Date and Nut loaf - gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free
I love fruit cakes, well, that is not true I suppose, I love MY fruit cakes because I only put in the things I like, I do not like citrus peel in there, I do not like the green cherries in there, I do not like Brazil nuts or almonds.... well, you get the picture. My Auntie Nell used to make a gorgeous nut loaf in one of those round tins that looks like a dog food can. This is not that recipe, but it is a sort of very nutritious nod in that direction. This is a lovely cake to have sliced with a curl of butter or a drizzle of almond oil, or just plain, or you can toast it, which really brings out the sweetness and the spices, and enjoy it that way (which is what I am doing for breakfast this morning).
120g pecans and walnuts (combined weight) chopped
200g medjool date, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
115g grated pumpkin
125ml boiling water
10g olive oil
40g coconut flour
80g tapioca starch
6g baking powder
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C fan forced or about 10 degrees hotter if not fan forced.
Combine the nuts, dates, spices and pumpkin in a large bowl,
In another bowl combine the honey and water, stir until the honey has melted, add to nut mixture, stir in the eggs and olive oil. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients -
And then add those to the wet mix and stir until all really well combined. Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin (I only line the bottom and ends with one long strip of baking paper and then run a plastic knife along the sides to loosen, then use the paper tails to lift the cake out), smooth the top and into the oven.
Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes or until cooked through, a good rule of thumb for this cake is check it with a skewer, just like I showed you how to do in the flourless chocolate cake recipe, and then, when the skewer comes out clean, cook it for another ten minutes. You are in no danger of making this cake dry, it has too many ingredients in it that hold their moisture, but it does like to tell lies and say it is cooked when it is still gooey in spots. If in doubt, give it another ten.
Let it sit for five minutes on the bench, then loosen the sides and lift it out onto a rack. I know, I know, it smells divine, and if you must have a nibble, do (I do), but it really is better after it has sat for a day or two at room temperature, just to think about life and develop its flavours.
When it is cold, wrap in aluminium foil and store at room temperature.
Okay, two steps back and let’s have a look at this cake. We have some really great ingredients in this. Medjool dates are rich in iron, but both nuts and eggs inhibit iron absorption, so if you are looking for an iron boost, a couple of slices of this with a glass of orange juice for breakfast will overcome the iron inhibitors and give you a really nutritious start to the day. I have recently learned that there are people who absorb too much iron from their food, which is as dangerous as too little iron, they too could eat this cake if they don’t have it with any vitamin C to overcome the inhibitors, but instead enjoy it with a nice cup of tea or coffee, which also will restrict the amount of iron they can absorb from this meal.
The nuts are full of fibre, calcium and good fats, the pumpkin adds some good vitamins and minerals, the honey is just there for sweetness as the addition of heat destroys all of its volatile compounds, our spices are little powerhouses of beneficial compounds and the eggs are a good source of protein and good fats. Yes, as far as cakes go, I am pretty pleased with this one. You know how I love to make Trojan horses, things that taste amazing but have hidden health benefits, this one ticks both of those boxes, and, to my eye at least, is very beautiful too.