An almost-healthy, almost-candy, cake

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Here is my customised take on panforte (which is usually based on dried figs and too much flour):


400 g mixed nuts, can be hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistacios, all with their skin on, lightly dry-roasted and coarsely chopped


400 g mixed dried and candied fruit, can be dates, apricots, (figs if you insist but I prefer dates and dried apricots), apple, pineapple, cherries, stem ginger in a syrup, or a bit of ginger jam (to me, ginger in this recipe is essential), cranberries, goji berries and orange peel in smaller quantities, all coarsely chopped. Spread on a board and dust with a tblsp plain white flour to prevent the pieces from sticking together in big lumps.


3 tblsp coacoa powder

1,5 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp roasted, ground cloves

1 tsp roasted ground coriander seeds

Ground seeds from ten cardamom pods

1 tsp ground black pepper

Heat 400 g of a mixture of honey and brown sugar (can also be a bit of maple syrup, a bit of syrup from pickled stem ginger, muscovada sugar) – must not boil – and add 150 g dark chocolate and two tblsp butter or oil (am olive oil freak so that is what I always, but coconut oil would also work for me).

Pour over the fruit/nuts/spice mixture, mix well (most easily done with your hands but be aware of the heat). Press the mixture into a well-greased oven-proof plate or a round baking tin with baking paper covering the bottom. Make sure there are no air pockets at the bottom, sides or corners. Make the surface as smooth as possible.

Bake at 150 degrees C in 35-50 minutes depending on the thickness of the layer. The cake should still feel soft and wobbly in the middle, since it does not set until it cools off.

Dust with icing sugar. Keep in cling-film in the fridge and it will keep for weeks.