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Vegan Quince and Cardamom Loaf

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My vegan Quince and cardamom loaf is an unusual and unassuming looking fruit loaf, but the magic fruit? The Autumnal and majestic quince, delicately enhanced by cardamom.

Vegan Quince Tea Loaf

This gentle, unassuming looking quince and cardamom loaf cake is certainly perfect to have on a chilly Autumnal day with a cup of tea, but if you replace the quince with the less seasonal apple, you can enjoy this all year round!

This was inspired by my quince, almond and olive oil cake, super easy sultana loaf, easy apple spice cake and my vegan banana loaf.

A bowl of quinces

Nostradamus: “(the colour of a Quince) is so diaphanous that it resembles an oriental ruby”

I have a great love and admiration for the ethereal quince. It is like love, fleeting and impossible to describe. With its exotically perfumed scent, reminiscent of the South Seas, it is not hard to see why it is considered the fruit of love.

In Ancient Greece, a virgin bride would delicately nibble a quince to ‘perfume her breath’ on her wedding night. Paris presented Aphrodite with a quince as a symbol of love, marriage and fertility, little wonder when you consider the bottom heavy, fertile shape of the fruit.

A (very) brief history of Quince

But the Apple of Gold was not just used for love. During the Quince-Baldarian War, fought in Biblical times, the fruit was filled with stones and lit on fire – a sort of modern-day hand grenade. The Baldarian soldiers were finally defeated, after attempting to take over Quince land (owned by King Georgio Quince) and legend has it that the quince fruit was named after the King and became forever a symbol of strength and intelligence within that noble family.

The word Quince is also derived from the Greek, Kydonian Malon, meaning Apple of Gold, so it can be considered the fruit with the most interesting and puzzling past, truly a legendary fruit.


Along with the fig, the quince is one of the oldest fruits in the world and it has been suggested that the sinful apple that Eve tempted Adam with, in the Garden of Eden was in fact a quince. They certainly have a seductive shape, almost egg shaped, but smooth and firm, like the medieval Madonna’s bosoms in paintings from the Middle Ages.

Quince Loaf cake

I encountered quinces first hand many winters ago, after reading so many delightful recipes and stories about them. They were for sale in a local supermarket, outrageously priced and imported from Central Asia (they are the fruit of the Cydonia Oblonga) and warm Mediterranean countries where they are much revered.

I didn’t actually cook them but made quince brandy (or Eau De Vie De Coings) with them, mostly because they had started to turn brown. I didn’t want to waste the precious quinces that only appeared on the shelves for about a fortnight each year.

Quince Loaf Cake in the baking tin

What does Quince taste like?

The quince has a heady apple-like scent, but more complex, with undertones of apricots and exotic fruits like mango and pineapple suggested, particularly during cooking process.

This week I was given five beautiful specimens, all from an English country garden, each weighing nearly a pound each. To smell them, freshly picked, is like breathing in the aroma of a letter that was once perfumed, a memory of a scent but as they warm up in your fruit bowl, they start to fragrance the whole house.

How are Quinces used?

Quinces are used widely in the Middle East, where they grow freely (and where most of the quinces that we see in the supermarkets are imported from). They are used in savoury dishes, in much the same way as say, squash or pumpkin, but with a much more mysterious flavour. They hold their shape well in slow cooked dishes and are particularly delectable in stews.

Preparing Quince

The quince is the only awkward bit of the preparation of this cake but the whole thing still only took about half an hour or so to get oven ready. There are two ways you could choose to do the quince:

1) Stew the quince

  • Cut top and tail off the quince, do not peel. Halve and then cut thin slices off the quince, until you reach the hard core. Do this with both halves.
  • Add 200ml water and 1 teaspoon caster sugar to a pan, add the sliced quince and bring to the boil.
  • Turn down, put the lid on and simmer until the quince is tender (about 5-10 minutes, contrary to popular belief, if quince is sliced thinly, it will soften in no time).
  • Add a small sprinkling of sultanas to the poaching quince.
  • Once the quince is poached, scoop out the peach-coloured slithers (leaving behind the sultanas), and blend until reasonably smooth. I use a smoothie maker or blender. The skin can be quite tough, but the best flavour, scent and colour is there so this way you waste nothing.
  • The puree is then added to the cake batter, along with the strained sultanas.


2) Peel the quince first, proceed as above but do not puree. Instead cut the slithers into 1cm pieces so that the cake will be dotted with the ochre tinted fruit.


Ingredients for vegan loaf cake.
  • quinces. You can find these at most farmer’s market in October/November. See my notes above for preparation. The quince also replaces the egg, so it has multiple purposes in this recipe.
  • flour. I like to use a mixture of wholewheat (brown) flour and white. It gives the cake a nutty flavour, but the white flour stops it being too heavy.
  • plant-based yogurt, to replace the eggs, but also to add some moistness to the cake.
  • vegan butter
  • cardamom. Cardamom seems to be the spice soulmate of the quince, enhancing the mysterious flavour even more
  • raisins or sultanas. These add a little bit extra sweetness to this low-sugar cake

This is ONLY a list of ingredients for the recipe; please see recipe card below for complete printable recipe.


Simmering quinces and raisins in a pan.

Top, tail and core your quinces, cutting them into thin slices. Poach in a little water with a teaspoon of sugar from the recipe.

Blending quince in a blender.

Once tender, place in a blender (removing the sultanas) and blend to a lumpy puree. Leave to cool.

Mixing blended quince into cake batter.

Sift the flours, baking powder, cardamom, salt and bicarb into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream the remaining sugar and butter until light and creamy, then fold in the quince puree and sultanas.

Adding flour to cake batter.

Alternately fold in the flours and yogurt into the butter/sugar mixture until you have a thick cake batter.

Folding yogurt into cake batter.

Folding plant-based yogurt it the cake batter.

Quince batter in a loaf tin.

Spoon into your lined loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes at 180c.

Hint: if you find that you love the taste of quince, it’s well worth buying some more, making the puree and freezing it in batches so you can enjoy the magical flavour all year.


  • quince – use the same quantity of cooked apples or pears instead for a more conventional but no less lovely flavour
  • Sultanas – use raisins or currants instead nor omit altogether. You could even use some chopped crystalised ginger, as this has a natural affinity with quince.
  • flour – use all white or all wholemeal if you prefer. You may need to add a little more yogurt if the dough seems very dry. You could also use gluten free flour, but use self-raising


I use a vintage 1 litre loaf tin.


Once cooled, store in an airtight cake tin or container. No need to refrigerate. It will be good, and in fact get better, after a couple of days.

Vegan Quince and Cardamom Tea Loaf

Quince FI
A delicious and unusual tea loaf, perfect to nibble on in the afternoon with a lovely cuppa
5 from 5 votes
Prep 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 1 lb loaf tin lined


  • 110 g wholemeal flour
  • 100 g plain flour - white
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 55 g butter - softened, vegan
  • 85 g brown sugar
  • 150 g quince puree - unsweetened
  • 30 g sultanas
  • 115 ml yoghurt - plant-based
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90 g walnuts - chopped, optional


  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Add quince puree and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Whisk the flours with baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cardamom
  • Add the flour to the creamed mixture alternately with the yoghurt
  • Stir with a metal spoon until just combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into a lined loaf tin.
  • Bake at 200c for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean

Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Quince and Cardamom Tea Loaf
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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    1. Hi Cindy,
      It does say further up to use plant-based yogurt and butter, but I probably made the assumption that anyone reading a vegan blog would assume that you use plant-based butter and yogurt, however, I have amended this to make this perfectly clear.

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