April 22, 2011

Apple date cake

It's Good Friday and the beginning of a long Easter weekend. I have to admit I am not very organised when it comes to celebrating Easter - I don't normally cook or bake special Easter treats, I don't decorate my house with colourful eggs or chocolate bunnies. There is no special reason to this, but I think it is because Easter somehow surprises me every year. Before you realise it's Easter and before you get everything organised, Easter is over. Maybe I should just get more organised next year.

We are heading out of town today to have a bit of a change of scenery and enjoy the Australian countryside. I always find it refreshing and I realise I am a country girl at heart, not so much of a big city dweller. I love the open space around me, the clean air and the rolling hills. There is just a different atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle of a big city.

This apple date cake, however, is a little treat for our long weekend. It is perfectly moist and sweet and also gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free. I adore Medjool dates and they bring a gorgeous sweetness to cakes, sweet muffins and other treats. I've adapted this recipe from one of Terry Walters' recipes. The original recipe is for banana and date cake, but since banana prices in Sydney are still outrageously high (after the last cyclone destroyed the crops), I have opted for using apples instead. This recipe also calls for chickpea flour, but once again, I could not detect the flavour in the cake, so don't be afraid to use it! :-)

Apple and date cake
(Recipe adapted from Terry Walters' Clean Start)

10 Medjool dates, pitted
2 apples, finely grated
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chickpea flour*
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)

* Besan/chickpea flour in Australia has a mild nutty flavour. If the besan flour you are using has a strong savoury taste, please substitute with another gluten-free flour.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a medium sized loaf tin.

2. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soften for a few minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.

4. Drain the dates and add in the grated apples. Mash to create a chunky mixture. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice and vanilla in the mixture and stir well to combine.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently to combine.

6. Scoop the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before serving.