Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la ….. and all that. I chose dates for the December challenge because they seemed suitably festive, but oh what to make? Should I stuff madjool dates with walnuts and dip them in chocolate, make a cake, biscuits, cupcakes or those wonderful date slices I’ve been coveting since first seeing them on Suelle’s blog? I know, I’ll make all of those – hmmmm. Reality set in and I realised I had very few non working days before Christmas and rather too much to do. So, I’ve gone for a cake and if I have time I might have a go at some of the others.
Again, it was a cake I’d seen on Mainly Baking that inspired this one, Dan Lepard’s Hazenut Prune Cake. I was initially going to substitute the dates for the prunes and try and follow the recipe to the letter. As it happened, I had some walnuts that really needed using up, so it turned into something different again. I substituted the nutmeg for mace and added some orange for an extra festive note. The mix itself, I found rather too dry, so I also added some orange juice. Having made some candied orange peel, which I will blog about at some future date, I had quite a bit of orange syrup going free to a good home – a good home was found. And finally, I wanted to make the cake more chocolatey, it is after all a chocolate challenge – a datey chocolate ganache found its way onto the top of the cake. So once again, my version bares little resemblance to the original, but it’s the inspiration that counts. I’ll stop this stream of consciousness now and get on with the recipe.
- Creamed together 100g unsalted butter with 100g dark muscovado sugar and 1 heaped tbsp of golden syrup until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs, one after the other and the zest of 1 orange.
- Sifted in 125g flour (100g wholemeal, 25g white), 1 tsp baking powder, a pinch of bicarb of soda, 1/2 tsp ground mace and 1 tbsp cocoa.
- Stirred in the juice of 1 orange.
- Mixed n 300g chopped dates and 100g chopped walnuts.
- Spooned into a 23cm silicone mould and smoothed the top down.
- Baked at 180C for 35 minutes.
- Whilst cake was hot, poured over 3-4 tbsp of orange syrup left over from making candied orange peel, then left to cool.
- Melted 100g chocolate (50g milk & 50g Maya Gold), 25g unsalted butter, 2 tbsp date syrup and 1 tbsp orange syrup.
- Stirred until smooth(ish) – couldn’t actually get the milk to melt properly so don’t look too closely as there are a few lumps 😉
- Spread over the top of the cake.
- Decorated with candied orange peel.
PS – this cake was not only moist and very tasty but kept well for weeks.