Frugal Recipe: Fruit & Tea Cake

Contributed By Marissa Bognanno, Author of The Boot Blog

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m old. 

My new TV obsession is perfect testament to this, as it shows exactly what it is that makes my heart beat. A period drama with intrigue and elderly ladies sipping tea and solving crimes with such names as The Blue Geranium, and lots of poisoning and gorgeous costumes. Yes, Miss Marple is my new (old) favorite. On Wednesday nights I can’t wait to run home, make a big cup of tea, light a mulled spice candle and curl up on the couch to watch it. Manu makes fun of me, but he secretly likes it too, seeing as how he obliges so willingly to keep the channel locked on Jane Marple and her keen knitting/investigative ways. 
I made the perfect cake to accompany Miss Marple this week, and it’s very English and even a bit healthy!  It’s soft, fragrant, not too sweet, with hints of tea and spice, moist and with added crunch from the sunflower seeds on top. 
Fruit and Tea Cake
(based on this recipe)
1/4 cup tea (I used Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer)
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable)
1/2 cup sugar
1 mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, cover the raisins and chopped apricots with the tea. Let it sit while you prepare the batter. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and non-stick cooking spray, or butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl, combine the oil, sugar, banana, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir the tea mixture into the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and fold together until just combined (do not overmix!). Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
*Notes: You can substitute the whole wheat flour for all-purpose if you like, or use different dried fruit. If you don't like banana you can substitute that for plain yogurt. 

The best part, though, is that Manu calls it "Miss Muffin." And I don't correct him. :) 

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