Posts Tagged ‘Dates’

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Getting Fruity with Hugh

January 5, 2011

The pain of last night’s lack of sleep is still too raw (a long, dull story involving new smoke alarms that are ‘charging’. Loudly). However I did at least have Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall and his Date and Orange Cake recipe from last Saturday’s Guardian to keep me company at 4am this morning, that and my lovely new Microplane zester.

Look at it, isn’t it lovely?

The perfect Christmas gift from my brother and family it made short work of zesting the three oranges that go into this moist cake. The recipe was part of a section in the Guardian last weekend about Christmas left overs. Now, I always have dates and oranges in the house for baking purposes but I did actually have a pack of medjool dates still  in their little paper cases, bought for a Christmas treat that didn’t get eaten.

As one of the commenters on the link above noted, and as I’ve found before with Hugh’s recipes, the butter pooled out of the bottom of the tin. Luckily I had placed the tin on a baking tray so it was caught and I didn’t have to spend time scrubbing away at burnt fat on the base of the oven (that would not have improved my day). I would try reducing the butter, to 250g perhaps, but I also wonder if it’s the nuts in the cake that makes it less absorbent especially as these were pulsed from whole blanched almonds so were coarser than pre-ground almonds – of course that’s still reason to reduce the butter should you wish.

I kept the pieces of dates fairly large as they were deliciously moist but have to confess I had only the smallest of tastes of the finished cake from one small section that had stuck to the base where the parchment had come loose. I took the finished cake into work, let it be known it was in the kitchen, and in no time it was gone.

I was fairly sure, in that post-Christmas time of abstinence a rich cake such as this would’ve been nibbled in thin slivers or shunned entirely leaving me time to taste, but it went before I could cut a slice. It went  down well though. Perhaps if you make it you could let me know what you think?

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My Kind of Cake

August 7, 2009

Despite my love of baking, given the choice I would opt for savoury end of the baked goods spectrum. When I visited Betty’s Tearooms in York earlier in the year it was the fruit cake with Wenslydale that jumped out at me rather than the display of sweet patisserie. When I saw the photo of this cake made by Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe I immediately thought that this is my kind of cake. Plus, I had all the ingredients to hand.

Johanna is based in Melbourne where it’s winter, so this moist, dense fruit filled cake must make for the perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea on a chilly afternoon. The seemingly constant wet weather here meant it didn’t feel too odd to be making such an autumnal dish at what’s supposed to be the height of summer.

Johanna had adapted the original recipe by changing caster sugar to demerara and substituted some of the plain flour for wholemeal. I added a tea spoon of mixed spice and next time I make it (which will be soon) I will try the addition of a handful of walnuts.

Apple and date cake

2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks

1 cup (155g) pitted dated, chopped

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 cup boiling water

125g unsalted butter

1 cup (250g) raw sugar (demerara)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup (155g) plain white flour

½ cup (77g) plain wholemeal flour

1 tsp mixed spice

Topping:

60g unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tablespoons milk

Cover chopped dates and apples with bicarb and boiling water and set aside to cool – the wider the bowl the quicker this will be, approx 1 hour.

Beat together butter a sugar until pale and creamy add eggs and vanilla essence. Add the fruit mixture and fold in the flours in two lots

Spoon into a well greased 23cm round cake tin and bake in a preheated 180C for 45-50 minutes.

Prepare the topping about five minutes before the cake is due to come out of the oven by mixing all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved (you can also do this in the microwave). Allow the topping mixture to cool and thicken slightly before spreading over the cake.

Return the cake to the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes (it was just 15 minutes for me) test by inserting a skewer