Monday, 18 February 2019

Date and Walnut Cake

On Saturday I baked  Date and Walnut Cake, a version of which I devised for the schedule for my first gardening club.  When I moved and joined another gardening club this was added to their schedule under the heading:  'Baked by a Gent'.  Baked several times over a month fefore the competition, and members told me just how much they loved this recipe, and that is was already a firm family favourite.  The chaps really were very keen, and knowing that there would be none of the usual lady members who had years of experience to worry about, threw themselves into the challenge.  My current gardening club is strictly Plants but I think I shall bake this for one of the get togethers that require is so very easy!

I had not baked this Date and Walnut Cake for years.  Other Date and Walnut tray bakes exist on this blog, but I wanted to bake something that was easy enough to carry at the bottom of my bag.  The original with a few tweeks, such as roasting of the walnuts and addition of my signature spice, is really the best of all.

Yesterday I was being treated by gardening friends to a day out: visiting another 'Garden Great'.....more about this to follow on the next post.  Of course, I love to take something as a 'Thank you and  shall we share'.

I like to bake this in a '2lb Loaf Tin'....strange that we have had grams yet baking tins are still measured this way, and always line my tins with baking parchment for cakes.  Preheat the oven  to 160 C, and reduce this to 150 C after ten minutes, for an electric fan oven.

200g Dates chopped, the hard dried ones for baking
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch of salt
280ml boiling water

Put all of these in a bowl, and continue to prepare the rest of the ingredients as this stand cooling

60g walnuts kernels...which are gently roasted, at about 150 c for 5-7 minutes, chop coarsely when cool

250g self raising flower    flour, sifted with
1 tsp ground Mace
110g butter, I use goat's butter, but cow's butter will do fine

Rub the fat into the flour/spice to fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the chopped walnuts

110g light Muscovado sugar...only the best such as Billington's should be sifted over the flour butter mixture, to ensure there are no lumps, and this also helps distribute the sugar evenly when it is folded in now.

To the above, fold in the cooled to around 35 C Dates and Water, and

1 Large Egg

Carefully move to your lined tin, and sprinkle the top liberally with Demerara Sugar

Bake in the oven, watching carefully for around 1 Hr  15 Minutes. It should not catch so cover with baking parchment if necessary.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then remove but keep the paper on to continue cooling on a rack.  Remove paper only when completely cold.  Wrap in foil for transporting or freezing.

We all loved the cake, and I was impressed that John asked which spice was in the cake as he could not exactly work it out.  I was also flattered when he asked for the recipe, so here it is....enjoy!

After coffee and cake, John and his lovely two dogs lead us out to look at some of the many beauties in the garden.  I had visited previously in June of 2015, and as I love gardens in Spring really enjoyed seeing John's garden at this time of the year.

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