Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bishops Cake

Whenever I think of this cake it takes me back to being about 8 years old, the Christmas tree is up, it's raining (I lived in the tropics) there's a bowl of fresh nuts on the coffee table and nut shells on the carpet (we later worked out that the dog was shelling her own) and mum's in the kitchen making amazing Christmas food. My mum is a fantastic cook. We never went without when it came to good food. There was always an abundance of super fresh seafood as my dad would get it straight from the trawlers (until he came home from a visit one day only to inform mum that he had purchased one, a prawn trawler that is!) cakes, cheesecakes, roasts, vegetable dishes, pate's, panetone and all things Christmas, even the house was beautifully decorated. 

My dad is European so we always had some sort of exotic traditional German and Italian treats. This must be where my love of food developed. I distinctly remember at the age of 16 after 4 years at boarding school and being 10 kg heavier I decided that being a fatty was not for me. I didn't want to live on diets so here started my journey of eating healthy and moving my body. I devoured every Pritikin book out there and started to healthify all of my favorite recipes, treats and meals. This passion of mine to create healthy alternatives isn't a new one, it's been my life long obsession. 

I didn't really have any plans to make this the other day. It just happened. I'd been thinking about it. I think about Bishops cakes every Christmas. This year I just really wanted to make it. I wish I had the cake tin mum used to make it in. It was a large round ring tin with a fruit pattern on in when you took the cake out. More memories.

Hahahaha, I just rang my mum to see if she still has the cake tin and she does! She's going to give it to me when I go up there. Even funnier is she says I'm the one that made the cake, I know I didn't, she definitely made the first one. We got the original recipe from a great Margaret Fulton cookbook she did for New Idea. I still have the book, it's one I will never get rid of. Mum gave it to me for Christmas in 1986 and it's full of classics. 

I've replaced all the processed sugary shiny glaceed fruits with big chunks of organic dried apricots, figs, dates and prunes. It would have been good to have some dried pineapple, pears and peaches but I didn't. Next year I will dehydrate my own to use then i'll update the recipe. The red and green glace cherries I've replaced with red goji berries and green pepitas to give it a nice festive look, bonus being they are both super nutritious as well. I've also kept it grain free, gluten free and vegan and you wouldn't even know it. I'm actually really happy with how it's turned out. The flavor and texture is incredible. Just make sure that it's completely cool before cutting. I found I had to cool it in the fridge to get it firm enough to cut. Because it has the large chunks of fruit and nuts they are harder to cut through and can make the cake crumble a bit so I'm just warning you to cut it with a nice sharp knife as well to try and avoid the slices from falling apart. If they do it's really not the end of the world. Push it back together and enjoy!    

Bishops Cake

Makes: 1


¾ cup coconut sugar
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup organic apricots – halved
½ cup prunes – halved
½ cup raisins
½ cup sultanas
½ cup goji berries
½ cup Brazil nuts
½ cup walnuts
½ cup almonds
½ pepitas
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbs vanilla powder or paste
¾ cup raw cashews – grind into flour/meal or almond meal
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups fresh pineapple
1 ripe banana
½ cup coconut cream, milk or any nutmilk
½ cup shredded coconut
2 tbs ground chia or flaxseeds (linseed) - updated 17/12/14 see note at bottom of  page
1 tbs maple syrup or honey if not vegan

2 tbs extra maple syrup or honey

  1. Grease or line a rectangular baking tin and preheat oven to 170oc
  2. Add all of the sugar, dried fruits and nuts to a large mixing bowl then add the vanilla and zest. Stir to coat all of the ingredients then divide the mixture in 2 placing the second halve in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the cashew flour, coconut flour and baking powder to the first bowl then stir to coat all of the ingredients making sure that they are all separated and evenly mixed.
  4. Blend 1 cup of the pineapple with the banana and coconut milk, ground chia/flaxseeds and sweetener until smooth then add to the dry mixture, stir to combine then press evenly into the baking tin and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove cake from oven and spread the topping over the cake then bake for another 30 minute turning the oven down to 150oc
  6. Remove from oven and pour the extra maple syrup or honey over the cake, spread it evenly with a basting brush then allow to cool before removing from pan. Store in the fridge and slice carefully with a sharp knife to serve. 

  1. Add the shredded coconut to the second bowl containing the dried fruits and nuts then blend the last cup of pineapple with the maple syrup and pour over the mixture. Stir to combine then let it sit until needed. 

I hope you have a go at this cake, it's tot's amazeballs!! (totally delicious! ;-) ) 

Have a great weekend!

PLEASE NOTE: I've updated the recipe and added the ground chia or flaxseed to help bind the cake and make it easier to cut. It's up to you if you want to add them. If you are not vegan then adding an egg would do the same. For the cake pictured I didn't use either and it tasted fantastic, it was just a bit of a challenge to slice, the large nuts and firm dried fruits are the main culprits :-) 


  1. Mmmmm, whole nuts. It looks fabulous. Merry Christmas! #TeamIBOT

    1. It tastes fabulous as well Rebecca, hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  2. Hi ! We put up a list of the TOP 100 best Christmas recipes for 2015. Your recipe was also included on this list. Go check it out at: Greetings, Veronique and Marco from

  3. Hi Veronica and Marco, what an honour. Your site is amazing. Thank you very much. I'll make sure to share your list. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all the beast for the Mew Year. Kind regards Karen 💞

  4. It looks beautiful on your picture! BUT I made it twice following the recipe exactly, and both times it turned out too moist. I baked it longer so even the top got a little overdone, but the insides were still too wet. Even though still wet, it still tasted good at first, but then the nuts started to absorb the moisture after a day in the fridge. All-in-all I was disappointed with the result. I wonder if anyone else tried to make it.

    1. Hi E.G. That's not good, I'm so sorry that happened to you as it's not a cheap cake to make. I've never had that happen. All I can think is the fresh fruits had more juice than mine did. Did you add the chia seed to help it bind? Also did you remember to turn the oven down for the last 1/2 hour to try to avoid burning the top.

      I have to admit it's very hard to get the recipes exact as each oven is different, add to that climate and the amount of moisture in the dried fruit and nuts. I now Iive in a dry, colder climate with a different oven and find I've had a adapt some of my recipes. I'm glad you enjoyed the taste but I'm very disappointed you didn't get the result you should have. Thank you for letting me know, I do appreciate it.

      Sincerely, Karen :-) x



I am not a doctor, registered dietitian or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness and life and hopefully to inspire you. All content provided on my blog is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Karen



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