running when I was 40(!) and last September I did my second half marathon, even though I had sworn after the first one I would never do another. Because I will never be “good” at running, no matter how hard I try, and 13 miles of it was enough to put me off running pretty much for good. But over the last few weeks I have been really missing the feeling you get with intense exercise, and yoga and Pilates, as great as they are, just don’t give you that. So yesterday I went running and managed about a mile. And today I am doing my first boot camp class for nearly two years. If I survive I’m sure I will feel great (when the aching has worn off)…
Everything in moderation is one of my mantras in life. And for me that goes for running too. So no more half marathons. And while I definitely don’t always manage to stick to my own ideals, if I’m going to eat cake it might as well be a healthy(ish) version of it. If you don’t think you can face fruit cake again until next Christmas give this one a go. It’s a lighter fruitcake and I have tried to make it a little healthier by using wholemeal flour and substituting some of the flour for ground almonds, and some of the butter for natural yogurt. It is full of dried fruit so can help towards your five a day… The ground almonds make it a little crumblier so if you want to avoid that you can just add a half teaspoon of xanthan gum. Make sure you check it before the end of the cooking time – I forgot and mine came out a little overdone around the edges.
150ml natural yogurt
170g SR brown flour
170g ground almonds
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
275g mixed fruit (eg sultanas, raisins, cranberries, apricots, glacé cherries)
Set the oven to 180°C
Grease, and line the base of a deep, loose-based 8″ cake tin.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat together until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat to incorporate.
Add the yogurt and mix again so that the mixture is smooth.
Add the flour, ground almonds, mixed spice and ground cinnamon (along with the xanthan gum, if using) and fold in carefully.
Tip in the mixed fruit and stir gently until well distributed.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and gently level.
Bake for around an hour but check after about 45 minutes and cover with foil if browning too quickly.
The cake is ready when it is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin and remove when cold.