The Vox Kitchen – the return of Ella Harris

We have another chef returning to the Vox Kitchen this week – Ella Harris of Canyon // SRAM Racing, the 2018 Zwift Academy winner!

Find her porridge here.

This time she is baking a fruit loaf….

Customisable Fruit Loaf

Normally I am a big fan of trying new recipes so I don’t often make the same thing over and over again, however this loaf is a major exception. Move over banana bread because I’m sure many have baked that to death by now; this loaf is a far superior alternative and a real afternoon snack show-stopper. If my word isn’t enough, my Dad requests me to make it on a regular basis and is a massive fan, despite normally detesting any remotely healthy baking (it’s the only baking of mine that he eats). I say it is customisable because you can get creative with whatever you have in the pantry and create your own flavour, just swap out ‘like for like’. The original recipe is for a date/ cranberry/ carrot loaf (which I can assure you is sensational), but the example pictured is actually a prune/ sultana/ apple version (which went down equally well in my household). The recipe is adapted from a NZ celebrity chef, Nadia Lim, who has other equally fantastic creations if you’re in need of inspiration.


  • Dates, 1 cup (or prunes, figs etc.)

  • Water, ½ cup

  • Baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoons

  • Butter, 50 grams (or coconut oil, olive oil etc.)

  • Pure maple syrup or liquid honey, ⅓ cup (Optional, I accidentally omitted this twice and was still perfectly sweet).

  • Vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon

  • Very ripe mashed banana, 1 large (or apple puree, feijoa etc.)

  • Grated carrot, 2 loosely packed cups (or zucchini, apple, beetroot etc.)

  • Large egg, lightly beaten (or if vegan, substitute for a chia/ flax egg)

  • Dried cranberries, ¾ cup (or sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, apricots etc.)

  • Flour, 1 ½ cups (standard, wholemeal, gluten-free, buckwheat, spelt etc.)

  • Mixed spice, 1 teaspoon (or whatever spices tickle your fancy eg. cinnamon, ginger)

  • Nuts, generous handful (Optional, walnuts or even chocolate chips).


  1. Preheat the oven to 170degC.

  2. Place dates and water in a medium-sized pot and boil for about five minutes, stirring frequently, until the dates are all mushed up and the water has evaporated. Add baking soda and mix well so it froths a little.

  3. Mix in butter, maple syrup and vanilla followed by mashed banana, carrot, egg and cranberries until well combined.

  4. Sift flour and mixed spice into the pot and fold the two mixtures together until well combined, being careful not to over-mix if using a flour with gluten.

  5. Spread batter into a loaf tin lined with baking paper and roughly smooth out the top. Bake for one hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.

  6. The loaf will stay fresh for a few days, not relevant for me though as it barely lasts 24 hours in my family.

  7. Eat as soon as possible, ideally with a coffee and a hearty lashing of butter.

I really like this loaf because it’s quick and easy to make, only uses one pot (!), uses natural sweeteners and is packed with a little sneaky extra goodness like carrot. It can be made to suit your individual tastes/ requirements and is delish, so give it a whirl!

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