Iced Date and Walnut Cake - Unlive

This is a very easy mixture to make and the tangy lemon in the icing on the finished cake contrasts beautifully with the spiciness.

Iced Date and Walnut Cake - Unlive
 6 oz (175 g) dates, stoned and chopped
 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
 1 oz (25 g) butter
 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
 2 level teaspoons baking powder
 ¼ teaspoon salt
 1 level teaspoon mixed spice
 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
 ½ teaspoon nutmeg
 1 large egg
 5 oz (150 g) soft dark brown sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 3 oz (75 g) ground almonds
 3 oz (75 g) chopped walnuts
For the icing:
 4 oz (110 g) icing sugar, sifted
 the grated rind of ½ lemon
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 ½ oz (10 g) melted butter
 1 dessertspoon single cream
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
You will also need a round cake tin, 7 inches or 8 inches (18-20 cm)in diameter and 4 inches (10 cm) deep, with a loose base, well greased.


In a small bowl, pour 8 fl oz (225 ml) boiling water over the dates. Add the bicarbonate of soda, then the butter and stir until the butter has melted. Leave to cool. Meanwhile, sift the flour with the baking powder, salt and spices. Beat the egg in a large bowl, add the sugar and beat well again, then add the cooled date mixture and all the other cake ingredients. Stir well to mix everything thoroughly together, then pour the mixture into the tin, and put it in the oven just below the centre shelf. Cook for about 1-1¼ hours, or until the top is nicely browned and the centre feels springy. Let the cake stand for a couple of minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack to cool.

For the icing, mix all the ingredients well together, then stand the cake on an upturned plate and cover the top of the cake with icing. Let it spread itself evenly over and dribble lavishly down the sides. Leave it to set for an hour or so. A few walnut halves arranged round the top would finish it off beautifully.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes.

Photograph: Miles New.

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