|Cut into squares so that each one has a covered date on top...|
Lately I've been cooking a lot with dates as there seem to be lots of bargains in my local Asian shops; Iranian date syrup, the usual Tunisian dried dates and even some really delicious boxes of "fresh" dates (I think they're actually semidried or else a drier variety). It was the fresh dates that I used in this cake. Dates are a good source of iron, and generally a health-giving food, unlike refined sugars; watch out for my Ingredient of the Month in November for more info. on dates and nutrition.
400g self-raising flour
3-4 tabs carob powder
4 tsps baking powder
175g chopped fresh dates and chopped walnuts
400ml soya milk
150ml organic cold-pressed sunflower oil (the distinctive flavour goes well with the dates)
100ml each of date syrup and Sweet Freedom syrup (which also contains carob- if you can't get it, perhaps you could use a thick fruit concentrate or all date syrup)
More date syrup and carob powder for the topping
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
- Beat all the wet ingredients together in a separate container until you have a coffee-coloured liquid and the syrup is thoroughly mixed in with the oil and milk
- Beat the wet mix into the dry mix and pout into an oiled and floured cake tin/ dampened silicone cake mould
- Bake at 180C for about 25 minutes; you can test if it's done by inserting a thin skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is baked.
- While the cake is baking, stone 9 or 10 dried or fresh dates and coat them in melted chocolate/ carob. (I put mine in the freezer to set them quickly.)
- Mix enough date syrup with carob powder to form a sticky, slightly runny paste that you can spread over the top of the cake. Then sit the covered dates on the top.