We'll say it again, good olive oil works incredibly well in cakes. Another great example of this is this lovely date and walnut cake.
But food is also so much about memories and stories. I will never forget when a few years back I was going through a Medjool dates appreciation phase and had them every day. One day I said to the lovely Gloria, who had come to visit, "Would you like a date?". She looked at me both laughing and incredulous at the same time saying "What do you mean? Like a real date? Out? With a man?!" ... The beautiful and truly lovely Gloria was unattached at the time. I held up a large, plump Medjool date and said "No, THIS date!". We laughed about it and whenever I look at a date ever since, I remember Gloria smiling with that twinkle in her eyes.
This recipe is full of dates! We don't need to use the pricier Medjool dates, but can use any of the other date varieties as well. Dates are naturally high in fibre. They are sweet without raising blood sugar too much. In this recipe we don't use any added sugar, all the sweetness comes from the dates and the honey.
The cake dough in this recipe will be runnier than what it would be if a saturated fat such as butter or margarine is being used. The reason for this is that saturated fats contain a certain amount of water, even though they are solid at room temperature. Olive oil contains no water and is liquid at room temperature, so it will create a more liquid cake mix.
25 dates (pitted), roughly 200g
2 cups hot milk of your choice
1/3 cup runny honey
0.5 cup Opus olea extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plain flour (120g)
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup walnuts (chopped) 100g
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
0.25 tsp unprocessed sea salt
1. Place the pitted dates in the hot milk and allow to soak for about 1-1.5 hour until they get extra soft.
2. Line a 6' inch round cake pan with baking paper.
3. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
4. Pour the softened dates-and-milk mixture together with the olive oil, honey and vanilla extract into a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth.
5. In a medium sized bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and ginger) with a whisk.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and lightly mix, taking care not to overmix as this makes the resulting cake dense rather than fluffy.
7. Place the mixture in your prepared cake pan, smooth the top with a spatula and add the chopped walnuts all over the top.
8. Place in the middle of your pre-heated oven for 50 minutes. Cover with some foil, as the walnuts could brown too much.
9. After 45 minutes test to see whether the cake is done, by inserting into the middle of it a metal skewer and leaving for a few seconds. If the skewer comes out clean then your cake is done and can be left to cool in the cake pan for about half an hour, then carefully remove from the cake tin, plate and serve.
Enjoy with your favourite warm beverage. We love it with a nice cafe mocha.