Some time ago I had a request for a gluten free cake of my choice. There is a vast number of recipes for gluten free cakes on the internet, many of them being quite exotic and requiring special ingredients that as a regular baker I would not use again, if ever. But I got the feeling that the person that requested this cake would probably welcome a GF version of an old favourite that she used to eat before developing her intolerance to gluten. She's a date and walnut loaf kind of person, I thought.
I already had a bag of Doves Farm gluten free white self raising flour so I looked first at the Doves Farm website. There spotted a recipe for a wholemeal date and walnut cake using ordinary (not GF) wholemeal flour. You can see it here.
I decided to adapt the recipe using the GF flour that I had in stock, to make it in a round tin not as a loaf, and decorate it to glam it up a bit. I added a cream cheese icing and some walnuts for decoration and it looked the bees knees! (It would also have been good with a butter icing topping.)
Sadly I did not get to taste it! However, I'm giving the recipe here because the lady concerned was thrilled with the cake, declared it to be moist and delicious and a real treat. (Also so that I don't forget about the recipe altogether!) One day I will make it again using just ordinary self raising or wholemeal flour as per the recipe - I shall add it to my "tweaking list" for future consideration!
For the cake
200g chopped dates
½ tsp bicarb
100g soft light brown sugar
100g sunflower oil
200g gluten free white self raising flour
50g chopped walnuts less 1 tblsp
For the topping*
150g full fat cream cheese
75g icing sugar
60ml double cream
the reserved tblsp of chopped walnuts (or walnut halves)
Put the chopped dates into a small saucepan with the water and bring to the boil slowly. Remove from the heat, stir in the bicarb and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4. Grease and line the base of a 20cm round springform cake tin.
Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and using an electric whisk beat until light and airy. Add the oil and flour and mix together until well combined.
Add the chopped nuts less one tablespoon, plus the prepared dates and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top.
Bake for 55-60 minutes until done. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese icing by beating the cream until fairly thick, then sift in the icing sugar, add the cream cheese and beat together until smooth.
When the cake is completely cold, spread the icing over the top and decorate with the chopped nuts, or walnut halves, or both. Sift over a dusting of icing sugar before serving if you like.
Cuts into 8-10 slices.
*If you prefer make a half quantity of butter icing for the topping, using 75g butter and 150g icing sugar.