I’ve been trying to withstand the temptation of cake in an attempt to slim down a little more. Unfortunately for me, my recent bakeathon means my toddler now really enjoys baking with me. Yesterday morning, he patiently waited for his little sister to drop off for her morning nap before announcing “We baking, me get chair and spoon!” He then dragged a dining room chair into the kitchen, climbed up and started impatiently banging his special mixing spoon on the counter top. Now if you have a toddler, you know that you can’t opt for the Fairy-Cakes-Requiring-Two-Hour-Softened-Butter option. You need something quick that requires sieving and something they can stir. Our high speed standby is usually a good date loaf.
Yummy dates are fantastically good for you. They are easy to digest, and contain simple sugars which provide quick release energy. Because they’re jam packed with lovely fibre they can reduce cholesterol and they’re also full of other goodies like Vitamin A, anti oxidants, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium. I love munching on whole dates as a snack but they’re also absolutely fantastic in a dead easy to bake loaf. I usually have a couple of these packs of pressed dried dates hanging out in my baking stash cupboard.
My Gran’s scrummy date loaf is pretty easy and quick to make.
Preheat your oven to 180 (170 for a fan oven)
Boil the kettle
Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin (I scrunch up my grease proof paper a few times so that it fits better into the corners)
Put 180g chopped dried dates into a large heat proof bowl along with 180g soft brown sugar, 55g butter (I’m using pure sunflower spread as am dairy free at the moment) and pour over 1 cup of boiling water (that’s 250ml). Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.
Quickly mix the wet together with the dry and pour into your prepared loaf tin. Bake in the middle of your oven for roughly 35 minutes. Check with a knife to see if its done. If it needs a bit longer, I’d drop the oven temp down to 160 and cover the whole thing with foil to prevent it from burning at the edges.
Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before tipping out to cool on a rack. Peel off the paper while its still warm. Its great still warm from the oven, but I prefer it a day old.