As a kid, I was never a fan of dates. My mom would literally shove them into my mouth because the doc told her it would improve my hemoglobin count. It’s just that even for someone like me, with an unwavering appetite for sweet food, dates are excessively sweet.
Though, one day, I was forced to share date pancakes with a friend at a Chinese restaurant while my heart was constantly beating for honeyed noodles with vanilla ice cream otherwise known as darsan. And somehow, after that day, I fell in love with the idea of complementing desserts with dates.
I feel that dates work well with cakes and tea breads because the other flavour components balance the jaw aching sweetness that dates can exude while consumed individually.
There is not a smidgen of light coloured ingredient in this tea cake (except the flour and butter) and as a result, you get this lovely, deep chestnut coloured loaf. Even if you are a coffee person, I would advise you to have a sliver of this cake with tea; pairing it with anything else would be a crime or the English grannies might curse you!
- 225 g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp grounded cinnamon
- 150 ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 110 g unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
- 150 g dates, deseeded and chopped
- 100 g walnuts, chopped
- Butter and line a 1 kg loaf tin with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and grounded cinnamon.
- In a saucepan melt butter, golden syrup and dark brown sugar together. Allow it to cool.
- Once cool, add milk and eggs. Whisk to combine. Do not add the eggs while the butter mixture is still hot, they will scramble.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold gently. Finally, add the chopped walnuts and dates.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 ½ hours until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.