Mr S from time to time, goes off to play trains.....model trains....and sending him off with a box full of cake or biscuits to sustain the gang has become part of the routine. Each time I opt to bake something different.
On this occasion I wanted to bake the Date and Walnut Loaf recipe which I had devised many years ago for a baking category for the Autumn Shows of two gardening clubs. It was always a hit, and many people entered the standard recipe, and said that they had baked it many times since. I just couldn't find it...having spent nearly two hours trying to find it, and finding other things I didn't know I had misplaced, gave up, and felt rather despondent. (Today I have found the recipe by trawling through my computer files and finding it on the Show Schedules....)
However comparing the loaf recipe with my adaptation of a previous Date and Walnut tray-bake, they are really quite different.
This recipe inspired by one of Mary Berry's recipes, makes a large traybake. This cake is best left a day or so to mature before cutting and eating.
Mr S took a section, and I took some to share with with Alison. There was still another section left over! However each time we are cutting smaller slices......
Nut and Date Traybake
250g stoned and chopped dates...I prefer the hard dried ones for baking
50g butter, I used goat's butter, but any good butter will be fine
350 ml boiling water
2 large eggs
150g ground almonds
150g chopped walnuts...I like to lightly roast the walnuts for about 7 mins at 150 c, then soak them for a couple of hours in water, which is then drained off with water discarded.
150g dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp finely grated nutmeg, you could use another spice if you prefer, or none at all
350g wholemeal spelt flour, sifted with,
4 tsp baking powder, to mix and add air, putting all bran etc back in.
Pre heat the oven to Fan 150 c, and grease and line with parchment a 30 cm x 23 cm traybake tin. I use a deep Silverwood traybake tin a loose bottom which makes removing the cake for cooling easy.
If baking in a standard tin increase the temp to Fan 160c
Weigh the dates, chop them if necessary and put them with the butter in a bowl and pour over the boiling water, and any spice, stir, and allow this to cool...
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl then add the cooled date mixture, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well then pour carefully into the prepared tin.
Bake in the preheated oven. Test after 50 minutes. It may need a little longer, checking with a toothpick or skewer to see if it is ready. The cake should be golden brown. Allow to cool outside the oven in the tin for 15 minutes or so, then remove from the tin, and place it on a cooling rack till completely cool.
For the topping I made a simple butter cream using 100g butter, 200g icing sugar, with a little apple juice and my favourite panetone flavouring the main note being bergamot. Any topping of your choice would do.
It freezes very well, but like most cakes, best stored only for up to six weeks.