A couple of weeks out from Father's Day I start to keep an eye out for recipes with ingredients that will appeal to Duncan. When I was looking through some very early copies of Donna Hay magazine I came across this recipe for Date and whisky cake in Issue 10.
As an American whisky lover, I thought Duncan would enjoy this cake for Father's Day. It's a really simple cake to make, simmering finely sliced dates in whisky, combining the balance of ingredients with a hand mixer for five minutes, and then folding the two together. I used plain spelt flour, but you could use whatever plain flour you have at hand. A stoneground, unbleached wholemeal flour would be lovely and nutty. Our kitchen smelled delicious as the whisky, brown sugar, and date flavours developed in the oven.
So while we are in early spring and the garden is dotted with jonquils, budding may bush, winter woodbyne, and snow drops, it's still cool enough for winter scents and taste of whisky, brown sugar, golden syrup, and dates. This recipe would work equally well with prunes, or even dried apricots.
Father's Day date and whisky cake (Donna Hay, Issue 10)
Ingredients: 3/4 cup finely chopped dried dates, 1/4 cup whisky, 185g butter, very soft, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup golden syrup, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup almond meal, 1 cup milk, 2 cups plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, icing sugar for dusting.
Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin with butter and baking paper (I used a smaller 20cm tin and baked the cake for 1 1/2 hours, covering the cake with foil to prevent burning for the last 30 minutes). Combine finely sliced dates and whisky in a small saucepan and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, golden syrup, eggs, almond meal, milk, flour, and baking powder and beat with an electric hand mixer for five minutes. Fold the date mixture through the batter and pour into cake tin. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake is cooked. Once cool, dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream or ice cream.