This recipe is for fellow gardener and dear friend Trish.
It is a special cake that is made using no butter, milk or eggs. In spite of the simple ingredients, it is really delicious and moist, packed with pecans, raisins and dates. The ginger gives it a spicy lift and the orange, a citrus note to contrast the sweetness of the dates.
You can use any nuts but I have used pecans which have such a mild, sweet and buttery taste. The olive oil adds moisture and the raisins add both moisture and added sweetness.
I think that overall this lovely loaf gives great flavour for the modest ingredients and for those who may be lactose intolerant this is the cake for you.
It is perfect for afternoon tea and sliced thickly so that you can appreciate all the flavours that come through.
Spicy Date and Nut loaf
- 1 cup of dried dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Self Raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 1/4tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- zest of one orange
1. Pre heat oven to 180º C (Fan forced)
2. Line a loaf pan with baking paper
3. Finely chop the dates and pecans
4. Sift self raising flour and pinch of salt
5. In another bowl, place dates, pecans, raisins, sugar, and ginger,
6. Using your fingers, rub the mixture to separate the dates, pecans and raisins to thoroughly separate all the ingredients
7. Stir through the olive oil
8. Add the grated orange zest and vanilla extract
9. Stir through the dry mixture till thoroughly incorporated
10. Stir through the orange juice
11. Boil the water
12. Put the teaspoon of bicarb soda in a small glass and add 2 tablespoons of the boiling water to it and stir till it is melted
13. Add the bicarb mixture and boiling water to the date mixture
14. Stir well till the mixture is thoroughly combined
16. Allow it to cool a little
17. Then add small batches of the self raising flour through a sieve to the mixture and gently whisk it though to combine
18.Continue till all the flour is incorporated
19. Spoon the mixture into the lined loaf pan and tap the pan on the bench to remove any air bubbles
20. Bake in the pre heated oven for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out cleanly and the cake is well browned. Check the loaf after 30 minutes and place a sheet of aluminium foil over the pan if it is browning too quickly
21. When the cake is cooked, remove the pan and allow the loaf to cool for 5 minutes
22. When cooled cut into slices and serve plain or buttered as desired.