Makes 8 to 10 servings

Great served with tea or coffee or after a big meal, this recipe is a healthier version of the Italian classic holiday cake. Normally a sourdough or yeasted creation, my version is a quick bread, risen with aluminum-free baking powder. This way, you can avoid the dairy (milk, cream, butter), eggs, and refined sugars, along with the emulsifying agents found in commercial brands. Enjoy!

Rinds of half an orange and half a lemon, cut with a peeler or knife 1/8- to ¼-inch thick, diced in ½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup mixed with ¼ cup water

2/3 cup dried fruit (a combination of flame raisins with unsulfured, unbleached sultana/golden raisins and fruit-sweetened cranberries is nice)

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted

¾ cup unbleached white pastry flour, sifted

2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons light vegetable oil (Spectrum walnut)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup soy milk (Edensoy Original)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan (or any pan where batter measures 1-inch deep) with parchment paper and brush the sides with oil.

2.Place maple syrup-water mixture in a one-quart saucepan. Layer in chopped citrus rinds and sprinkle dried fruits on top. Do not stir. Bring to boil, and turn heat low to simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer fruit to a plate and place in freezer for 5 minutes to cool down.

3.In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder and salt). In a smaller bowl, whisk wet ingredients (oil, syrup, soy milk and vanilla) together. Add half citrus-dried fruit mixture to wet ingredients, reserving remaining portion for topping. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk to combine. Transfer batter to pan, and sprinkle remaining fruit on top.

4.Bake until cake tests done, is quite golden, and pulls away from the sides of the pan, 30 minutes.

5.Transfer cake to cooling rack for 15 minutes, then remove cake from pan and return it to rack to cool at least 15 minutes more before serving.

Variations: For gift giving, paper baking containers are available in cookware stores.

Gluten-Free Cake: Substitute above flours with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix. Or substitute with ½ cup each brown rice, millet and buckwheat flours. Quinoa, chestnut and arrowroot flours work nicely too.

For 10 servings per serving:

Calories: 194   Protein: 3gm   Saturated Fat: 0.2gm   Fiber: 2gm   Carbohydrate: 38gm   Fat: 3gm Cholesterol: 0   Sodium: 276mg
Calories from Protein: 6%     Calories from Fat: 16%     Calories from Carbohydrate: 78%