“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.”
~ William Cowper
What am I doing this morning? Well, as soon as this blog is done I’ll be making a nice cup of tea, cutting myself a slice of this cake and sitting down with my journal for an hour or so. Today is a powerful time for dreaming, planning, birthing and manifesting our heart’s desires into the world, riding on the back of this incredible new moon and solar eclipse energy. If you can find some time today, I highly encourage you to take a little time too to envision your dream life, and what you most want to be, do and create in the world over the coming years.
But I digress. Back to cake!
This cake is a firm favourite in our household. It’s easy to whip up, using just one saucepan and a wooden spoon. The cake can be made with traditional or gluten-free flour, both with great results. You can enjoy this cake eaten warm as a dessert, or cold as a proper cake. It has great keeping qualities, and most importantly, it is divine with a cup of tea or coffee.
The cake begins as a light, fluffy creation when first made, but over the ensuing days becomes heavier, and it will keep for about a week. I often serve it sliced and buttered for smoko at the farm.
I sometimes ice this cake with a lemon icing too. That was my intention when I made this one, as our niece was coming to visit for a few days and I wanted to surprise her with something a bit special.
But yesterday, with the cake just out of the oven and the whole house smelling of spice and sugar, the local excavator operator and his off-sider called in to say hello and have a cuppa. And then the energex workers who were working down on the river flats clearing trees from under our power lines turned up too. Result? Cake demolished, with no time to turn it into something pretty.
1 cup of pitted dried dates, 1/2 cup crystalised ginger, 1/2 cup walnuts, 125 grams (1/2 cup) of butter, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 cup of cold tea (your favourite black or herbal ginger is fine. I usually use French Earl Grey but it’s fun to experiment), 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger, 1 large egg – beaten, 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising/all purpose flour or your preferred self-raising/all purpose gluten-free flour mix.
Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a deep 9 inch/22 centimetre round or an 8 inch/20 centimetre square tin by lining it with baking paper.
Chop the dates and walnuts into small pieces, and chop the ginger quite finely. It tastes better and gives the cake a better texture having the ginger in smaller pieces.
Place the dates, chopped ginger, butter, salt, sugar and tea in a large saucepan. Trust me – use a largish one as this will eventually become the cake mixing bowl. Isn’t it lovely when you save on washing up!
Place over medium heat and bring to a strong boil, stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks. Turn off heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Add in the bi-carb soda. This will make the mixture foam – don’t panic – it’s perfectly normal. Stir well, and then place aside to cool down some more.
When the mixture is cool enough that you can comfortably stick your finger in, toss in the walnuts then sift in the flour and ginger. Stir well with a wooden spoon and then add the beaten egg and stir through gently to combine.
Spoon into the prepared tin. Eat the rest of the batter stuck to sides of saucepan. Yum! :)
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cake is baked when it springs back when lightly pressed in the centre or when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
And with messy slatherings of butter for the second offering, after the hungry workers ate the first plate of cake in 2.5 minutes flat! Cake now cool enough that butter didn’t slide off. LOL! (Butter looks very pale here – it was freshly churned a few hours before by a neighbour and was DELICIOUS!!!)
And if you do want to get fancy and use a lemon icing on it, there’s a good recipe here, with the outstandingly good Lemon Slice recipe.