Prep to Cook:
Line a 22 cm square cake tin with non-stick parchment paper
Cooks Know How:
This creaming method cake incorporates nuts and dried fruit. Nuts can cause allergic reaction and therefore their use must be declared. The mixture of crushed walnuts with sweet dried dates makes the cake richer and helps it to keep. Extra raising agent is used to help the cake support the nuts and fruit and prevent it being stodgy. Sodium bicarbonate is cheap and works well alongside the S.R. flour. The flavour of the soft dark brown sugar is quite intense and this sugar imparts a deep colour to the cake. It does not ‘cream’ to trap air quite so efficiently as caster sugar would, and therefore extra raising agent is of benefit. Baking the cake enables the egg proteins to set, the cake to rise and the flavours to develop. Test the cake by pressing it lightly in the centre. It should be lightly bouncy. Cool the cake before cutting into squares.
Other nuts could be used to replace the walnuts, such as pecans, hazelnuts or almonds. Similarly the dried dates could be replaced with soft dried apricots or prunes. Added citrus zest or spices could also be used to create interesting flavours.