Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow day baking - Irish Date and Walnut Loaf baked as a cake!

It's a beautiful soft snow day here in Maine - the snow is falling quite heavily and consistently but it is not windy or frigid which makes it all that much prettier and more enjoyable to take a walk, snap some pics and come back to a crackling fire in the wood stove and bake a nice homey cake with St. Patrick's Day in mind. The recipe is from my trusty little book 

This is a lovely, simple and easy cake or loaf to make by the 'melting' method - the dates make it moist and the tea adds that lovely deep flavour and colour. 

Let's get baking shall we?
INGREDIENTS: Avail yourself of the following - this is for one loaf in a one pound tin or a small cake in a 6" diameter cake pan - the recipe can be doubled for a bigger cake or, obviously, two loaves - this cake gets eaten very quickly so you may want to go right ahead and make the double amount. 


4oz/ 110g/ 1/2 cup mounded chopped dates medjool or deglet noor

4fl oz/125ml/1/2 cup boiling water OR same amount of good strong tea

2oz/1/2 stick salted butter

2oz walnuts - toasted for about 3 minutes in a 325F oven - keep your eye on them - they catch quickly - cooled and broken into small pieces

4oz/125g/1/2 cup sugar

5oz/140g/1 1/4 cups white flour unbleached

1 egg beaten

1/2 teaspoon baking soda/bicarb

1 tablespoon milk

METHOD: Pre heat oven to 200C/350F

1. Soak the chopped dates in the boiling water or tea (the tea adds a lovely complex flavour) in a large pan so the dates are in one layer, for 15 minutes.

2. Add the butter and allow to melt.
3. Allow to cool, then add the chopped walnuts, beaten egg, sugar and flour and stir well.

4. While mix is cooling using either a 1lb loaf tin or a small cake pan - mine is 6" diameter - grease and line with parchment/greaseproof paper:
5. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and add to the batter and stir well until all is blended.
6. Pour batter into chosen tin and bake for about 45 minutes - then cover the tin with aluminum foil and bake for a further 15 minutes - until a toothpick/skewer comes out of the cake clean.

7. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then take out of the pan and put onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I've already made 2 of these cakes and both times the top cracked - but I am not worried about that - the taste is what I'm concerned about - and that taste is GOOD!!!
 This is one of those cakes/loaf that taste better the next day so if you manage it don't eat the day of baking, hold off until the next day then find yourself some nice softened butter, slather a slice with such, get a good hot strong cup of tea and watch the snow fall gently outside :)
If you happen to be interested the blue design is my Blue Rhapsody pattern available as napkins from CafePress here: NAPKINS
Happy Baking and do enjoy the snow if you're in Maine:)

Here are links to my Saint Patrick's Day designs at CafePress - with and without the Gaelic phrase for "Friends Forever"
You can buy items with my design and the Gaelic phrase HERE
You can buy items with my design and no lettering HERE
Thank you!! Happy Baking!

This blogpost is part of the Buttercream Bakehouse Saint Patrick's Day bloghop
buttercream Bakehouse

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June said...


Right, so. Seeing as it's a wee bit snowy here, and also seeing as we've just run out of central heating oil, we've gotten the turf briquettes into the wood-burning stoves and to further warm us up this evening, I've got all the ingredients for this gorgeous loaf and will get to baking just as soon as I hit the 'publish' button for this to reach you.

You're right - it doesn't matter about the 'cracks' on the top of it. That kinda makes it more 'real' and authentic and hearth-and-home, in my book. And I know it was delicious - just look at those gorgeous photos of it!

Speaking of photos, your Blue Rhapsody patterned napkin is truly lovely, Patricia. That'd also make a stunning table cloth. Did you design the plate, as well? So inviting and comfy/cozy/winter warming - a gorgeous slice of that loaf and a cuppa, on that plate, with that pattern for a table cloth on a quiet, sleepy, cold and snowy but beautiful Sunday in Maine. Bliss!

Thanks for inspiring me today, Patricia.
Slan go foill - June

Patricia said...

So glad to hear you'll be baking this June - it's yummy and not too sweet! It's still snowing here - 10" later!! Yes I did design the plate too - many a moon ago for International China - it was the very first design I got to see in 'print' on tableware. Thanks for the compliments on the napkins - happy baking, Patricia xx PS Could you end some of that peat perfume over in a bottle for me - one of the very best smells in the world!!!

dyan said...

This looks delicious Patricia...few ingredients and NO kneeding! I'm going to make it and follow your instructions for enjoying it with a cuppa. The golden-brown of the loaf looks lovely against your blue napkins too.


Anonymous said...

tried this recipe and it turned out great! fed it to people who had an aversion to dates and they scarfed it down in minutes :) thank you!

Patricia said...

Thanks for letting me know Anonymous - glad to hear you all enjoyed the cake - happy baking, Patricia