Date Cake – Super Moist And Full Of Flavours!

This melt in the mouth date cake with full of flavours is a perfect teatime treat! You could even pack daintily cut pieces of this cake and store in a plastic box and take it on a picnic.

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! 

With all the tips and techniques given nothing can go wrong.

I use Stork spread, specially 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 tub of good quality margarine or spread which gives a lighter and airier texture to the final product.  I got this tip from Marry Berry, the most respected cookery writer in the UK, who has never let me down.

You need the following ingredients;

Good quality wet dates250 g
Margarine or spread250 g
Caster sugar250 g
Self – raising flour (Plain flour could be used if SRF is not available)250 g
Eggs4
Plain tea bags2
Salt2 pinches
Baking powder1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda1 tsp
Juice of lemon2 tsp
Boiling Water 

 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
  • 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

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.

Oven temp conversion chart at

http://happyrecipes.co.uk/oven-temperature-conversion/

Cream it

  • 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

Tray it

  • 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

Oven it

  • Place the tray in the middle of 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.

Enjoy

  • 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

Tips:

  • 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 tastes best the next day

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