tamarind date cake
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Sticky toffee pudding is one of those English dessert mysteries – it’s just a date cake, no? And it's admittedly sticky when covered in a caramel sauce, but I wonder is it pudding? Unless you accept, the British fashion, that ‘desserts ARE puddings’, and then why not have a sponge pudding? Crumble pudding? Cheesecake pudding? Christmas pudding? I think I shot myself in the foot right there.
So let’s leave the ‘pudding’ debate for a while – it won’t mean anything to anyone in North America anyway, or any of you on the European continent, let alone other parts of the world. You bake a cake. You can serve it cold or warm, whatever it is, yummy, (except perhaps shortbreads can’t well be served warm – they’ll disintegrate…). And to end the discussion, I’ll bravely declare my sticky toffee pudding is nothing but a date cake.
And this is also just a date cake. Only better.
I'm sure it would go amazingly with a caramel sauce, served warm from the oven or heated up in a microwave but it’s really good just left at the ‘cake’ stage – cool it down, ice it up and cut into wedges the next day without heating or worrying that it has to be steaming.
The recipe is an old one courtesy of Dan Lepard, in the times when he was posting his recipes in the Guardian column – shame he didn’t include this one in his book ‘Short and Sweet’.
tamarind date cake
- 200g soft dates, stoned
- 50g tamarind paste
- 250g unsalted butter
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 275g plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- For the icing:
- 150g icing sugar
- seeds from 6-8 cardamom pods, finely ground in mortar and pestle
- juice of ½ lemon
Chop the dates quite finely and place in a large pan with the tamarind paste and 300ml of water. Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and add the butter. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the butter melts and the mix cools down.
In the meantime preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter and line with parchment a 20cm baking tin. Pound the cardamom seeds to as fine a powder as you can.
Add the brown sugar to the cooled mix – if using a standing mixer, place the sugar in the bowl and add the date mix to it. Beat it well in. Add the eggs and beat in, it will splash so put the mixer at the lowest setting. Beat in the flour with the bicarb of soda – it will still be very runny and not looking very appetising. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 60 – 70 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
When the cake has cooled down, make the icing: add the cardamom powder to the icing sugar and whisk in the lemon juice until smooth and glossy. Pour over the cake and let it dribble down the sides.