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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Mini Vegan/GF Fruit-Sweetened Irish Soda Bread (Vegan, GF, Fruit-Sweetened, Yeast-Free)

I finally got around to this recipe!! The long-awaited Irish Soda Bread recipe is here! How could this possibly get any better? It's vegan, gluten-free, fruit-sweetened, and yeast-free, and I created a recipe for a Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread to go with it. Annnd it's MINI! (Not personal Irish soda bread size, but think smaller than the typical full-size loaf). As you see from the pictures, I originally created both a savory vegan spinach cheddar Irish Soda Bread and a traditional sweet one to make this recipe 2 ways, but the savory one didn't turn out, so I just went with the sweet one. However, I am working on perfecting the savory soda bread for future reference. This bread is crusty and hard on the outside with a moist, dense inside and is lightly sweet, hearty, and loaded with raisins and chunks of dates. And that Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread is just delectable on top of a slice of this bread. Get ready to experience Irish Soda Bread in a whole new way.




I (think) this will be my last St. Paddy's Day recipe for this year (QUITE belated, at that). But my Soda Bread is finally here!


It's a nice sweet treat that isn't too sweet and perfect if you're craving a mildly flavored yet pleasant and wholesome goodie. Definitely a must-try if you like a less sweet soda bread.


I took the traditional key ingredients for Irish soda bread (buttermilk, flour, eggs, baking soda, salt, dried fruit) and Dimpled Date-ified them: vegan "buttermilk," GF flour, flax eggs, unsweetened dried fruit, etc. So this a pretty traditional recipe for soda bread, but it's just made with substitutes.




This Irish Soda Bread, as previously mentioned, is vegan, gluten-free, fruit-sweetened, and yeast-free (baking soda is the leavening agent here). It can also be made both nut- and coconut-free. This soda bread is perfect as a healthy dessert, snack, or breakfast bread (with a serving of fresh fruit), and I guarantee this soda bread is sweeter than the other vegan/GF/refined sugar free recipes you'll find out there (even though it's sweetened completely with fruit!).


Moist, dense, and adequately sweet if you're a soda bread lover, you'll love this bread. Even if you like your soda bread more sweet, you can always add a schmear of the Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread which brings the sweetness and flavor up a notch (and the cinnamon spread pairs perfectly with the raisins in the bread!).



This size loaf is just right if you want a soda bread that you can share without having too many leftovers. Also, please note: this bread stays good at room temp for only 2 days, and I don't recommend refrigerating it after that because it gets exceedingly dry in the fridge. So really you have 2 days to enjoy this bread. I recommend serving this bread if you have family, several friends, or a small crowd coming over to ensure you get through the bread.


Also, as far as the dried/fresh fruits go that you can add in to this bread, I highly recommend unsweetened raisins (dark or white), chopped fresh dates, unsweetened dried cranberries, and/or finely chopped unsweetened prunes. My go-to combo is dark raisins + chopped Medjool dates.


Tbh before I made this recipe, it had been a while since I had tried Irish soda bread, so I had forgotten if I liked it. I took one bite of this soda bread (healthy soda bread, mind you) and instantaneously fell in love with it all over again. My Mom (who is where my Irish heritage comes from) jokes that she's never met someone who's Irish or has Irish heritage who doesn't like soda bread, and so far that's held true based on everyone I know who's Irish.





Substitutions


For the plant milk, you can't substitute it because along with the acid (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) it forms the vegan "buttermilk" which is a key ingredient in soda bread. But you may use whatever kind of unsweetened plant milk you wish. Use unsweetened nut-free & coconut-free plant milks such as oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk, etc. if need be. For the acid in the vegan "buttermilk," you can use either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. For the 1-to-1 gluten-free flour, you can sub gluten-free all-purpose flour, or I bet you could even get away with gluten-free self-rising flour (this might yield a fluffier texture). I don't have any other flour substitution recommendations because these types of flour are best for that soda bread texture.


Technically speaking, the date sugar can be replaced with coconut sugar OR maple sugar, but in both of those cases this soda bread will no longer be fruit-sweetened. Alternately, you can use half the amount of date sugar or leave out the sweetener and just use the dried fruit folded into the bread for a less sweet bread (I highly recommend the sweetener though because it tastes more like traditional soda bread that way). The flax egg can be substituted with 1/2 chia egg per single batch OR 1 1/2 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine) per single batch. The baking powder and baking soda are ABSOLUTELY necessary for this soda bread, as they are the only leavening agents/leaveners. They cannot be replaced. The sea salt can be substituted with table salt, or technically can be omitted (I still recommend it though). You might be able to substitute the vegan butter with cold coconut oil (pop in the fridge for 30 min, then cube before adding to dry ingredients). But PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE NOT tried this recipe with coconut oil and therefore CANNOT guarantee the same results. If you tried this recipe with coconut oil, let me know how it turned out in the comments!


As previously mentioned, any type of dried fruit would work for folding into the bread, such as unsweetened raisins (dark or white), chopped dates, unsweetened dried cranberries, and/or finely chopped unsweetened prunes. My go-to combo is dark raisins + chopped Medjool dates, but use whatever your heart desires. Also, for non-traditional soda bread add-ins, you could add some of my Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate, chopped, sunflower seeds or your nuts/seeds of choice (chopped as need be), oats, and/or untraditional dried fruits, such as chopped unsweetened/unsulphured dried apricots. As far as greasing the pan goes for baking the soda bread in goes, you can use vegan butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil (in spray or oil form).


For the Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread, you can use any kind of vegan butter (use soy-free or nut-free as needed). The date sugar can be replaced with maple sugar or coconut sugar. And for the cinnamon, you may use either cassia cinnamon (the kind found in stores) or Ceylon ("true") cinnamon. Alternately, you can omit the cinnamon for a simple "sugar" butter spread.



Want A Lil Sneak Peek?


Here's a sneak preview of one new recipe coming to The Dimpled Date ASAP:


-Spumoni Ice Cream! (BOY OH BOY this ice cream is crazy good!!)


Coming soon...


For now,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Mini Vegan/GF Fruit-Sweetened Irish Soda Bread (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Fruit-Sweetened, Yeast-Free, Nut-Free Option)


Prep Time: 20 minutes (including making the Cinnamon "Sugar" Spread)

Cook Time: 45 to 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: one 6" mini loaf


Ingredients (soda bread):


-14 Tbsp // 7 oz unsweetened plant milk (use nut-free/coconut-free as needed)

-1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice

-2 cups 2 Tbsp // 330 grams gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (can sub GF all-purpose flour)

-2 Tbsp // 30 grams date sugar (made from dried & ground dates, NOT palm sugar)

-1/2 flax egg

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-2 1/2 Tbsp vegan butter, cold & cubed (such as Earth Balance or Miyoko's // use soy-free/nut-free as needed)

-1/4 cup unsweetened raisins (red or white) OR unsweetened dried cranberries OR unsweetened dried fruit of choice

-1/4 cup finely chopped dates


Ingredients (Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread // optional):


-1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance or Miyoko's // use soy-free/nut-free as needed), softened

-1/4 cup date sugar (made from dried & ground dates, NOT palm sugar)

-1 tsp cinnamon


For greasing pan/cake ring/dish:


-coconut oil/vegan butter/avocado oil spray OR avocado oil


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 6" round cake pan, cake ring, or pie dish. If using a cake ring, place on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Alternatively, you can bake the soda bread directly on top of a lined baking sheet, but it will spread more.


2. Make sure you've made the 1/2 flax egg, chopped the dates, and juiced the lemon (if using lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar).


3. Make the vegan "buttermilk": mix together the plant milk and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.


4. Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients (GF 1-to-1 baking flour, date sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt). Set aside.


5. Whisk together the "buttermilk" mixture and the flax egg. Set aside.


6. Cut in the cold & cubed vegan butter into the dry ingredients until the vegan butter is at least pea-sized crumbs (or smaller).


7. Add the buttermilk/flax egg mixture and stir in.


8. Fold in the dried fruit(s) and chopped dates and any other add-ins you want to use.


9. Transfer the dough to a cutting board or well-floured surface. Form a ball with the dough and knead until moistened, 30 seconds. Use extra flour if it gets too sticky.


10. Transfer dough to prepared pan/ring/dish or simply place on the lined baking sheet.


11. Score a 1/2" deep "X" on the top of the bread using a sharp knife.


12. Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom, fragrant, and the bread peeking through the scored "X" looks well-baked.


13. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or serving dish/plate.


14. Make the (optional) Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter Spread: soften the vegan butter in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds. Beat the vegan butter using a hand mixer or stand mixer until creamy, 3 minutes. Then whip on high for 1 to 2 minutes until fluffier. Add the date sugar and cinnamon and mix on a low speed until just incorporated, 30 seconds. Taste the spread. If it's too concentrated, whip on a higher speed setting for 1 minute, then taste again (I only add this because date sugar varies drastically in concentration from brand to brand). Refrigerate the spread if you like it firmer.


15. Slice into the bread using a serrated knife or bread knife, using a sawing motion to cut through the crusty exterior. Spread a schmear of the Whipped Cinnamon "Sugar" Butter on top if desired and serve. Serve with Irish coffee, breakfast tea, or Earl Grey tea. Enjoy! Happy St. Paddy's!


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