date and almond cake with salted caramel drizzle


I've had my copy of the Flour and Stone cookbook by Nadine Ingram for some time but it's been ages since I last baked anything from the book. Whilst perusing the pages this recipe for a date and almond cake caught my eye. It's essentially an updated version of sticky toffee pudding but in cake form.
Apart from the fresh dates (I'm sure dried dates would work out just fine) and thyme leaves, I had everything else in the pantry or the fridge. I made the date puree and ground the almonds ahead of time, so it didn't take long to put the cake together.
I already had a batch of salted caramel sauce in the fridge so I used what I had to make the salted caramel icing. If you don't feel like making the icing, just drizzle some salted caramel sauce over the cake. Although Nadine suggests that the cake is best served the day it's made, I think it gets better over time. I would make the cake the day before but ice it just before serving. If coffee isn't your thing, just leave it out.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.if you'd like to make a large bundt cake, just double the ingredients and the bake time should stay the same.

Date & almond cake with salted caramel icing - adapted from a Flour & Stone recipe.
250g fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped 
275 mls water 
1 tsp bicarb soda 
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbs boiling water 
135g natural almonds, toasted 
85g unsalted butter 
150g brown sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs (whisked) 
150g self raising flour 
Pinch salt
To decorate 
Sea salt flakes 
Fresh thyme flowers 
Caramel icing
80 mls salted caramel sauce 
pinch salt or to taste 
50g (1/2 cup) sifted icing sugar 
2 tbs boiling water 
Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to help soften the dates. Once the mixture has come to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda, stirring it thoroughly into the dates. At this point the mixture will balloon in volume. Add the coffee and stir for another 30 seconds, then set aside to cool for 30 minutes while you get on with the rest of the cake. 
Reserve 35g of the almonds for decorating the top and grind the remaining nuts in a food processor so that they are finely ground with a few coarse pieces for texture. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease and flour a 17cm (5 cup) bundt tin, then place in the fridge until needed. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy (or use hand held beaters). Give the eggs a light beat with a fork and then gradually add them to the fluffy batter. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula every now and then if you feel the egg is not incorporating with the butter. Once the egg is added, whisk the batter again until pale and fluffy. 
Remove the bowl if using a stand mixer. Fold the flour and salt through the butter mixture with a spatula until all the flour has been incorporated, and then add the cooled date mixture and ground almonds and mix well to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few sticky crumbs. If the cake is browning too quickly cover the cake with a sheet of baking paper or greased foil. As the cake continues to cook a little after it has been removed from the oven, underbaking a little ensures the sticky quality of the dates is maintained. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes to cool in the tin before unmoulding. While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel icing. 
Caramel icing 
Warm the caramel sauce either in the microwave or in a saucepan. Stir in the salt then set aside to cool for a few minutes. When the caramel is still a little warm, gradually add the icing sugar, mixing with a wooden spoon to achieve the desired drizzle consistency. If needed add a little boiling water to maintain the drizzling consistency. 

To decorate 
Unmould the cake onto a wire rack with a tray placed underneath to catch the surplus icing. Drizzle the caramel icing over the top of the cake. Slice the reserved toasted almonds and sprinkle over the top along with a few sea salt flakes and thyme flowers. Serve with clotted cream. Best served the day it’s made, the cake will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

I shared the cake with my neighbours and it received their seal of approval.

See you all again next week wth some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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