Well, I have been "off" baking since Christmas…not because I am trying to loose weight (although…) but I haven't had any events on and it has been a lovely little break from the usual kitchen routine.
But now it's snowing and all bets are off. I need the comfort and this cake is perfect for that. It is also very good at this time of year for using up any extra fruit and nut provisions you bought in for Christmas and didn't use up. As long as you follow the weights you can substitute just about anything. The actual recipe is from Dan Lepard's column in the Guardian and was for Hazelnut and Prune Cake. I made it last year as a Date and Walnut Cake and had intended to do this again, but didn't have enough dates. So it got mixed with some prunes too.
I also have to admit that being out of practice of baking has made me a little forgetful and although there were some ground almonds waiting on the counter, I sadly omitted them. The resulting cake is delicious, so it's up to you whether you leave them on the counter too!
Here it is:
100g softened butter
75g golden syrup
100g dark brown sugar
2 medium eggs
100g of nuts, I used walnuts, but pecans or brazil would be good too, chopped
75g ground almonds, or not, that is the question!
300g dates, or prunes, or a mix of the 2, chopped
125g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp nutmeg, or mixed spice
1 tsp baking powder
Line a 7" loose bottomed cake tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan).
Sift in the flour, cocoa, spice, baking powder and ground almonds, if using.
Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth over the top. I added some extra nuts on the top, but that's up to you. Baking in the oven for 50 mins. Mine took about 10 mins longer because it was slightly wetter without the almonds. If you pierce the centre with a cocktail stick or skewer it should come out with only a few crumbs on.
Cool on a rack and enjoy with copious amounts of tea with newspapers scattered all around you…fleecy blankets are optional.