My father in law was diabetic and this was something he could eat and enjoy without sending his sugar levels into orbit. Clearly, with the fruit and fruit juice it isn’t sugar free in a strict sense (sorry, therefore if the heading is misleading) and anyone who is worried if it will work for them needs proper advice, but I share the recipe here both for those who might find it useful and for others who want to reduce the sugar and fat content in their diets.
In the version I baked yesterday I replaced the dates with apricots, hence the fab colour – with dates it is much darker. And you’ll see what the directions say about covering it to stop the top over-cooking; hmm, the picture suggests I got there just a tad too late, doesn’t it. Que sera, sera as they say in the deli when the chorizo runs out. It is delicious – texture moist and firm – and it keeps well. So give it a whirl. Dead easy to make too.
225 gms (8oz) cooking dates/apricots
275 ml (10 fl oz) water
450 gms (1lb) mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas, raising, hazelnuts and cherries)
3 tsp baking powder
175 gms (6oz) plain flour
grated rind 1 orange
4 tbsps. orange juice
1 tsp mixed spice
Set oven at 180 C (if you have a ‘hot’ oven go a bit lower)
Put dates/apricots and water in saucepan. Heat gently until fruit is soft. Remove and mash up to break up into a puree with remaining water.
Into a large bowl mix the dried fruit, sieved flour, baking powder, spice, rind and orange juice.
Add mashed dates/apricots and mix thoroughly; make sure any pockets of flour have been removed.
Grease and line a 2lb, 900 gms loaf tin. Pour in the mix and level top.
Bake for 1 hour 15 to 1 hour 30, until the a skewer comes out clean.
Cover the top with a piece of foil or grease-proof paper after 30-40 minutes to stop top over-cooking.
When I’m not cooking cakes, I’m eating them, though my conscience tells me to justify them by a walk first. So the dog and I have begun to collect our favourite cafes in the Dulwich, Herne Hill, Peckham, Crystal Palace area and I will share some of my favourites with you in due course