Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday baking - coffee, walnut & date cake

As we bake our way through A Treasury of New Zealand Baking

It was the picture in ATNZB, showing a cake with glorious looking icing, piled high in soft meringue-like peaks and the description of a 'superb cake, moist and rich', that stimulated me to give this recipe a go.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, and although pleasant enough, I found the cake just rather boring. It wasn't dry, but moist is certainly an overstatement and I wouldn't describe it as rich either. For me, this cake served as a surface to spread the always delicious cream cheese icing on; it certainly lifted the cake up several notches - without it I don't think the cake would be worth eating. Despite following the recipe, my icing looked nothing like that pictured in the book, which appeared to be of a much stiffer consistency and had perhaps been piped onto the cake.

I don't think I'll make this cake again, as I'd prefer to stick to carrot or lemon cake as the medium for holding cream cheese icing!

Coffee, Walnut & Date Cake - Julie Biuso - week 26

160g dates, chopped
185ml unsweetened hot espresso or strong filter coffee
120g butter, softened
150g light brown sugar
2 eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
250 g standard flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g fresh NZ walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot water

30g butter, softened
90g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp lemon zest
210g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 150C & line a 20cm deep cake tin with baking paper. Put dates in bowl and pour over hot coffee, leave to cool.
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs a little at a time, as well as 2 tablespoons of the flour. Sift remaining flour, salt and baking powder together on to a piece of paper, then add half of it to the creamed mixture in the bowl. Mix in then add dates, coffee and vanilla. Fold in the rest of the flour mixture, then add the walnuts. Lastly, dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and mix in. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
For the icing: combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add lemon zest and enough icing sugar to make the icing stiff but spreadable. Spread icing over the top of the completely cooled cake.
This cake keeps well for up to 3 days, iced and stored in a cake tin or airtight container in the pantry.

1 comment:

  1. Is there anything cream cheese icing does not improve? Thanks for the tip, I spotted this and was wondering if I should give it a try, might stick to carrot cake , and add the dates to that instead:)


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