About this recipe:This old-fashioned favourite is proof that you don’t need to invent new recipes in order to eat healthily. Despite being very low in fat it has a lovely light, moist texture, thanks to the dried dates, and makes a pleasant alternative to a conventional fruited cake. It’s delightfully easy to make, and keeps well too.
200 g (7 oz) stoned dried dates, chopped
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
240 ml (8 fl oz) boiling water
140 g (5 oz) light muscovado sugar
280 g (10 oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground mixed spice
pinch of salt
115 g (4 oz) walnuts, chopped
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Place the dates in a bowl with the butter and bicarbonate of soda. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Lightly grease an 18 cm (7 in) round deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat well to combine. Add the cooled date mixture, then sift in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt. Add the walnuts and stir together until thoroughly mixed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for 1–1 1/4 hours or until the cake is risen and nicely browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. The cake can be kept, wrapped in foil or stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
I made this today and am so pleased with the result! I chopped the walnuts very finely and had to use ginger as had no mixed spice, but it tastes delicious and the texture is lovely. I have a fan oven and it was baked within the hour so keep a close eye on it. Thank you - 01 Apr 2012