This super-moist, melt in the mouth date cake is a perfect teatime treat or if you are going on a trip with your family or friends, cut the cake daintily into squares and neatly arrange them in an airtight plastic box and take it with you. The delight of those who eat the cakes will make you swell with pride and joy.
In my effort to create the family favourite classic date cake that my mum used to make, I stumbled upon an ‘aha’ moment to reproduce the same with less time and effort. In the process, I observed that dates could be boiled to soften in minutes rather than the traditional way of soaking them overnight. Hence, the date pulp will be ready in just a matter of 10 mins and you can proceed to make the cake right away! Super easy! You can even make it and eat it on the same day ! However, it will taste more flavourful and soft in the next day.
With all the tips and techniques given nothing can go wrong.
I use Stork spread, especially made for cakes for this recipe. Using butter is not a wise option as the cake can go too lumpy or dense. For any cake, I recommend a good quality margerine or spread which gives a lighter and more airy texure to the final product. I got this tip from Marry Berry, in my opinion, the most respected cookery writer in the UK, who has never let me down.
You need the following ingredients;
|Good quality dates||250 g|
|Margerine or spread||250 g|
|Caster sugar||250 g|
|Self raising flour (Plain flour could be used if SRF is not available)||250 g|
|Plain tea bags||2|
|Baking powder||1 tsp|
|Bicarbonate of soda||1 tsp|
|Juice of lemon||2 tsp|
Let’s get started:
Prepare the date pulp.
(Traditionally, this is done by soaking the dates overnight with a combination of hot water, plain tea bags and bicarb. I invented a quicker and much easier method to make the same quality date pulp, in just 10-15min by boiling it which made the whole process easy and less cumbersome. (Interestingly, the idea of dropping tea bags into this, is purely to get a nice dark brown colour.)
Gather the following;
- Good quality dates – 250 g
- Plain tea bags – 2
- Bicarb – 1 tsp
- Water to fill up to the level of dates
Let’s make it;
- Wash the dates thoroughly
- Remove the stem parts and deston
- place in a deep- bottom pan and fill with water just a little above the level of dates
- Drop the tea bags, cover and boil until the water is down to the bottom of the pan and the dates are soft
- Mix 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the pot, mix well
- Boil for further 2/3 mins
- Take out from the flame and let the dates cool off completely
- Squeeze the tea bags and remove them
- Your date pulp is ready
Let’s get on with the cake now
- Pre heat the oven to 180C .
Oven temp conversion chart at http://happyrecipes.co.uk/oven-temperature-conversion/
- Beat sugar and butter together for about 2 mins or until creamy, using an electric hand mixer
- Add eggs one at a time, beat for 15 seconds after each addition
- Now add the date pulp and beat for 1 min until everything comes into a watery batter
- Add lemon juice, vanilla and salt
- Next, mix baking powder with flour and sieve it on to the batter
- Gently fold the flour with a wooden spoon until everything comes to a creamy batter
- Line up a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the batter in
- Lift the tray up and gently drop to the surface to let the air bubbles escape and the batter to spread and settle evenly
- Place the tray in the middle or the bottom shelf of the oven
- Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when stabbed in the middle of the cake. If the skewer comes out sticky, leave the cake a few mins more in the oven.
- Take the cake out of the oven and let the cake rest for 5 mins
- Gently, remove from the tray and let it cool on a wire rack
- Dip a knife in hot water before slicing the cake to avoid it from crumbling
- Always opt for the best quality wet dates for a flavourful cake
- Never open the oven door during the first 10mins of baking
- This cake taste best on the next day