Food photographer, stylist, and blogger, Hein van Tonder developed this rich, moist vegan fruit cake which can be found in Leozette Roode’s The South African Vegan Cookbook, R315, Human & Rousseau.



150g dried prunes, chopped

500g prepacked dried fruit cake mix

100g raisins

100g sultanas

200g glace cherries

175g coconut oil

300g dark muscovado sugar

3/5 cup coffee liqueur

juice and zest of 2 oranges

2T cacao

2t mixed spice

1t instant espresso powder

½t salt

45ml flaxseed powder

2/5 cup water

175g flour

100g ground almonds

100g apple sauce

100g mixed nuts of your choice, roughly chopped (optional)

1t baking powder

2/5 cup brandy, rum or amaretto

extra brandy or rum, for brushing during resting



1. Place the fruit, coconut oil, sugar, liqueur, orange juice and zest, cacao, mixed spice, espresso powder and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil while stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and let it stand to reach room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line the sides and bottom of a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with a double layer of baking paper, making sure the paper is about 3 cm higher than the edges of the tin.

3. In a large bowl, add the flaxseed powder and water, mix and let it stand to thicken for a few minutes. Add the fruit, flour, almonds, apple sauce, nuts (if using), baking powder to the flax mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 2 hours or more until the cake is firm and the top quite shiny. Start testing the cake after 1 hour, 45 minutes by inserting a cake tester into the centre.

4. Don’t worry if there is a very slight bit of moist batter attached to the tester – as long as the batter isn’t raw. If it is too uncooked, return it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Test again and repeat if needed, until the cake is cooked through.

5. Cover the top with foil so that the cake does not become too dark on top. Remove the cooked cake from the oven and pierce some holes with the cake tester.

6. Carefully pour the brandy, rum or amaretto over the hot cake. Let the cake cool down completely and remove from the cake tin. Wrap tightly in foil. Let it rest for 10 days in an airtight container, brushing with more brandy every few days until ready to serve.