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.
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.