Dried Fruit and Nut Cake

The other day, I was in the mood for something a little different. And I had various containers of dried fruit in my pantry that I really wanted to use up, ‘cause, um, yeah, I needed to clear some space to accommodate my latest Costco run. (Ever been to Costco? That place is wonderful and evil at the same time—especially because whenever I go there, I just seem to get into this mode where I start thinking “yes, it is a good idea to buy three different types of chocolate chips in bulk.”) Anyway, the dried fruit (among other things) had to go, so I took the opportunity to tackle a recipe I’d seen awhile back.

This cake is really more like a giant granola bar. And I’ll warn that it’s fairly dense—you need a pretty solid knife to cut through it. But it’s also super tasty, and incredibly quick and easy to make. The most time-consuming part was chopping up all the dried fruit, and even that only took a few minutes. And the result was an interesting concoction that I’ll happily be eating all week long.

Dried Fruit and Nut Cake
Recipe from David Leibowitz

7 tablespoons AP flour
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I like nutmeg, so I used a bit more, but not quite a half teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves (I omitted this)
Pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped up dried fruit (I used dried cranberries, apricots, dates, and prunes)
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped nuts, lightly toasted (I used walnuts and pecans)

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, eggs, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
3. Stir in the dried fruits and nuts.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 90 minutes. Cool the cake in its pan. When ready to slice, you’ll definitely want to bust out the cutting board and a sharp knife.

Oatmeal Muffins With Dried Fruits and Pecans

I’m a big fan of muffins. I mean, all you really have to do is call a cupcake a muffin, and you can totally get away with eating it for breakfast.

But while I have to admit that some muffin recipes pack a bit too much early-morning sugar even for a sweet tooth like me, these muffins are, objectively speaking, perfectly breakfast-appropriate. They’re not super sweet, but the combination of dried fruits brings a lot of flavor to the table.

You can definitely feel free to substitute the dried fruits I used for others you might prefer. And if you’re not a fan of pecans, you can get away with using walnuts instead—though I think the pecans work wonderfully.


Oatmeal Muffins with Dried Fruits and Pecans
Adapted From Simply Recipes

1 cup of traditional rolled oats
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped prunes
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup buttermilk**
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
3. Stir in the pecans and dried fruit.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, stir the mixture together gently until just combined.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Let the muffins sit in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

**Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Just pour a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup, and then add enough milk to bring the mixture to the one-cup mark. Let it stand for about five minutes, and then you’re good to go.