As a break from monotonous label sewing (I really could do with an intern right now), I needed something to stop myself from going slightly mad.
I have an abundant supply of mini bananas that desperately need eating so I decided to incorporate them into a date & walnut cake. I absolutely adore dates & bananas, especially cooked in porridge when they turn sweet & fudgey…
I ended up amalgamating a couple of recipes together & was undecided if I should follow instructions for banana cake or date & walnut cake. I decided on adapting the later, reducing the sugar & fat content. This cake uses the natural sweetness from the fresh & dried fruit so doesn’t need a lot of refined sugar. I used a teaspoon of molasses & golden syrup to help bind the batter & it also added slight treacle richness to the loaf.
I just so happened to have some oolong tea left in the teapot so I decided to soak my dates & dried barberries in this. I used a high-grade tea with a slight banana aroma to it so I thought it quite fitting. I think earl grey would work well too.
After changing the recipe to this extreme I was anxious to how it would turn out. The batter was far wetter than originally stated so I baked it for a further 30mins. I had the will power to leave this cake untouched to mature overnight, although I have to admit I enjoyed a slice for breakfast.
Date, walnut & banana cake (gluten free)
½ cup chopped dates
3 tbsp dried barberries or dried cranberries
¾ cup hot tea (or hot water)
½ cup rice flour
½ cup maize meal
¼ cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, peeled & grated
1 cup banana, mashed
3 tbsp melted margarine or oil
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp golden syrup
1 large banana (or 3 mini bananas) thinly sliced
- Place the dates & dried barberries (or cranberries) in a bowl & pour over the hot tea. Leave to soak for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven 200C/400F/Gas mark 6
- In a large bowl, combine together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda & mixed spices. In a separate bowl, combine the grated apple, mashed banana, egg, melted margarine, molasses & golden syrup. Add in the dry ingredients & stir until well combined. Mix in the nuts.
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin & bake for 40mins. Take out the oven & scatter over the chopped bananas. Bake for a further 30mins.
- Remove from the oven & using a chopstick or skewer, poke 10-15 holes into the loaf. Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of golden syrup into the holes. Return to the oven for an additional 10mins at gas mark 4.
- Allow to cool before removing from the tin. Cool completely before serving.