17th May 2012
Looking through the cupboard I came across the bag of dates I had bought for another recipe, after eating a few, I decided to flick through ‘The Bible’ to see if there were any more recipes that included dates. Very quickly I came across this one. A quick look through the list and a check in the cupboards and it appeared I had all the ingredients required.
Yet again it was late afternoon before I started baking, so dinner may be a few minutes late – again! From reading through the recipe I could see that preparation was going to be the most time consuming in this recipe. Once this was done it would be easy and quick!
The oven was put on and a 2lb loaf tin was greased and the bottom lined.
First of all the dates had to be roughly chopped. Instead of chopping them with a knife I decided to snip them up with scissors as they had to be put into a bowl of boiling water. It’s surprising how long it takes to chop up 150g of dates – nearly 10 minutes! The dates were happily soaking in the water so it was onto the next step, the chocolate had to be broken up and put in a bowl together with the butter. This was then melted gently over a pan of simmering water. Next it was onto the Brazil nuts. These had to be roughly chopped. Again, not something you can do quickly, the nuts were going everywhere – more concerning was the amount of bowls I was using for all the ingredients – I was definitely not looking forward to the washing up afterwards!
By this time I realised it was nearly 5pm, so it was off with my apron and into the car to pick my son up from athletics. A long wait for him to come back from the track, so it was nearly 5.30pm by the time I returned to baking. I hope the dates were OK, they were to soak for 30 minutes and had by this time been soaking for nearly an hour – they looked disgusting having absorbed a lot of the water – a mushy mess indeed.
Right, onto the dry ingredients – into a bowl went the flour, caster sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. These were stirred through to mix them together. In another bowl went the egg and milk, which were lightly beaten and then added to the dry mixture. This was beaten together with a wooden spoon, quite a thick mixture by now. Into this went the Brazil nuts (keeping a couple of tablespoons back), together with the mushy mess (dates!!) and their soaking liquid and the melted chocolate mixture (which amazingly was still warm after all this time). These too were beaten in.
Mary says to spoon the mixture into a tin, I was able to pour mine in it was a very thick batter by now and needed no levelling out once in the tin. The reserved Brazil nuts were sprinkled over the top, together with some demerara sugar.
Into the oven it went for one and a quarter hours, at this point a skewer came out clean when put into the middle of the cake. It had indeed risen, well above the top of the loaf tin and did indeed look very ‘loaf’ like. Once out of the oven it was left to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turned out onto a cooling rack. Whilst turning it out quite a few of the Brazil nuts fell off the top of the loaf!
This was a flavoursome cake, not too sure about the Brazil nuts in it though (perhaps slightly less would have been better). Texture wise it was lovely and as Mary says the dates do give the cake a lovely toffee flavour.