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Fruit cake is loved for its juicy taste and citrus flavours, though it can be hard to master the perfect bake without drying the mixture out in the oven. However, according to celebrity chef, Tristan Welch, the “secret” to creating a moist cake lies in the nutrient-rich peelings leftover from raw vegetables. Not only do they add colour, flavour and extra water to the mix, but are ideal for use in baking to avoid food waste – and get the most for your money.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Richard Fowler, head of Sponge said: “Now more than ever it’s really important that we are using our ingredients to their full potential and minimising waste as much as possible, both for the benefit of our bank balance and the benefit of the planet.
“It may come as a surprise to hear that a lot of the flavour and nutrients in fruit and veg can actually be found in the peel.”
He explained that vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all packed into the peels, and have many uses outside of being thrown into your compost heap.
Celebrity chef, Tristan Welch (@chef_tristan_welch on TikTok), has shared his exclusive “no-waste” fruit cake recipe to put your root vegetable peels to good use.
- 260g veggie peelings
- 150g coconut oil (plus extra to grease the loaf tin)
- 225g light brown muscovado sugar
- Four medium eggs
- 225g self-raising flour
- One tsp bicarbonate of soda
- One tsp mixed spice
- One tsp ground cinnamon
- One tsp ground ginger
- 75g sultanas
- 75g currents
- 75g mixed peel
- 50g glace cherries
- 100g walnuts chopped
- Finely grated zest of one orange
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Tristan said: “The secret to this fruit cake is vegetable peelings. Using veggie peelings will keep your cake beautifully moist and it’s also a great way to avoid wasting any food!
“Peelings that work particularly well in this fruit cake include: carrot, parsnip, apple, pear, broccoli stalks (but I make sure to peel the fibrous outside of the stalks off), finely sliced cabbage and, believe it or not, even brussels sprouts!”
While most root and ground-grown vegetables can be used in this recipe, Tristan warned against using potato peels.
You can gather your peels over time simply by storing them in the freezer until you have 260g worth.
Making the fruit cake is incredibly easy, and can be done in just five steps. Start by blending the sugar, eggs, coconut oil, and veggie peelings together in a food processor.
Next, add spices, bicarbonate of soda, self-raising flour and orange zest and continue to blend.
Fold in the walnuts and dried fruit and pour into a lined loaf tin before baking at 170C for 35-40 minutes.
Tristan said: “Test with a skewer and, if it comes out dry, you know it’s cooked and ready to go! I love to leave this cake for a day and then have a slice toasted and spread with hot butter – it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
According to Richard Fowler at Sponge, peelings can also be used to create candied decorations to top your fruit cake.
He explained that this is commonly seen with lemon drizzle cakes or carrot cakes, though it can be used for almost any bake.
Other ways to save money on ingredients by using your leftover peelings include:
- Air-fried potato skin crisps
- Homemade soup
- Cocktail garnishes
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