Date Honey Cake
The date honey cake I made this year is a variation on my previous honey cakes (see Classic Honey Cake, Chocolate Honey Cake, and Pomegranate Honey Cake), and also owes some lineage to Judeo-Arabic date cakes, and of course, to English sticky pudding. I used un-pitted dates because many folks think they are more flavorful, and anyway, I bought them by accident. Pitting the dates was not at all difficult after they had softened up by soaking in tea or Guinness.
This is not really a carrot cake, but I added some carrots because dates love carrots. I used sunflower seed oil for the same reason, but any oil should be fine.
Date Honey Cake
8 ounces unpitted dates (or pitted dates, why not?)
1 cup hot tea or Guinness stout
1 cup (5 ounces) palm sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) white sugar
6 cups (24 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 oranges, cores and seeds removed
1 1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 2/3 cups date syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup tahini
3 Macintosh apples, grated (about 2 cups)
2 large carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
5 ounces crystalized ginger, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
Soak the dates in hot tea or stout. When the dates are very soft, remove the stones and chop coarsely. Reserve the liquid.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
In a food processor, grind the oranges, peel and pulp together, and add oil, date syrup, vanilla and tahini.
Beat the eggs and add to the liquid ingredients.
Pour the orange-mixture into the flour mixture and begin folding gently together. Add the grated apples and carrots and chopped ginger and dates and enough of the remaining date-liquid (about half) to make a loose batter.
Pour and scrape the batter into prepared loaf-pans and/or cake pans. Bake 15 minutes at 400, 15 minutes at 375, and 15 minutes at 350. The cakes are done when a tester comes out clean and they offer mild resistance to a touch.
This recipe yielded five medium loaves and one tiny little loaf (I was inspired to start making things into tiny little loaves by my recent visits to Claire's Corner Copia, a vegetarian restaurant and cult phenomenon in New Haven).
A sweet and healthy year to all In Mol Araan.