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Vegan Olive Oil Quince Cake

My vegan quince cake is a delicious, dairy-free option for those following a plant-based diet. Quinces are a unique fruit known for their fragrant aroma and sweet, tart flavor. This recipe combines the natural sweetness of quinces with wholesome ingredients to create a moist and flavorful cake, using olive oil and ground almonds to give a delightful texture.

Overhead shot of quince cake with a slice cut out.

My vegan quince cake was my first fully hatched recipe. By which I mean, an original recipe (Torta Di Mele by Anna Del Conte) that I have taken and reshaped. I haven’t actually tried the original but when the quince season has passed fragrantly by, I will experiment using apple.

This is an unusual cake in that it uses olive oil for its fat content, instead of the usual butter or (gasp!) margarine. Not only does this save on arm power when beating the sugar and fat together, but it makes the texture of the cake very light and moist, with a tender crumb. You don’t taste the olive oil in the cake, but it seems to add a unique element to this unusual cake.

Some interesting facts about the Quince

Apples and pears are related to the quince, though it is more likely that they have evolved from the quince. The texture of a poached quince, with its slightly grainy feel on the teeth, is similar to that of a pear.

It was the quince that was originally used into what developed into modern day marmalade: marmalada, derived from the Greek word for preserved quince, melimelon. It has an outstandingly high pectin content, hence the production of membrillo, or quince cheese, which is a firm, almost chewy preserve, cooked for a couple of hours, then laid out in the warm sun to dry out. It is then cut into squares and served with savouries or as a sweet pastille, tossed in sugar.

Several quinces can go quite a long way. I recently prepared membrillo using two fruits that had started to go brown and I needed just one to add a haunting whisper to this cake, and their unique citrus-apple flavour is beguiling.

There are so few quince trees left in England that actually fruit and are not just ornamental, that to be given some from a windfall is a real gift. They were first noted in English records dating back to the 13th Century when they would have been brought over from Spain. Due to the cold weather in Britain, they only fruit when the weather here is particularly tropical.

I have written at length about the beautiful quince here, along with my quince and cardamom loaf cake recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients for quince cake.
  • quince
  • olive oil, I don’t use an extra virgin olive oil, just a normal cooking olive oil.
  • natural vegan yogurt. This replaces the egg element.
  • ground almonds and plain flour
  • sugar, brown and white
  • sultanas and lemon zest

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

Instructions

To prep the quince

Peeled and sliced quince.

Top and tail the quince, then cut off slices until you reach the woody core. Discard the core.

Add quince and sultanas to water.

Add the sliced quince, sultanas and a teaspoon of sugar to a pan and cover with water. Bring to a gentle simmer.

Draining the simmered quince.

Drain the quince, separating from the sultanas and place in a blender. Set the sultanas to one side.

The blended quince.

Blend the quince in a blender until smooth, then scoop out into a small bowl to cool.

To make the quince cake

Whisking olive oil and sugar together.
  • Preheat oven to 180c.
  • Whilst the quince is simmering, whisk together the sugars and olive until well amalgamated.
Adding the yogurt to olive oil and brown sugar cake mix.

Now add the yogurt…

The batter mixed with sugar, yogurt and olive oil.

and mix until the batter is the consistency of mayonnaise. At this point finish the quince prep.

Sifting flour into the cake batter.

Gradually sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon, folding in gently.

Folding in the flour to the cake batter.

You will get a really stiff batter, but just keep working the flour into the mixture.

Adding the poached quince and sultanas to cake batter.

Now fold in the quince, lemon zest and sultanas.

Folding the ground almonds into the cake batter.

Finally mix in the ground almonds. Don’t worry if the cake batter is really thick, that’s ok!

Spooning cake batter into prepared tin.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tin.

Smooth over the top of the cake batter.

Smooth over the top of the cake batter, and bake for 45mins to 1 hour.

The finished quince cake cooling on a rack.

When baked, leave to cool on a cooling rack before turning out.

Substitutions

  • sultanas – you can use raisins instead (soaking them in a little hot water to plump them up beforehand), or omit altogether.
  • olive oil – you can use a flavourless oil, or melted coconut oil (although this will change the flavour of the cake a little).
  • quince – you can use apples or pears instead, cooked in the same manner
  • ground almonds – you can replace the ground almonds with ground semolina or cornmeal, although both will alter the flavour and texture slightly.

Storage

Store the baked, cooled cake for 3-4 days in an airtight tin.

Top tip

If you come across a glut of quince, make batches of the pureed fruit and freeze it, to use later in the year when it is out of season.

Vegan Scented Quince Cake

Quince cake featured image.
A beautiful fruit cake, simple to make, but with a unique quince flavour.
Freya
5 from 1 vote
Prep 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 8" Cake Tin lined

Ingredients

  • 350 g quince - to give approximately 300g poached fruit, you may need more if the quince are small
  • 20 g sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar - for poaching the fruit
  • cup olive oil
  • 200 g sugar - I used 100g caster sugar and 100g unrefined caster sugar, which has a caramel flavour
  • ½ cup plain yogurt - vegan
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • lemon - zest only
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • demerara sugar

Instructions

  • Line and grease an 8” cake tin with a loose bottom.
  • Preheat the oven to 180c.
  • Prepare quince as above.
  • Whilst the quince is poaching, beat together the 200g sugar with the olive oil until thoroughly amalgamated.
  • Beat in the yogurt, until the mixture has increased in volume and is the texture of mayonnaise.
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon and fold gradually into the oil and sugar mixture, using a metal spoon. At this point, the mixture will be very stiff.
  • Stir in the quince and sultanas, then the ground almonds and lemon zest.
  • Again, the mixture will be stiff and have to be spooned into the cake tin.
  • Sprinkle with some Demerara Sugar and bake for about an hour but check after 45 minutes.
  • A skewer should come out clean.
  • Leave to cool and serve in slices with some softly whipped vegan cream.

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 Scented Quince Cake
Amount per Serving
Calories
511
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
24
g
37
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
13
g
Cholesterol
 
2
mg
1
%
Sodium
 
235
mg
10
%
Potassium
 
147
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
68
g
23
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
28
g
31
%
Protein
 
8
g
16
%
Vitamin A
 
27
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
4
mg
5
%
Calcium
 
103
mg
10
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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