Before I get into this week’s recipe, let me just say that this cake can be made with dates, it is a date and walnut loaf after all, it is just that I had other ingredients to hand!
A couple of months ago I made frequent trips into the hills to collect walnuts. Walnut trees are common here and grow along many of the waterways. Although people do collect the nuts here, it tends to be just from the trees nearest to the village and many that are further out are relatively untouched. It should also be said that I manage to get quite a few nuts from the closer trees too, you see I have a height advantage and can easily get to relatively inaccessible ones. I saw them sitting there in the storeroom and thought that it was about time I did something with them.
On the opposite side to the walnuts I saw a jar of dried figs and I had the idea to make a fig and walnut loaf. The figs were ones I had dried a couple of months back. I built a fruit and vegetable drier a couple of years ago. It is just a wooden framework with fine mesh sides and top but it works just fine. The mesh allows the air to circulate without insects getting in and I just leave it sat in the sun until the produce inside are thoroughly dried. I could have dried them in an oven, but the sunlight is free!
I wanted to make a strong flavoured loaf with natural flavourings, so I chose to use a good quantity of honey as well as a couple of spices to give it that flavour boost. I hope you like it:
A Not Quite “Classic Date and Walnut Loaf”
Make one 2lb loaf (About 22cm by 12cm and about 8cm deep)
150g Dried figs
160g Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
190ml Sunflower oil
130g Brown sugar
90g Honey (65ml)
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Walnuts
Cover the figs with boiling water to soften them up.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
In one bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
In a second bowl beat together the wet ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones.
Chop the walnuts and the figs and mix into the cake batter.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
A simple recipe but if you are looking for a flavour packed cake this is the one for you. As I said at the top you can use dates instead of the figs, or indeed try it with any other dried fruit you have handy. Let me know how you get on!
2015 Lincoln W. Betteridge